Good News! The Tomb Raider Reboot Is Finally In The Black

The rising costs of AAA development are no secret and even games that appear successful to us outsiders can internally be seen as failures for not hitting (sometimes ludicrous) sales projections. Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot is one such game that didn't quite reach publisher Square Enix's sales expectations. Well, that is until late last year.

Speaking with Eurogamer's Tom Phillips, executive producer Scot Amos revealed that Tomb Raider "crossed the line of profitability" at the end of 2013.

Even with the financial side looking dubious, Amos says the Square Enix never lost confidence in the developer, with resources for the sequel always forthcoming:

"As a franchise, Square Enix is clearly invested in us ... They already let us get kickstarted on a sequel and they backed us with this [the game's upcoming Definitive Edition].
"They've always been behind us, regardless of maybe what was said or how it was said in the press, and certainly at the end of the year we've actually gone over expectations because we've managed to get profitability back."

It's becoming very clear that not every game can be a Grand Theft Auto, breaking even within weeks of going on sale, and publishers might just have to accept that some titles will require more time to make good on their investment.

Tomb Raider finally achieved profitability "by the end of last year" [Eurogamer]


    Wow, 9 months, that is a long time. I would be really interested in finding out how long it takes most AAA games to break even or seeing if some even lost money. I bet it makes investors very nervous.

      I'm actually curious how much of the budget was spent on marketing. It was pushed pretty hard around release.


        These games from big publishers spend upwords or 2x the actual development costs on marketing and wonder why there game didn't sell 10 million copies.

        Ignoring the fact that budgets are ballooning and resources are pissed way the simple fact is developers who sell millions of titles and don't break even are failing the most basic economics, understanding consumer demand.

        Not every game can sell as well as COD or GTA even if you spend 100 million on marketing it wont make a difference. Games like Lara croft don't have mass appeal, enither do titles like dead space or even final fantasy. There is a limit to the amount of sales that these titles can achieve even with perfect scores and marketing, the companies need to understand this and then budget accordingly right from the start.

        It's not just Tomb Raider. See cases in point, Mirror's Edge and Spore.

        There was so much hype out there for the two and look what happened. Instead of spending money on marketing maybe they should have invested more in the development of the game.

        The other problem I see if the heavy use of multi-platforming. Instead of trying to make a game run on all platforms how about going back to the old model where you picked one platform, looked at its features, use those features as enablers for game play mechanics then make the game and think about another platform later if you make a profit.

        Sadly, no publisher wants to go there as getting the game right and perfect on one platform and at the same time does not want to spend any time optimising for the separate platforms.

    well Tomb Raider was one of my favourite games last year, i might even buy the PS4 reboot.

    Despite how good this reboot was, Tomb Raider games had been on a downward trend for so long that it was always unreasonable to expect this game to rake in cash out of the gate. For all intents and purposes they may as well have been starting with a new franchise.

    I rolled my eyes a bit at the start when it looked like they were just having a cry about not reaching Call of Duty/GTA level sales, but I have to admit I'm still a bit surprised it took the game so long to break even.

    In any case, as long as they put a decent effort into the next game, it should bring in significantly more cash for Squeenix, as they seem to have made a lot of new fans.

    Late last year.
    Sooo... steam sale?
    Still, I'm suprised such a good game took so long to break even.

    Game had too many unnecessary QTE for me to buy it. It really killed it for me.

      Game had too much shoot'emup-shoot'emup-pow-pow and not enough realistic survival against the elements or realistic puzzles. Gave the whole game a generic dimension imo. I stopped playing it about half-way through out of disillusionment. Don't worry though, I eventually finished it like after a 4 month break or something.
      Also I was soo hoping that it would be a more grounded-type reboot, but no, magical boogey monsters shooting lighting from their butts - laaame.
      I personally won't be tuning in for the next one, I didn't hate it, but I didn't particularly like it. Good luck to them.

    Tomb Raider was brilliant, I'm a little surprised it took so long to hit the mark. I hope they don't take that as a negative sign for future Tomb Raiders.

    So how many copies did they finally end up selling? Wasn't it over over 3.5million? If you can't turn a profit after selling 3.5 million units, maybe you're not running your business very well.

    As for the game, I loved it. One of my favourites for 2013.

      Yeah that was physical copies and rather early on. I'd wager after 9 odd months + digital they probably sold closer to 6.

    The fact that you can sell 5 million units of your game and not make a profit on it just shows how out of touch the people who put the projections on these games are. If you asked any gamer out there if a Tomb Raider reboot would sell more than 6 million copies with even with a huge marketing budget most would have probably said no. Too many companies see Call of Duty as a benchmark when really, it is the extreme. Everybody buys Call of Duty, however, for every other game, they have individual markets.

    Liked the game, but never finished. Gotta get back into it.

    I remember the ads being on Bus stops and trams, thinking, do that many people really buy games? They must be spending quite a fair bit on the marketing side imo.

    But the reboot won't be on PC so money it will not be receiving from me.

      That just means they make their money from the console platforms.

      Last edited 20/01/14 11:07 am

        Yeah, from other people. That don't know how to use Steam Big Picture.

    Yeah, Hollywood accounting is a bitch.

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