Tomb Raider Sales Close To 6 Million; Exceed Profit Expectations

By Ishaan . March 6, 2014 . 10:21am

How time flies. It’s been a year since Square Enix released their Tomb Raider reboot, and while the game went on to sell a large number of copies, it didn’t perform to Square Enix’s expectations—at the time.


That isn’t the case any more, however, reveals Darrell Gallagher, Square Enix’s Head of Studios.


“By the end of this month we will surpass 6 million units for our Tomb Raider reboot, and, having achieved profitability back in 2013 Tomb Raider has exceeded profit expectations and continues to make significant contributions to our overall financial performance,” Gallagher wrote on the Tomb Raider blog this morning.


Gallagher says that Tomb Raider is on course to become the best-selling game in the history of the franchise, and goes on to mention that Crystal Dynamics will build upon the successes and lessons learnt from the game in its sequel, which is presently in development.

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • axemtitanium

    Well good! Glad to see SE climbing out of the abyss.

  • zferolie

    when will companies realize that THIS is the norm to how games make a profit. Not all in a month like movies, but over time. Yes, games can make all their money back right away(less expensive games, CoD) but companies should never give up on a game or call it a failure for about a year or so

    • Pyrotek85

      Yup, it was very premature of them, especially when it was selling well too. It’d be one thing to say that if it was barely moving any copies at all.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        It still hurt their financials pretty badly and sent them chasing off after mobilees

    • Demeanor

      Personally I think this is the “noble” way to make money, sadly this road is not always successful (Valkyria Chronicles and Trails FC…), so I’m really glad when smtg like this happens :-)

    • Pyrofrost

      Exactly, it’s like companies now day are just using the first three to six weeks to determine if a game is a success or a failure.
      Sure, high numbers early on is a good thing; but, calling a game a failure because it doesn’t turn 10 million sold within the first few weeks is premature.

      • Yause

        This isn’t a new trend. The same was true in the 90s when Interplay released Fallout 2 and Planescape Torment.

        Most games don’t have long-term momentum (and more importantly, there are fiscal objectives to meet), so when planning a product, expectations are based on the initial run.

        FWIW, I don’t think anyone wrote off Tomb Raider, regardless of the financial statements. Work at Crystal Dynamics continued, and a sequel was quickly greenlit. Had they believed the game to be a failure, the team would’ve been sacked.

        • Pyrofrost

          While I will agree sales have always had an impact.
          I don’t agree about the immediate over-expectations being as wide spread as it is now. Mainly because the industry was a completely different monster in the 80s and 90s.

          Now days, titles are being held hostage left and right; and big budget titles demand multi-millions in sales. This was hardly the case back then.

          One thing large budget, well known, popular franchises have is long winded momentum. For a game like Tomb Raider or a numbered FF installment, they will have that.

          A new IP, something that doesn’t resonate as well with the public, or a niche game; I can see the immediate numbers having a far greater impact, because those do not have long winded momentum.

          • Yause

            The difference is the scale of expectations.

            In terms of short term vs long term sales, it was the same where any publicly traded publisher was concerned. Companies based success on launch window numbers (because that’s what they use to forecast quarterly and yearly revenues). It’s just that games were more likely to meet initial expectations than today.

            Edit: It seems that in accounting, dev costs are recorded as assets until the game launches, at which point they become expenses (all in one shot). The problem with a big budget game is that it becomes a huge expense that needs to be countered by huge revenue. Therefore, sales expectations have to be HIGH if they want a healthy financial report.

          • Pyrofrost

            I see what you mean then.

            Basically saying, in today’s market, even with games that have long winded momentum, they want to keep the quarterly and yearly reviews pretty as a show to investors and such; right?

            EDIT: Though many times, with budgets as expansive as they are now days, it takes time to see that expected return.

          • Yause

            Yep, investors are most concerned about the numbers on the report.

            I would assume that these recent announcements are a strategy to restore confidence among investors. It’s a way of telling them that the company may have missed expectations the first time, but there’s so much growth (meaning that they took the right risk in rebooting Tomb Raider with so much money) that they’ll do better next time.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Which is why games get re-released and remarketed

          • Lucky Dan

            and let magazine falsely advertise what the games can do as well. I’m glad this 60 fps bullshit has calmed down for the time being.

    • Minos

      Unfortunately that is not how it works.

      Making a 100 million high-risk invertion like a AAA game Reboot and that it takes 2-3 years to win money from it its just too much.

      This will discourage companies to create AAA games, not a much as a complete failure but it would be a complete madness if somebody actually feels encouraged over this.

    • Herok♞

      I think the next gen versions probably helped quite a bit, so if they didn’t come out I don’t think the figure would be as high

    • David García Abril

      Well, the problem is that most video games do fail or succeed in their first month. Games that maintain steady sales for a long time are a rarity.

      And even if they weren’t, you can’t possibly justify paying the salaries of that many people for months, waiting for your game to be profitable (something that, the more time it passes, the less likely it is).

      Hence the all-too-common stories of massive lay offs in a studio after a big release.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Not for Nintendo. Pretty much all their games have a sales curve thats insane.

        Like Youkai Watch. For instance MKWii sold 35.26 million copies. Pretty much sold like 3 million in its first month?

      • Spirit Macardi

        Part of the problem though is that many games that don’t meet goals in the first few months are yanked right off store shelves. Rather than lowering the price and seeing if that makes a difference, they instead go for the “all or nothing” approach.

        That’s not the market deciding, that’s deciding for the market.

    • TheRealMalek

      I can give you at least two companies that knows it very well :

  • Nanaki

    That just goes to show….Well, I’m sure Square-Enix already knows how the majority of us feel about this.
    Congrats Tomb Raider!

  • SetzerGabbiani

    Ishaan already mentioned this in his first paragraph, but I must re-iterate…wasn’t this the game that “didn’t sell to expectations” and doom and gloom were heaped upon the franchise? My how things change with patience.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      No it means square has shit management

  • Zer0faith

    Good for the franchise now Square Enix…

  • Yan Zhao

    Maybe they’ll set their expectations more realistically from now on than to call a 3.5m sales a “failure”.

    • creid8

      If their expectations were eventually exceeded, why would you describe them as unrealistic?

      • Pyrotek85

        Because they expected it right away like GTA or COD, which wasn’t realistic. Even with this selling at a faster rate than any other Tomb Raider game ever made, they were apparently expecting still more to be sold inside of the first month.

        Basically we’re not just talking total numbers, but how fast you reach those numbers.

  • Scissors

    Would have been nice if they specified why the game was initially considered a flop and why now it isn’t.

    Did it sell better when the price went down?
    Did it being free on PS + increase word of mouth and increase sales?
    Did the refined port for XB1 & PS4 make up a decent chunk of those numbers?

    It’s not very often that a company calls a game a flop then suddenly changes it minds, so now I’m curious why. Did they take action to ramp up sales because it was at first a flop, or were they simply bemoaning low sales too early?

    • beemoh

      They never said it was a flop, they merely said it didn’t sell what they thought it would within a certain arbitrary timeframe- it was people in comments threads who decided that meant it had flopped.

      • Asura

        They called it a failure, which is what they call games that don’t meet projections. Or they redo their projections retroactively, which makes the whole thing look even more silly.

        Or in this case, it’s as if they forgot that games continue to sell small amounts throughout the lifetime of the console.

        • beemoh

          The projection was “sell x number of copies in y amount of time”, not “turn a profit”.

          The number of copies expected to move in the time might have been well short of profitability, knowing that, as you say, “games continue to sell small amounts throughout the lifetime of the console”, feeding into other projections further down the line, beyond the scope of the original report- it wouldn’t be considered to have failed until it didn’t hit some other projection at the end of the following financial year.

          Alternatively it may have hit profitability well before the target- not a failure as much as not as huge a success as expected- meaning they may have to rethink other projects, short-term.

          All that’s happened is that they mispredicted something tangentially related to the game. The “flop”/”failed” thing is narrative added after the fact.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            They didnt make a profit till the game had 5million in sales.

            So again…

          • beemoh

            So again, the projection was “sell x number of copies in y amount of time”, not “turn a profit”, meaning my first suggestion (“The number of copies expected…”) still stands- and is arguably borne out by the fact that the game got a sequel.

            I’m sorry if this doesn’t fit in with this nice little narrative about how the entire games industry is greedy/broken because it acknowledged the existence of money that one time, but this suggestion that Squeenix called the game a flop is incorrect.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Oh I dont know, maybe you should just take Square enix’s own bloody statements into account

  • Perhaps I’ll pick this up. One day……………

    • Milewide

      Likewise… maybe… later…

    • eilegz

      its free on ps plsu

      • Really? Since when, and PS3 or PS4?

        • Everok

          Since tuesday and for PS3.

          • @eilegz:disqus

            Cool. Thank you both =)

        • eilegz

          ps3 tuesday… this month

  • Demeanor

    Good news for all of us, and both for the future of the TR series and the gaming future of Squeenix (meaning, learn from any mistakes and see that there’s a return for high-quality AAA titles, although ultimately imo a large factor is played by the tastes of the gaming population: I feel a series like TR appeals broadly, whereas a similarly high quality but more niche game would sell far less).

  • Minos

    Did he calculated inflation?

    Did he calculated the hypothetical revenue of simplier projects?

    Why the hell do I have the “Inspector’s Gadget” theme song on my head?

    Why nobody makes these questions?

  • idrawrobots

    Good for you Lara.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      No we call this spin.

  • Unlimax

    Now considering the sales meets their expectations “currently”
    Could Parasite Eve ever has a chance to return on home consoles
    other than T3B ?
    Aya Brea Needs love Square Enix ~

  • fairysun

    Now, there is no reason for us not to have the second game of this Tomb Raider Reboot !

  • César H. Sandoval

    Hope this give them ideas to wok on more high-profile games and not only mobile ones.

  • Setsu Oh

    I WAS WISHING oops caps for it to fail. now we will get 80% gunning 10%exploration 10%plateforming for the REST of the franchise.
    i doubt they did much for the new gen version so they must have made a LOT of money with that game. i finished it sold it right back.
    what a waste.
    tomb raider was about exploration.

    no wonder so many creators get out of corporations.

    • LustEnvy

      This game was amazing. Sorry you didn’t like it. There was plenty of exploration. Yes, it was linear, but you still explored many vistas of the island, and every area was new and different from the last (except the 2nd forest being like the first).

      I believe they’ve stated that they’re adding more actual tombs, which was the only disappointing this in the first game. The combat was solid, the platforming was solid, everything else was solid.

      • Setsu Oh

        play tr anniversary and see the differences= what i like they didn’t do. one uncharted(and Remedy games) is enough.

  • MrJechgo

    Tell that to the people at Crystal Dynamics who got laid off due to the game not selling enough on its first weeks ¬_¬;

  • Anthony Birken

    Were people not laid-off because of dissatisfaction with sales last year?

    • MrJechgo

      My point exactly…

  • LustEnvy

    Glad this game picked up steam. it’s worthwhile, and now being free on PS Plus….everyone can finally see how good it is.

  • artemisthemp

    Now I just wait on Tomb Raider 2

  • Skode

    Good old square enix really are out of touch with the western markets given how much they dissed on this and Hitman etc for them losing money whilst the original launch of FFXIV flopped badly financially and critically. I with the devs well in a sequel and ideally they wont have the weight of the world put on their shoulders this time when it comes to sales expectations even if they do reach them… in the end at least.

  • Hector Velar

    patiene SquareEnix u has none. Glad they are making a sequel. It is an awesome game and I highly recommended. Hope they learn their lesson, with this economy you have to give things time and if you do a great game the word is going to get out and be a success.

  • Gilgamesh2025

    Good news! ^^ Can’t wait for TR2! :)

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos