Curt Schilling's Role-Playing Game Supposedly Needed To Sell 3 Million Copies To Not Fail

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning needed to sell three million copies just to break even, Rhode Island government Lincoln Chafee told reporters today during a press conference about the game studio run by Curt Schilling that has all but collapsed.

"The game failed," Chafee said. "The game failed." Chafee was struggling to explain to reporters how 38 Studios, a company founded by a star ballplayer and wooed by the state with multi-million dollar loans could suddenly turn into the poster-child for government-financed debacles (read all about the sad 38 Studios saga). What would have spared the company? Chafee: "The experts are saying in the three million range just to break even."

Reports of the game's sales have ranged from a little over 400,000 to just over a million (the latter figure, Schilling himself claimed beat the projections of the game's distributor, EA).

Chafee's press conference kicked off late afternoon with the governor and his lieutenants seemingly unaware that all employees of 38 and its affiliate Big Huge Games were laid off today.

"If the company's not going to be profitable and can't give us the confidence [it can get] on solid footing, then we have to deal with the ramifications," Chafee said. "Industry experts tell us this is very, very expensive and it's not only the cost of producing the game, but then maintaining it once it's released, and then tens of millions of dollars to market it. I think the Red Sox lost Babe Ruth because the owner invested in a play called No No Nannette. And the play failed and he had to sell Babe Ruth. This is very very similar. The game failed. That was integral to the success of the company."

Chafee claims he was hands-off with 38 and understood them to be in fine financial shape as recently as last month before things went sour. His team said today that in discussions with Schilling yesterday, layoffs were not discussed.

To express how far he kept from 38, Chafee adde: "I didn't meddle. if I did meddle there wouldn't be all this violence. All this horrible sexism in games."


    This sucks so much man... it wasn't even a bad game, it's just another example of how successful bloody handheld 99c games are compared to console games. Three million copies to break even?! What the hell!

      I'm curious to know if that could have been brought down to closer to 2 mil if the game hadn't been marketed so hard, seriously it was at Call of Duty levels of coverage even in Australia.
      Either way, sad case, I enjoyed the game muchly, still planning on picking up the DLC if I ever find the time to play.

        I didn't notice any marketing until some articles popoped up on Kotaku and there was the item crossover with Mass Effect 3.
        I really enjoyed Kingdoms, but if it was marketed, it wasn't marketed right.

          it was everywhere with slick videos (VO by Claudia Black) , comparing it to skyrim , statements that on a speed run the game took a team 200 hours to complete plus the constant name-dropping. Either you didn't pay attention or you don't go to any of these websites often.

            nope i can say i didn't see any advertising for it either. but they shouldn't rely on just websites. you need tv spots and other media as well

            Sites covering it isn't the same as marketing. EB Games didn't even have it on their preorder marketing materials til the month it was released and like it or not the retail shopper accounts for a massive share of the market.

      It does suck. But I think there were two main things that held the game back IMO.

      Skyrim, having just been around the last corner, didn't help their situation at all. If they had sold it around April 2012 they probably would have seen more success.

      Secondly, the art style. I know it may seem petty, but to the mainstream audience Skyrim looked realistic, and it looked cinematic. Reckoning looks like a Saturday morning cartoon. It was a style that simply didn't convey a serious tone. Which renders the mass marketing pointless. non-gamers bought Skyrim because it had LOTR feel that they wanted to be immersed in. Reckoning does not convey the same message.

      That's what I think anyway.

      It could also just be an example of Poe planing the game in its current form might have cost far less. But because the game was actually retooled from an existing RPG that Big Huge Games was already making and that prior costs associated with developing that RPG would be considered costs of amalur since whatever Debt they had making the game in the first place would still be held against the game(since if THQ had paid that debt down they would have kept the rights in all likelyhood)

    The game was okay, it was just kind of bland and lifeless... generic

    If it was cheaper, say $10 or so, then I would have got it. It looks like a generic fantasy RPG, and if it's not distinguished from other games then why should it cost so much?

    I have heard good things about the game, but it's a New Franchise & New Developer (first ever title).

    At no point should 3 million units have been the break even figure, that is just borderline insanity! Not everything has to sell millions of copies people, less than 5% of titles probably would, budget your games properly, if it then actually sells millions then it's a fantastic bonus.

    The game was okayish and it certainly didn't help going up against Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 which were far superior games compared to Amalur

    I found the game had too much padding. It felt like a MMO except you are playing by yourself. The side quests weren't that exciting and were just simple fetch/kill this unit type quests. It quickly became a grind and I skipped most of them

    The voice acting was sub par for a game of this scale. Too often it sounded like the same voice actor done most of the characters and most of the lines was spoken really really slowly. I ended up skipping most of it and just read the subtitles instead.

    3 mill units is a lot of sales. Especially when there are better games out there on the market

    I loved this game, it despertaly dservered a sequel, too bad guys, congrats on everyone who worked there, they did there best

    Big Huge Games shut down too as part of that? Damn. They made a couple really good RTSs.

    Now I feel bad! I was going to buy the game but decided against it because I already had too much to play. It's a shame to see it failing, but really, they spent too much money on their first game and set expectations way too high. Did they even have any sales projections? Did they line up with expected costs? It seems like very bad management was also to blame here.

    such a great game. Still playing it.
    Go get it if you haven't already people. it's well worth the sticker price.

    this sounds like THQ levels of mismanagement, over-inflated expectations and spending too much on marketing, to the point that even if the game sells well, it still won't turn a profit

    I'm really curious what they did that was soon expensive, the graphics looked like a licensee on wow's engine.
    The story line was standard and the quests were typical of many mmo's.
    It's not like it had the depth of skyrim or anything.
    Yes I know its long, but most of it is just grind quests and fetch quests.

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