Duke Nukem Forever made a profit? Go on, pull the other one

Despite the reviews, the disappointing sales and the ridiculously protracted 14-year development cycle, Duke Nukem Forever has officially made a profit for its publisher, Take-Two Interactive. That's according to CEO Strauss Zelnick, who is right to sound pleased after enduring one of the roughest rides in gaming history. But this financial viability also means a big green light for more Duke Nukem projects. And that's where our previously waning enthusiasm becomes piqued once more…

First-off, let's just clarify that this isn't some miraculous 1:1 attach ratio of console and PC owners buying DNF and generating enough cash to cover the whole 14 year project. The game's original developer 3D Realms itself put a lot of funding into the game off its own back, meaning Take-Two's input and investment would have been comparatively modest (not to mention the entire wodge of cash that was allegedly written off the publisher's books as a loss when the game failed to show up again). So in terms of the publisher's own expenditure and sales, it probably does, incredibly, add up to a figure in the black.

Above: Yeah yeah yeah, but what's stage 2? 'Hand development over to Gearbox', presumably

Whichever way the profit is worked out, the outcome has been worthwhile for Take-Two, which means the franchise is still financially viable. So what's next for the series?

The first part of the plan is to release DLC for Duke Nukem Forever. The game has already received a patch to make it work a bit better since its release (which just goes to show that a game's development doesn't necessaily have to end when the thing is on the shelves. 'When it's done', eh?) But with more substantial DLC for the game on the horizon, some more modern-feeling Duke gameplay might be closer than you'd think.

The second phase is expanding Duke outward into other media. Zelnick has stated: "If we can take some of our intellectual property and bring it to another medium in an extraordinary high quality way, that delights consumers and represents an interesting commercial opportunity for us, we will." An extraordinarily high quality way? Erm, we'd still like some of that Duke Nukem on our gaming consoles, please. Because, to be honest, we'd be happy if the current game is left as it is so the franchise can move forward.

Above: The basic premise of Duke is something worth playing, which is why it topped the charts upon release

We're pleased we got to play Duke Nukem Forever in the end, even though it wasn't very good. But we still like Duke. The character and idea behind the game is still strong, despite the aged cliches and jokes littered throughout DNF's script. All it needs is bringing up to date and a 2-years (max) development cycle for a sequel, and a new Duke game could be truly great. Profit for DNF shows we're not alone - people want to like it.

A word of advice, though - call it something like Duke Nukem Today. Definitely NOT Duke Nukem Eternity. If you know what I mean.

09 Aug, 2011



We Recommend By ZergNet


  • MetaSyke - August 15, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    Was it a great game? Nope. there are tons of games I would rather play. Was it worth the wait? Hell Naw, I was expecting more. Did I feel I got my money's worth? To be honest? Yes. Sure I had disappointment and lots of screaming at the cheesefest AI, but at the same time, the whole feeling of finishing the journey (from my initial excitement at the first preview to the final "ba-dump" as I got the last chievie, "Special Thanks") was more than worth the aggravation. Plus, it was great to be a kid again, enjoying the mindless violence and laughing at the dumb jokes. Best of all? By helping make DNF a success, I hope that I am opening the doors for a full on, built from scratch Gearbox Duke Nukem game, with all of Duke's machismo, backed by the true force of Gearbox.
  • raptorak - August 10, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    I loved this game - it isn't 10 years good, but it is a good game (on PC, especially since the patch) nonetheless. If you are slagging this game off without having played it then you are only hurting yourself. PS3 or 360 versions may be iffy - but FPS on the consoles suck compared to PC anyway (shame they have some nice exclusives).
  • Purity66618 - August 10, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    @ g4m3rk1dd - The store has no doubt sold it on already along with any Pre order bonuses within (at very latest) a week if not within the first few days of being a no show. @ TurkeyOnRye lol yeah a cartoon sound intresting to say the least :D Played the Demo n kinda enjoyed it but read the reviews and i have mixed feelings on weather to buy it now or wait till its down in price
  • TurkeyOnRye - August 9, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    "Expanding Duke out to other media?" I'm sure he means other platforms or whatnot, but am I the only one who thinks a cartoon on adult swim would be awesome? And make it more like Venture Bros., none of that 12 oz. Mouse/Perfect Hair Forever shitty animation on purpose stuff.
  • g4m3rk1dd - August 9, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    ofc it made a profit... a friend of mine pre ordered the game and after hearing how bad it was STILL wont go to pick it up... people expected it to be good...its not...end of story
  • Baron164 - August 9, 2011 8:07 p.m.

    Well I'm glad to hear that it was at least profitable. At least we'll hopefully get a new up to date Duke Nukem from Gearbox without the 13 years of baggage.
  • K405 - August 9, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    Just goes to show not everyone takes the people who get paid to review games seriously. DNF wasn't a terrible game. It wasn't the best thing ever either. It fell pretty much middle of the road which is what I expected it to do. That said they damned well better remove the god mode shield and the weapon limit if they make a sequel, along with cover based shooting. I want Duke Nukem not Gears of Halo 1942.
  • BALLSTOTHEWALLET - August 9, 2011 5:25 p.m.

    [quote]But this financial viability also means a big green light for more Duke Nukem projects.[/qoute] I'm a happy man. P.S. I had a lot of fun with the game, I thought it was good, certainly not worth 14 years, but good.
  • Pocotron - August 9, 2011 5:22 p.m.

    Now Gearbox should have full control over the Duke franchise. Or at least the games.
  • Enclave84 - August 9, 2011 5:12 p.m.

    Well I'm happy they made a profit and are gonna make the other one. I mean, I got Duke Forever not expecting anything great, because I realized a 14 year cycle of making a game that's went through about five different enginges and consoles wasn't going to be the amazing thing I wanted it to be. Atleast it wasn't terrible (Atleast not for me) I never got a glitch and even if some of the bosses were unfair bastards I pushed through. And since I'm not much of an online gamer there wasn't a problem with the online aspect. But hey, I have hope for a new one. It won't be passed around if they get it done in a span that's less then ten years and the graphics will be nice. And Gearbox can probably polish up a good multiplayer expierance now that it isn't being thrown in there before release
  • mothbanquet - August 9, 2011 5:08 p.m.

    I loved Duke 3D and, yes, I hoped that DNF would be good. But it wasn't. That said, I'm hopeful that now the debacle is behind us we can look forward to Duke returning to his former glory.
  • angelusdlion - August 9, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    3drealms did most of the work and paid most of the cash for said work. As I said to a friend, this really wasn't much of a risk for Gearbox at all. Now the REAL question I want answered is "how much was spent total on the game by BOTH companies vs how much it pulled in?"
  • Ultimadrago - August 9, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    I'm glad they made profit on it. A middle finger to all the mainstream review sites that think they're smart and that their opinion really gives a damn when it comes to a games total sales. The hype could never hold up to the quality expected, but it couldn't be defeated by review sites either. Good stuff! Keep on living Duke Nukem!
  • Shanetexas - August 9, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    Not often you can have a game sell millions that features shooting half-naked babes while they are in agony.
  • FoxdenRacing - August 9, 2011 4:04 p.m.

    Good on them...the longest wait in gaming history ended up being 'don't meet your heroes' but comes out on a high note. But...we can get some interesting info from it. According to VGChartz, it sold right about 800,000 copies...which means Take-Two's share of the budget (dev costs, corporate overhead, and advertising) was less than $8M.
  • Fusionmix - August 9, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    Good, now they can make a proper Duke sequel or two that don't suck. wtf reCaptcha: Format nnigers.
  • Jedipimp0712 - August 9, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    i think the game was finished, and purposely made fun of itself. i mean come on, even the name of the damn thing "Duke Nukem: Forever"... FOREVER!!! notice how long it took to make? FOREVER! ha ha
  • db1331 - August 9, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    You can thank pre-orders and review embargoes for that. Why people pre-order something unless it is going to be a totally obvious knock-out (Skyrim, BF3) is beyond me. And I wasn't even going to pre-order BF3 until EA offered me a free copy of Dead Space 2. It's good to be a PC gamer.
  • PopeTackler - August 9, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    If TAke Two have any sense they'll take this as a win and move on. There's no way in hell that a second Duke Nukem Forever game will make a profit.
  • Zepaw - August 9, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    It seemed like the kind of game that from coverage and nostalgia/anticpation alone would sell a decent enough amount. I would think the next release would be looked at more skeptically after the generally negative reaction to this one.

Showing 1-20 of 20 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.