Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman sell below expectations

Three big releases from Square Enix's Western studios fell short of sales targets, according to financial documents released today by the publisher.

Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution, and Tomb Raider were each singled out, with sales of approximately 1.75 million, 3.6 million, and 3.4 million respectively expected for fiscal year 2013. Those figures do not include download sales for the games, all of which were released on PC as well as consoles.

Square Enix said the three did not measure up at retail despite critical acclaim; we gave each high praise in our reviews, for our part. The publisher said its North American sales force was particularly "ineffective, ending up with two-third of number of units sold in Europe."

Major restructuring is planned throughout the publisher the company anticipates a net loss of 13 billion yen (£91m / $138m), including the resignation of longtime CEO Yoichi Wada.


  • matt-robusto - May 10, 2013 2:02 a.m.

    Square wants those classic FF sales numbers. FF titles don't have to be marketed strong, however, as the FF fan base is going to by the next installment regardless. The company failed to market these games because the thought the Square Enix brand name automatically translates to fanboy (and girl) sales.
  • talleyXIV - March 27, 2013 4:07 p.m.

    Sleeping Dogs and Hitman were marketed terribly, I hardly saw any ads for them and Sleeping Dogs simply looked way too much like GTA and sounded like Watch Dogs. Tomb Raider however is surprising, a big name like that should have sold better. Still their expectations are way too high.
  • Swedish_Chef - March 26, 2013 11:33 p.m.

    CAUTION! NOW ENGAGING RANT MODE: Christ developers are putting expectations WAY too high nowadays, specifically eastern based companies such as Square Enix and Capcom. Seems like nowadays if any game isn't selling Call of Duty numbers it's considered a sales failure. I mean come on for Dragon's Dogma, Capcom put out sales expectations of 10 FUCKING MILLION COPIES!!! I mean it's a great game and it still sold very well (well enough for an expansion), but expecting it to sell that much bloody lunacy by any games standards especially a new IP. Moreover they considered Resident Evil 6, a game that has sold over 5 million copies to have sold under sales expectations, 5 million copies is considered below expectations nowadays, Christ they should be glad the game has sold as great as it did what with the horrible word of mouth surrounding the title post launch. As for these 3 games, none of them are even close to be considered failures from a sales perspective (although maybe Sleeping Dogs might count due to development hell eating up massive ammounts of money but it still sold well). Furthermore just counting the physical retail copies is not smart as Steam is an enormous contributor for the sales of each of these games (Tomb Raider was massively pre-ordered on Steam and is a top seller on the platform, while Sleeping Dogs has probably sold more than half of it's copies on Steam alone). To put things simply, developers need to stop comparing the sales of their games to the latest rotation of Call of duty/Battlefield/Fifa games and start to view things from a wider perspective, be realistic with expectations, not every game you make is going to sell close to the gargantuan sales of Call of Duty but it doesn't have to and by no means should it be judged as a failure purely because of that criteria alone. END RANT. ENGAGING VENTILATION MODE.
  • Unoriginal - March 27, 2013 12:46 a.m.

    This chef speaks the truth!
  • MeanwhileGuy - March 27, 2013 2:37 a.m.

    You sir, speak the absolute truth. The numbers that publishers expect games to hit nowadays are completely ridiculous, and I blame CoD entirely. Selling 40-odd million copies is an astronomically high amount, and given that Acti can spend a couple of hundred million dollars on marketing, assures that people will still buy their annual sludge. Also consider that Tomb Raider came out just under a month ago, and has already sold 3.5 million copies. That's a HUGE amount of sales for a series that previously had declining interest levels. I just don't understand how selling less than, say, 5 million copies is considered bad these days.
  • FoxdenRacing - March 27, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    A quick correction I caught myself making: They're expecting 3.5 this year, not that they've sold that many already. Even so, the rest of your post is golden truth. 3.5 is nothing to sneeze at; there's a reason the various "greatest hits" lines have a threshold at 1M. I'm convinced we're seeing AAA gaming collapse under its own weight. 3.5 million sales is roughly $35M in the publisher's pocket [the $60 is at retail; initial wholesale is right about $10]...very close to the budget of today's top-tier games, not counting corporate overhead and the tens of millions spent on marketing.
  • SDHoneymonster - March 27, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    I only hope your meatballs are as good as your rants, because they'd blow that Ikea crap OUTTA THE WATER. You make several valid points - Steam certainly is one of the biggest contributors to a lot of game sales nowadays, so why on Earth ignore it?
  • tonypang - March 26, 2013 7:46 p.m.

    The hopes of a Sleeping Dogs sequel, still set in Hong Kong, dwindles further…
  • TheDudeFromNowhere - March 26, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    Expectations are WAY too high. Like many said, this isn't COD.
  • Child Of Death - March 26, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    WTF Square Enix your games are selling damn good. Not every game is going to be COD level sales over here.
  • shawksta - March 26, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    Sounds harsh but frankly your setting too high standards for your games and their frankly selling nicely. Oh well
  • ultimatepunchrod - March 26, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    I'm not sure how much they wanted these games to sell. I mean, over 3 million for 2 of them and over one million on the other seems pretty darn good to me.
  • Talidan - March 26, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    These are all solid games. I personally have many hang-ups with Absolution, but a lot of people liked it. Sleeping Dogs was a very nice surprise and Tomb Raider has been very well received. If games are getting praise, but not selling well, it's not the game that's the problem. They need to focus more on the marketing side. Anyone can sell absolute crap if it's presented well enough, so market the good stuff just as well. Also, it's interesting to note that, despite it being SE, they're all Western-style games. Looking at the sales numbers by region, they sold the least in Asian countries. Maybe that has something to do with this?
  • PatHan-bHai - March 26, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    great games always go down the drain.......................oh Life! thou art a horny bitch!!
  • Ivalo - March 26, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    I find it ironic Square Enix says that. We're talking about company that for years has been struggling to bring out its flagship series new entry before already announcing a sequel for it. Hey, how's that FF Versus XIII faring? 5 years? Yeah... In all seriousness Square should shut its pie hole because its western stuff is wiping floors with their asian section.
  • occasionalgoldfish - March 26, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    Quite shocked about this, Tomb Raider especially. :L
  • BladedFalcon - March 26, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    Hrm, well, it's sad that all these are considered commercial "failures" considering that those were the quality games that have come out from Square's part, and they have all been from Eidos, the one branch they have that seems to be of any worth nowadays. But yeah, like others have said, if with even those numbers, they are considered "failures" then the company itself is the one that has a problem, and has grown into an unsustainable mess.
  • FoxdenRacing - March 26, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    It's not just Square; it's the whole AAA model. Dev/marketing costs have outpaced sales (really, they did ages ago...hence the big push for the band-aid of DLC), to the point that a game has to either be teasing A to AA budgets or is a stand-out blockbuster to turn a healthy (read: stock market placating) profit. Some of the biggest players in the industry are scrambling to find a new golden goose, because they're asking the current one to lay eggs faster than it can...and even the laxative called DLC isn't getting the job done anymore.
  • Dante1924 - March 26, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    Because 3 weeks is definitely enough time to decide whether something is a complete failure or flop.
  • ventanger - March 26, 2013 10 a.m.

    Calling Tomb Raider a commercial failure is... sort of baffling.

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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