Dead Space 2 cost $60 million to make, only sold 4 million copies and underperformed
Well, this just keeps getting sadder.
One of the best developers announced that they'd be closing their doors earlier today. The studio behind great single player games like Dead Space, Dante's Inferno, and a now-canceled Star Wars game were shut down by EA after the publisher realized that the future of gaming lies within broader games like Destiny or The Division which have many different streams of revenue via DLC and microtransactions.
Many have wondered just how successful single player games are compared to their much larger multiplayer competitors and well, we may have an idea of how successful Visceral's games really were. Despite critical acclaim, Dead Space 2 was not a success for the studio.
The game cost $60 million to make (without taking account marketing which can sometimes be double the cost of development and the cuts retailers and platform holders take) and sold 4 million copies. 4 million is nothing to scoff at usually but this was over the game's lifetime, meaning not all of these were sold at $59.99. Some were probably marked down to $39.99, $29.99, or even $19.99, so it's hard to say if the game turned a profit. Even if it did, former Visceral employee Zach Wilson noted that it didn't matter because the game failed to meet the financial expectations at EA.
Dead Space 2 cost 60 Million dollars to make and they were merciless with their budget. they only sold 4 mil and that wasn't enough— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
cause you gotta spend 60 million dollars marketing it and you take a huge hit from MS and retailers taking their cut— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
I don't know if it turned a profit. But it underperformed, and meeting expectations are as important— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
Of course, with Dead Space 3 things became apparent that EA wanted to make as much money as they possibly could off the game. The single-player game that featured optional co-op had microtransactions for players. These could be used to craft various resources and make the game easier on the player. This caused an uproar in the community but now it seems that this was to be sure that the game made enough money, even if it didn't sell enough units to impress EA. There's no saying if that worked or not given the fact we never got a Dead Space 4 and probably never will now but it was a desperate attempt to stay afloat.
With all that said, if you're a person who loves a great game with an incredible narrative, support single player games! Visceral will be missed very much but we can always look back on their incredible pieces of art.