How many games reach the break-even point?

I’m curious about that since I read an article about the surprisingly small number of music CDs produced in the USA last year which actually made enough money to pay for their production. Is it a total different thing with games, so that even the worst shovelware makes money? I figure there is bound to be somebody here who knows about this side of the story, so tell us, Mr. Money!

Most games don’t make back their money. I don’t know exact figures, but that’s something everyone agrees on. In fact, it tends to be worse than other entertainment industries (e.g. movies).


They should get some suits in.

I heard that also. I also know many developers(well publishers technically) are worried about the current gen dev costs. And I think it may be why nintendo has gone in the wii direction.

The games industry also churns out more pure crap that doesn’t appeal to anyone than any other entertainment industry I can think of. And they sell it at a price far greater than most other forms of entertainment…to a consumer base far smaller.

Game developers don’t make money through concerts.

hmmmm…guitar hero could?

Edit: oh and just in case the suits™ are worried, you can have that for free(our lawyers can sort the papers saying so if you wish) - I like to put back into what has given me great pleasure over the years ;)
I don’t know what EvilIdlers conditions may be though.

I suspect a fairly high percentage of games “break-even” but that doesn’t mean the company’s do. For example, a budget ware title that doesn’t cost much to make can break-even but if the same publisher has a AA title that cost millions to make and bombs then it doesn’t matter. It’s a lot like the movie industry in that way.

Games, like everything else, are subject to Sturgeon’s Law.

  • Alan

“90% of everything is unprofitable”?

80% of the fish are in 20% of the water?

Yeah, I was a tad disappointed when I heard that ILE didn’t make any money on TQ/TQ:IT. I haven’t played a game that has engaged me for so long as that one yet it’s basically a failure commercially.

Although, that begs the question of what is considered a “failure” in gaming terms if most games don’t make back the cost?

Excellent quality games =/= Excellent sales

Two different yard sticks that happen to cross over occasionally

No one lets you try again?

Obviously you haven’t been to a video store lately. The next time you go, check out the enormous amount of direct-to-video schlock that you’ll find there…

Blood Gnomes: They said it was horror, but it was just bad porn.

(scary soundtrack)

hell, have you taken a walk down the music aisle of your local best buy etc. latley?

or god forbid looked at the music section on myspace? EVERYONE has a band and THEY ALL SUCK.

Does that mean that if you are floating in cash (say…because you’re Blizzard) or are your own publisher then everything you do is a success because you can try again regardless of how well your latest does?

From a reader review :

“The plot … revolves around the attempts of a crime-scene photographer to fathom the injuries suffered by individuals killed during S&M. We soon find out they were caused by killer gnomes under the dominion of a drug-dealing dominatrix. Who in turn, is under the control of a gnome producing octopus…”

I promise you, the first thing I’ll do when I come across this film will be to rent it.

I think I lost some brain cells just reading that.

  • Alan