Crackdown Wasn't The Success You Think It Was

Crackdown was awesome! And it had a Halo 3 multiplayer beta key included! So it did great business for Microsoft and developers Realtime, right? Nope. Not even close.

"With Crackdown we sold about 1.5 million copies, but even at that we pretty much only managed to break even," says Dave Jones, boss of developers Realtime Worlds. "It was due to the amount of factors that were out of our control as the developer, influences such as GameStop's amazing used-game sales; we know 1.5 million new copies were sold, but it's likely there were 2.5, three million sold when you include used."

And you wonder why developers and publishers hate GameStop?

Crackdown Only Broke Even, says Dave Jones [IndustryGamers]


    The mixed reviews and poor replayability of the game out of the box probably didn't help much either.

    Breaking even after 1.5million copies is weird though. I thought modern games only needed half a million in sales to break even?

      You've got to remember Crackdown was running on a pretty cutting edge engine. I'm struggling to think of a freeroamer that tried to do online co-op on a console before Crackdown.

    "we know 1.5 million new copies were sold, but it’s likely there were 2.5, three million sold when you include used"

    What is this guy talking about? Does gamestop get it for free? No way, if they sell it as used game, they will have to pay for it 1st (then open the wrap, play it) before they can sell it as used game.

      Right, follow me here:

      1. Retailer buys game from publisher for, say, $60.
      2. Retailer then sells that game to consumer for, say, $100.
      3. Consumer plays game and trades it in after a few weeks.
      4. Retailer pays consumer, say, $60 for trade-in.
      5. Retailer then sells used copy to second consumer for $90.

      Publisher revenue = $60
      Retailer revenue = $70


      (Note: Obviously I've made up those figures, but I don't think they're inaccurate.)

        David is pretty damn close with those figures, and makes a fair point.

        However, what always gets me is that someone had to buy the game in mint condition (ie new) first, before a retailer gets their hands on it to sell it pre owned (at least, for the majority of retailers in Aus, that's how it works). So at first instance, everyone wins.

        However, many of those pre owned sales that Realtime is whinging about would have been repeat sales of the same pre owned copy of Crackdown, which is where it hurts developers. Because new players of Crackdown weren't paying the developer to play it, they were paying Gamestop for the privilege (simplified sentence, but gets point across).

        However, I don't sympathise with his point of view, or the final line of this article. Retailers need to maintain a profit margin to stay in business, and they can't make that up with just mint games (where full priced they are lucky to make 25% at full RRP). If they don't maintain a profit, they will have to close. If they close, we have less places to buy games from. Which in turn means less places for developers to sell their games to/from. And so on.

        I'd say $30 to $40 sounds more like what the retailer would pay the consumer for the used game, so:

        Publisher Revenue = $60
        Retailer Revenue = $90 - $100

        You forgot

        6. ???
        7. Profit!

        But yeah, that sounds about right. It's why I dont use trade-in offers or buy preowned.

        Surely publishers can put a resale clause in their titles to stop retailers re-selling them. Or move to majority digital distribution. However, I know it's a little difficult for console based AAA titles. Releasing digitally distributed PC ports of games is viable, but then there's increased piracy.

        So maybe spend the extra cash and and port to all feasible platforms. Digitally distribute where possible.

        One solution, that is controversial, is to have the player register their game against a console's serial number, and a username and password (for moving from one console to another).

      "Does gamestop get it for free?"

      He means that outfits like Gamestop manage to get repeat sales from a single product -- a product that they didn't even make -- without the risk or investment involved.

      i.e. the publisher sells once, absorbs the risk, but Gamestop and all the other middle-men sell many-times, at a vastly reduced risk.

      I will not miss Gamestop or EB Games or the like when they eventually dry up. Nor will other developers or publishers.

        Gaming is the largest and most consistent growing industry in the world? Gamestop and their ilk won't be drying up any time soon.

        Wishing them to 'dry up' only hurts you, the consumer, by having less options of where to buy your games. Do you think Kmart/BigW offer distributors the best prices? Of course not, that's why you see BigW etc selling brand new games well below RRP, without the slightest care for internal profits (they've got crappy overpriced clothes to make their margins on).

        I personally, am looking forward to the digital distribution model for all my games, even though I will miss having jewel cases and booklets and stuff.

    Ah look the way I see it is if EB Games werent there to trade in preowned - someone else will be. If JB weren't here, there'd be someone else. And if no store existed, if used-game selling was outlawed... then people would find a way to trade games on the internet. What game developers cant seem to grasp sense of is that not every game is good... a lot are crap. And there-in lies the foundations of preowned; to sell what you think is crap or what you're just finished with.

      Someone else is already there to take up the slack from JB Hifi and EB/GAME, it's eBay.

      remember them ?

      really, preowned = ebay.

      also, grey imports = ebay.

      it would be educational to see how much those 1.5 million buyers paid, and how much the 2.5 million recyclers paid for their copy of the game.

      IMO this number would be a lot more interesting to read than total sales, it would likely show there's a tier of pricing that people would pay money for a game, regardless of promotion or popularity, etc.

    I think the stigma from consumers is that P/O is crap. Its not true. It does depend on where you buy your P/O stuff too. I have had several bad experiences with EB P/O produts, they have some shoking quality P/O. I go to my local GAME and am confident when i buy my P/O from there, it always works and comes with all the manuals and crap. Really, the only diffrence from a consumers point of view when buying quality P/O is that its cheaper, for the same game. Why wouldnt you buy P/O if you are confident its quality?

    Of course, publisher hate P/O. I presume they hate such sales with the same intensity book publishers hate libraries and P/O book sales. Like boardgame manufacturers hate ebay for offering ways to enjoy their product without manufacturers receiving extra money from each P/O sale. Come to think of it, why not ban selling of used furnitures and used cars *g*? Come on, guys, each and everywhere it is your right to sell again what you have bought. Only software publishers are smoking such strange stuff that they feel it is their moral obligation to deny customers their basic rights.

    The title is misleading.. I never thought Crackdown was a success..

    And you can't really balme any retailer for trying to make a profit.

    Oh and if they sold 1.5m and 2.5m have played it on their console that doesnt mean its all traded copies..

    Its more likely split between 2nd hand, lending the game to friends and priacy..

    If they wanted to sell 2.5m then they should have made a better game..

    Crackdown was a good game. Majority of sandbox gamers, they always compare games to GTA and call them clones. GTA did not create the sandbox type genre. Yes they do a bloody good job making games in that genre, but not every game is copying GTA.

    I reckon, in the future, the POSSIBILITY of publishers making deals with retailers in order to gain some sort of profit from used games will arise. Some may say, then a retailer will say, no thanks, to selling that game. But if a publisher of say, Microsoft, decided to do so with a game like Halo (which wouldn't need to cut a deal in order to make a profit from used game sales), then a retailer like Gamestop would obviously make a deal as such.

    Then again, some say Digital is the future. Who knows...
    Digital Rental perhaps.

    Logically, a large amount of used game sales indicates that the cost of the game is higher than the value applied to it by consumers.

    So logically, one solution from a developers point-of-view, would be to reduce the price of a new copy of the game, or make the game better/more attractive, so that consumers would value it more.

    Hey - if we are going to see new game prices of up to $110 here in Australia, then the second hand market will thrive. I mean inagine the poor bastards who paid $90 for Terminator: Salvation, only to complete it 5 hours after purchase (and no MP)?

    Maybe they should make a decent game instead of whining like bitches.

    AI was stupid, story was stupid, repeitition galore, boring missions, nothing much to actually interact with in the world, shitty orb collecting.

    If game devs hate gamestop so much... why let gamestop buy the games to sell? They can stop selling games to gamestop, and just to best buy or target or walmart. sure the games will wind up at gamestop but still... you make no point.

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