In Studying How Dead Space Sold, An Unusual Stat Emerged For EA

What does it mean when twice as many people played your game on the PS3 and Xbox 360 as purchased it?

EA's Glen Schofield, studio manager for the company's Dead Space team at Visceral Games, appeared on the second episode of EA's official podcast to talk games, mention that Dead Space had co-op during some of its development cycle and explain the company's take on Dead Space's sales.

And he dismissed the thought that what held Dead Space back was a lack of online play.

Here's their key exchange, at 22 minutes, 56 seconds of last week's episode:

We looked at how many we sold. We also looked at — we didn't have online which is one of the big features that you need to have to kind of keep it in the house a little bit longer these days. But then we also did studies on sort of how many unique users there were on the PSN network and Xbox Live. And realised, you know what, there's over three million people that have played Dead Space. Maybe we've only sold 1.5 million or whatever the number is. But there's something there because that means that, ok, there were a lot of used sales. So there's a lot of people when I go out and talk to [them] … it seems that everybody has played it or heard about it or whatever.

One of the podcast's hosts asked Schofield if adding online was key. Had there been pressure to have an online?

I think it's bang for the buck is really what we're looking at right now these days and going: 'OK, we came out at 60 bucks and so did some of these other games that had online that maybe people could play for 50 hours, right? Or they had tons and tons of PDLC [premium downloadable content]so they could play it for 40, 50 hours again. Or we were up against Fallout, which was a 50-hour game to begin with. So, we didn't look at it and say we have to have online. What we said we've got to be bang for the buck. Some people could get through our game in 10 hours or so, so we learned.

For the record, Dead Space did have PDLC, in the form of several optional downloadable suits. But it had no narrative expansions, purchasable multiplayer modes or other offerings issued for games such as Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5 and more.

06-30-2009 EA Podcast


    /faceslap, well duh!

    Of course sales are going to suffer if the game isn't going to have any after sale value. Compared to say Fallout 3, a game that has no competitive online, but the developers continue to churn out single player expansions to improve the experience.

    I will never, in a million years trade Fallout 3 in for that reason alone, they'll need to claw that game from my cold dead hands.

    Dead Space was still an amazing game and one of my favourites of this generation. I think the only way to expand its longevity is to have DLC missions like fallout. keep expanding the universe.

    Dont just throw in MP for the sake of it. I cant see a game like Dead Space having a good multiplayer component.

    I would've loved to keep playing Dead Space after I finished it twice, but yeah, all the DLC was just rubbish. More missions would've been awesome. Oh well...

    People don't want great, innovative and fresh games. People want regurgitated CoD games where they replace Nazis with Terrorists and stick a new hat on it.
    In other words games that plateau in the fun factor consistantly over 50 hours is better than 10hrs of peak greatness.

    They could price it accordingly. If it lacks features (multiplayer), that's less money they spent on developing it. Why not pass that onto the consumer and price the game at say $50 instead of $60? You might get just as many trade-ins, but you would probably get more initial sales to compensate.

    I loved this game! Bring on Dead Space 2 please!

    Dead Space DLC is a gimmicks. I can finish the game just fine without the special suit and weapons. What we need is a new gameplay (preferably story base expansion) like prequel levels prior to Dead Space.

    "that’s less money they spent on developing it"

    OR they could have put more effort into other things and therefor cost them the same.

    Sale of 'used' games makes me sad.

    Less money for developers means less chance of innovation because the risks are so high. Also less chance of sequels, etc.

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