Square Enix documents reveal disappointment in Tomb Raider, Hitman, Sleeping Dogs sales

Sleeping Dogs

By on April 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Documents released as part of Square Enix’s financial statement show a company disappointed by Tomb Raider‘s sales of 3.4 million, a number substantially below the 5-6 million they were aiming for.

“We put considerable amount of effort into polishing and perfecting game content for these titles,” reads the statement (PDF), “receiving extremely high Metacritic scores.”

“However we were very disappointed to see that high scores did not translate to actual sales performance.”

Hitman: Absolution similarly underperformed, selling 3.6 million of the 4.5 – 5 million Square Enix were hoping for, and Sleeping Dogs only cracked 1.75 when Square Enix were hoping for 2 – 2.5.

Late last month Square Enix warned it was expecting “an extraordinary loss” in company profit, and their CEO Yoichi Wada stepped down. It’s a genuine shame that these games have performed under expectation, as Square Enix have shown that they’re capable of publishing some top-quality games with excellent PC support.

Source: Eurogamer

29 comments (Leave your own)

All three of those games are fantastic, well made, done right, and great fun. I bought and enjoyed all three immensely. The fact that they underperformed where games like Sim City sold a truckload despite being broken out of the box, and other titles less deserving made a lot of money, speaks very, very poorly of where we can expect game development to lean towards in future. If three really, really good games couldn’t make target and others which weren’t really finished could, you can guess where more development money is going to end up.

I’m going to guess all three being single player had something to do with it, or some such, but I’m rather sick of good single player games getting done over by mediocre or forced multiplayer games.


All the other big game developers would be reading this with mixed emotions (good: they’re not doing so well so the customers must prefer our games over theirs; bad: oh crap…we could be just like them).


They might be good games, but none of those 3 are interesting to me, i seen them on friends computers and decided i would buy other games instead.
So it’s not that they are bad games, i just think a lot of people must have bought others instead.
I imagine a lot of people are like me and have to carefully select which games to buy as our wallets aren’t giant and bulging with cash.


so tomb raider sold 3.4 m illion copies. lets say the average retail price for a game is $50 (we know that aint true here).. based on that the game made $170mil in sales up to this date.

Man what the hell are their overheads if $170mil isn’t good enough? I shudder to think….


hoenestly i don’t think there was enough hype and advertising for tomb raider and sleeping dogs. Hitmans was ok, but nothing in the line of COD or crysis


I’d be interested to see how many of those 1.75 millions copies of Sleeping Dogs were actually purchased when the game was released at full retail price because I don’t know anybody (myself included) who picked that up before the first time it was on sale on Steam for $25.

Toby McCasker

What le. Some of my fave garmz have been Squenix of late (Human Rev, Tomb Raider). Buy their stuff or they’ll stop making the stuff! Which you aren’t buying! So whatever I suppose!


So two out of the three are sequels which essentially just re-hash concepts from numerous previous games, and they’re surprised people aren’t rushing out to buy them?

When will companies work out that they need to continually innovate with new series?

Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield etc weren’t born as series, they were once relatively innovative new games. After a while people get bored, and you need something new.

They should be trying to make the next Mass Effect 1 or Dishonored, not cranking out sequels. Sleeping Dogs is the only one listed which vaguely tried to do that, and not coincidentally the only one I plan on playing when I find the time.


hoenestly i don’t think there was enough hype and advertising for tomb raider and sleeping dogs. Hitmans was ok, but nothing in the line of COD or crysis

Was thinking this too – Sleeping Dogs seemed to just slink out into the marketplace unnoticed, and I only really checked it out after seeing a few references to it after it had been out for a while.


Wasn’t Sleeping Dogs supposed to be the next in the “True Crime” series?


I would have been more interested in Tomb Raider if it was a game more focussed on, funnily enough, ‘tomb raiding’ rather than some run of the mill action game with a side dish of ‘tomb raiding’…
Give me dark, desolate, beautiful looking tombs with some funky well thought out platforming gameplay and I’ll happily open my wallet! However, give me another ‘go shoot bad guys’ game that pretends to be a tomb raiding platformer then expect my wallet to stay in my pocket…


notthatdoug: I don’t know anybody (myself included) who picked that up before the first time it was on sale on Steam for $25.

Hi, pleased to meet you. Pre-ordered it for like $~30ish at GmG


I ahven’t played sleeping dogs or tomb raider buuut… hitman was terrible really they could not have missed the point of the hitman games more if they tried, so im not really surprised that did poorly



Back when Activision had it, they predicted it wouldn’t sell well and sold it off to Squenix, Squenix changed the name, but kept a lot of the game intact.

I think it was really solid for the style of game it is, however lack of any endgame sort of stuff (Once you finish story, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the city) and no multiplayer gives it a limited life in anyones play list. I think there were probably far more pre-owned sales of it than actual retail sales that Squenix make money off and can track. Just about everyone I know has played it and many others that I speak to as well, so it seems like it must have been fairly popular, despite the disappointing sales.

It was my 2012 GOTY as well.


Man what the hell are their overheads if $170mil isn’t good enough? I shudder to think….

Business isn’t just about earning enough to cover production costs and a bit extra on the side, it’s also about raising enough capital to cover any future losses and keep the company afloat in the rough times. We deride publishers/developers for being formulaic and thinking of the almighty dollar yet clearly there are times when risky decisions haven’t paid off. Having a strong capital basis allows the consequences of those risks to be absorbed.


all 3 games were quite decent (tomb raider and sleeping dogs excellent, hitman, eh, take it or leave it) but how many games are competing for our attention? how can anyone person possibly by every game (thats not advocating piracy) that companies release? i simply dont have the money to buy everything (even at discount prices) and i refuse to steal games, but then the ones i do buy i have to play, and with study and work wheres the time? then if theyre mp u have to spend time unlocking things and getting good at it… i believe the industry might be headed towards another crash. to much to often, then theres kickstarters etc etc…. just overwhelming. ive got about 80 games on my to play list! i have games on steam ive been meaning to play since 07 that i still havent got around too :( i know it seems like this is first world problems etc, but these are my problems, if u know what i mean, im not struggling to eat, thats not a problem of mine…


More a case of failure to estimate than failure on the games I believe. Those are decent numbers.

There is a point that extra spent on production doesn’t match the extra sales that polish provides.

Gameplay trumps everything and that’s rarely got anything to do with production values.

Yes I know what you mean


For a typical on-rails game of it’s type, TR3 was nicely made, but holds no interest for anyone I know under the age of 15. Not exactly a shocker that one didn’t sell gangbusters.

Hitman was again, decently made, however, it was an abomination and terrible departure from what actually made people buy the vastly superior previous versions of the game. The fact that this didn’t sell was because A) they chased off anyone who previously played the game & B) very few new customers had any reason to have significant interest in it.

Sleeping Dogs IMO was the best of the three games, but I heard virtually nothing about the game prior to it’s release, then the preview videos & gameplay videos looked brilliant, only to find when I bought the PC version, they had completely shit the bed with their PC port. You couldn’t even un-bind the keys and make basic changes to the game to make it playable with a keyboard and mouse, due to their locking of the keyboard arrow buttons to the use of the in-game mobile phone. It was a total disaster & I traded or swapped my digital version of the game in less than a week. Once my mates found out about this simple function missing from the game, they wouldn’t even consider paying for it. Many others never bothered for the very same reason.


Isn’t it a bit early to be calling TR at a loss, it only just came out last month..?


so tomb raider sold 3.4 m illion copies. lets say the average retail price for a game is $50 (we know that aint true here).. based on that the game made $170mil in sales up to this date.

Man what the hell are their overheads if $170mil isn’t good enough? I shudder to think….

It’s not as simple as that… there’s plenty of stops for that cash inbetween and even once it reaches Squeenix themselves they’ve got their overheads as well as reinvesting a lot of that money back into making new products. If a product isn’t making enough profit to make all of that worth it, it means the line between profit and loss is too small. So if they only make (say) $20M clear profit on a title, based on their prediction/modelling they know that a single misstep puts them way close to losing money on the sequel.

Or something like that. Big business is never as simple as it looks.

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