Uh, oops. Over the weekend, Forbes ran an article citing data obtained from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR). Forbes' article said that, according to EEDAR, only 4% of games ever make a profit. Wha? 4%? Sounded silly. Seems it was silly. Forbes mis-quoted EEDAR's data, which actually says that only 4% of all games that ever enter into production make a profit. Sounds like a case of semantics, but it's a key difference. Just like movies, most games that enter into production never actually see the light of day. Of those that do make it onto store shelves, it turns out 20% of them return a "significant profit". That sounds more like it. EEDAR's full correction follows.
On Friday, November 21th, Forbes.com did an article on Electronic Entertainment Design and Research. The article is located here http://www.forbes.com/ebusiness/2008/11/21/games-eedar-developers-tech-ebiz-cx_mji_1121eedar.html . Unfortunately, there was a miss-quote in the article that a lot of sites noticed and reported on. Below is the line from the article.
"Only 4% of games that make it to market actually make a profit, he says. About 60% of a game's budget is spent reworking or redesigning a game. Armed with all this data, companies can make those tough calls early in the development process."
The actual statistic is only 4% of games that enter production will return a significant profit. Of games that are released to the market, only 20% will produce a significant profit. (Source for the second sentence: Secrets of the Game Business by Francois Dominic Laramee).
We understand that miss-communications can happen, especially during phone interviews, but given the inaccuracy of the statistic and how many other sites have picked up on the story, we wanted to ensure that the major media outlets received the correct statistics on the subject.
Geoffrey Zatkin, EEDAR's President and COO, has provided some clarity on the subject:
"Only 20% of games that begin production will ever finish. Of those 20% that are finished and released to the market, only 20% of them will ever realise a significant profit (Source: Secrets of the Game Business Francois Dominic Laramee).That equals 4% of games that start production return a significant profit.
During the concept and design process of a game, publishers and developers often analyse every feature in a game to ensure proper implementation for a successful release. At EEDAR, we believe that enough historical information is now available to aid publishers and developers during the concept and design process of a game. The EEDAR database, which now consists of over 6 million historical data points, can help remove the burden for publishers and developers from having to justify every feature in their title. Specifically, our DesignMetrics™ reports help publishers and developers by identifying early in the development cycle the correct feature combinations most likely to meet consumer expectations. This allows developers to focus more time and resources on creating a high quality and well polished video game."