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CliffyB: One New AAA IP Needs To Hit 10 Million To Break Even

10 freakin' million?! Is that even possible for a new IP, no matter how anticipated it might be?

Epic Games design boss Cliff Bleszinski has tossed up an eye-catching Tweet. The result has been a whole lot of guessing on the part of the gaming community. Here it is:

"At e3 I overheard that a certain AAA new IP needs to sell 10 million copies...to break even. No I'm not saying which one. You can guess. :)"

This could be Destiny, as it's a gigantic production and Bungie probably doesn't know how to make a lower-budget game. Then again, it could be Ubisoft's Watch Dogs; they've been promoting it like mad, and there's no doubt that they want it to be another Assassin's Creed. Whatever it is, it can't possibly be a reported exclusive title; if it is, there's almost zero chance the developers will make their money back.

Right now, there are only a few franchises in the entire industry that have a chance of breaking 10 million in sales. There's Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin's Creed, and...uh...how many others? Can't be very many. And for a new IP to hit such sales numbers is unheard of. All we got to say is "good luck." Whoever it is......is gonna need it.

Tags: cliff bleszinski, cliffyb, new ip, new aaa ip

7/9/2013 10:39:29 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (44 posts)

Temjin001
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 10:56:51 PM
Reply

oh, I'm guessing Titanfall or Destiny. Isn't Destiny a 'pay-to-play' game though? If it is I don't think that sort of statement would be made for Destiny. hehe man, one way or another, I bet EA is really, REALLY, wishing they didn't sign a contract with MS for Titanfall.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:12:30 PM

Is it? If so I'll cross that one off my list.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:22:20 PM

It'd be kind of funny if Titanfall didn't sell enough on Xbone to warrant the exclusivity deal. Cuz unless it is some unheard-of type of success PS4 gamers aren't going to give 2 sh*ts about it when it comes out for us a year later. Any online FPS lovers will be settled and invested into Destiny or Dust 514 by then.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:37:18 PM

while Titanfall does look like a cool game with cool art direction and stuff, I think the graphics look underwhelming. I mean, this is the next-gen and that game basically looks like a really good PS3 exclusive with improved textures or something but running at a higher res. Anyway, I'm REAL glad the PS4 is a good measure more powerful than XboxOne.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 7/9/2013 11:38:01 PM

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bigrailer19
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:54:17 PM

I dont think Destiny is pay-to-play. Ive never heard that until now. If its true I wont be getting it.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 12:03:01 AM

hmmm. seems expensive then. I guess you gotta risk big money to launch a new franchise. While the first game may cost a ton, if it successfully launches into a decade long revenue stream for Activision it'd be well worth it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 12:16:53 AM

If it isn't pay to play it will be pay to succeed.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 2:08:36 AM

Nah. I just dont see that happening either. This isnt an iphone app where you need to spend real money to get further. This is a full game that consumers will pay $60 for.

I searched tonight and there is scarce information on this subject so my thoughts are that there is a reason for that. And it simply wont be the case.

However lol, if it is I sure wont be purchasing it.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 6:01:06 AM

Destiny isn't Pay-to-play.

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Norrin Radd
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 6:03:10 AM

I've consumed every piece of Destiny info available. The developers have stated quite clearly that it will NOT be pay to play. I can't give you the specific cites off the top of my head - but I am 100% certain that stament has been made multiple times.

And just because its not pay-to-play does not mean it won't be riddled with non-competitive DLC, either. Want that newest character class? $10 please. A new awesome skin for your Hunter? $1.99. Weapons - this is where I THINK they draw the line and say no. But who knows? I guess time will tell.

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Nynja
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 12:41:56 PM

Watch Dogs. That's my educated guess. Here's my reasoning from another post:

"It's actually under $500,000,000 budget. Only game I could see with a budget that size must come from one of the big three pubs; EA, Activision, or Ubisoft. I have to think EA won't spend that kind of money without some sort of exclusivity check from an unnamed game console/software company. That leaves Activision and Ubisoft. Usually a budget that big means large game assets, likely an open world game. Being a new IP, that means it's either Destiny, The Division (unlikely), or Watch Dogs. With all the heavy marketing, multiple platforms, I'm going with Watch Dogs. Ubisoft is spreading this game across as many platforms as they can, probably in attempt to meet their 10 million copies goal."

Last edited by Nynja on 7/10/2013 12:47:15 PM

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Shauneepeak
Thursday, July 11, 2013 @ 10:48:07 PM

I'm gonna guess Destiny. I don't think Watch Dogs would need that many sales even with all the advertising. Also whats with the under $500,000,000 quote? Under $500,000,000 means anywhere from $0.01-$500mil. Or does under $500mil mean long as the game comes in under $500mil they can do as they please?

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PC_Max
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:09:43 PM
Reply

Just remember, he said break even. So my guess is that he is saying a game would cost... about 5 million to make. Need to make 5 million back to cover that cost, an additional 5 million to break even (which means money to make another game at no profit) and then anything after that is profit but to be really considered profitable another 5 million lets say. So really at least 15 million to make the game worthwhile to make in to a franchise. Assuming it did cost them 5 million to make. And if this is where AAA games are going, we might see less and less of them. OR... a lot more DLC or chapter based games. If they are not so called "sandbox" games.

We shall see.

Keep Playing!

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Axe99
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 6:53:07 PM

In a financial sense, 'break even' refers to revenue covering expenses for a project, there's no 'plus enough money for the next game'. So in this case, strictly speaking (noting I'm sure Cliffy B is doing some rounding) at 9,999,999 copies, revenue would be less than the cost of development/marketing/shipping/etc;, at 10,000,000 copies it would be equal, and every extra copy above and beyond that is profit that can be used to fund future projects/pay dividends to shareholders/etc;.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:26:08 PM
Reply

That means the game cost... what 300-400 million dollars to develop? Kinda hard to believe.

Probably talking about Destiny though, which won't make most of its money on game sales but transaction rapes.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 6:03:07 AM

Which is what makes me think he in fact isn't talking about Destiny.

Because Destiny's success won't be based off of copies sold alone. It will have micro-transactions and DLC for 10 years.

The production cost makes sense for a game of that size, but I don't know about the 10 million copies sold.

It could be Titanfall, since Respawn is a new company.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 7/10/2013 6:04:30 AM

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Simcoe
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 @ 11:39:16 PM
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Yeah, either Destiny or Titanfall. On one hand I'd say Destiny as they have all the online infrastructure they'd need to invest in, plus it's supposed to be just a massive game, I'm sure Activision has given them a blank cheque (they can afford it). Plus, with all the money they've been spending they don't have a guaranteed cheque from MS (like Respawn does). On the other hand, Respawn is a brand new company and would have had to make quite an investment in hardware and technology (as they had absolutely zero to begin with) as well as likely hire some other key people to fill important positions within the company (not everyone followed them over after their rift from Activision) so they probably would have had to offer rich incentives to pluck some key people from other companies.

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:02:47 AM
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Knack?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:14:40 AM

That cost five bucks and a Burger King coupon to make.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:16:07 AM
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I got a feeling it's an exclusive. The manufacturers (Sony/MS) sponsor those releases. That'll put them in a different position, budgetwise. So the ten mill number is just an indicator of the cost of making and promoting that title.

Either way, it's crazy. Just crazy.

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/10/2013 1:17:40 AM

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Draguss
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:34:02 AM
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It's crazy, but I wouldn't be surprised. This industry has been getting rather crazy with the spending.

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FM23
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:36:28 AM
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Outrageous

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BigT_1980
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 3:34:03 AM

Truly Outrageous!!!

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Oxvial
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:51:10 AM
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I hate you Cliff now I want to know what game it's! >_<

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Kryten1029a
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 2:29:35 AM
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If an IP needs 10 million units sold to justify it's cost, then that just tells me that the budget is seriously out of whack. Nintendo made money on the games that it produced for the Gamecube (despite it's relatively anemic sales) because of careful budgeting and attention to detail during pre-production; you don't need Hollywood sized budgets to succeed. Besides, Cliffy B probably isn't the best person to listen to on the subject anyway.

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ProfPlayStation
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 4:04:21 AM
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"AAA" just means "bloated and overproduced," these days, so you know any game with that label is going to have money issues.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 4:10:43 AM
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I'd LOVE to know where that money actually goes to. That's $60,000,000 you're getting for chirst sake.

Rarely do game developers share how much a game makes, but to put it into perspective, Uncharted 2 cost $20,000,000 to develop. And that game makes extensive use of mo-cap & actors etc.

Last edited by Ludicrous_Liam on 7/10/2013 4:11:26 AM

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Nynja
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 12:40:10 PM

It's actually under $500,000,000 budget. Only game I could see with a budget that size must come from one of the big three pubs; EA, Activision, or Ubisoft. I have to think EA won't spend that kind of money without some sort of exclusivity check from an unnamed game console/software company. That leaves Activision and Ubisoft. Usually a budget that big means large game assets, likely an open world game. Being a new IP, that means it's either Destiny, The Division (unlikely), or Watch Dogs. With all the heavy marketing, multiple platforms, I'm going with Watch Dogs. Ubisoft is spreading this game across as many platforms as they can, probably in attempt to meet their 10 million copies goal.

Last edited by Nynja on 7/10/2013 12:47:24 PM

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wiley_kyotee
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:26:25 PM

10 million x $60 = $600,000,000. Not sure what the developer and producer get as a cut but even at $30 - $40, $300 - $400 mil is an outrageous amount to spend developing and promoting a game. Higher than most high profile movie budgets. Does this meean in the near future, AAA games will cost near 1 billion to make? Can the game industry survive with this kind of cost? How much higher can they raise the price of games? Will digital only or DRM have to be implemented?

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 2:38:42 PM

Urgh, did I really get that sum wrong? lol. Well then, that's a whole new level of insanity; that's half a BILLION! No game should come close to needing that much. Open world with large game assets (which are still going to be reused throughout by the way) or not. Terrible buisness management if this story is true.

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___________
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 6:50:44 AM
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got a funny feeling its the last of us.
hope not though, no matter how good the game is no way in hell is it ever selling 10M units!

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 9:22:20 AM

Highly doubt it, lol. Sony wouldn't allow it; they're a buisness after all. I don't think any exclusive to date has even sold 10 million. I think the only exclusive it could be is Polyphony - GT5 cost in the region of $80,000,000 to develop. Ofcourse, Kazunori funds most of that himself, and is such an enthusiast he doesn't care about making profit. Some impressive technology in that game though: 1080p 60fps, stupidly detailed cars and semi-real physics.

Only game that comes to mind otherwise is Tomb raider. Remember them saying they didn't get enough sales even though they were crazy high?

Last edited by Ludicrous_Liam on 7/10/2013 9:23:01 AM

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 5:21:18 PM

Wait...he's talking about new IPs...

I've had too much to drink today.

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___________
Thursday, July 11, 2013 @ 9:56:45 AM

yea cant be TR its not a new IP, plus not even squares going to expect a game to sell that much!
besides the last of us i cant think of anything else that is 1 a new IP, 2 a AAA game, 3 a game that would cost enough to require 10M units to break even.
not even watch dogs or the crew or the division or driveclub or quantum break, ect, ect would have such a high budget.
ok, maybe destiny but its not going to be out for quite a while, so to be talking about final budgets so early is silly.
whos to say it wont go over budget, hell a single delay and thats it thats out the window.
not to mention marketing fluctuations.

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Ultima
Thursday, July 11, 2013 @ 3:47:04 PM

Ludicrous_Liam:

> I don't think any exclusive to date has even sold 10 million.

You mean "any exclusive not made by Nintendo", right? Cause Nintendo has quite a good number of games on its systems (on Wii alone: Mario Kart Wii, Wii Play, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Smash Bros. Brawl, and several others) that sell 10+ million.

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bldudas1
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 7:28:08 AM
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No game should have to sell one million copies to break even.

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Nynja
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 12:34:34 PM
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If it's an Xbox One exclusive, the publisher might want to think about other platforms...otherwise they could end up being about 10 million shy of their target.

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SaiyanSempai
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:33:53 PM
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I don't see how that's possible given the time-to-triangle (on PS4) being a fraction of what it was on PS3. Sure, the textures and graphics are higher fidelity, but what PC game now-a-days sporting such graphical prowess needs 10 million copies to break even?

I'm calling BS on Cliffy B. The more he talks, the more I think he is just full of it.

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trumpetmon65
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 1:39:37 PM
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I just want a new mutant league football. I want to kill refs again

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KidPresentable
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 4:23:53 PM

Oh man, SO many awesome memories. My brother and I had wars in that and hockey.

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mk ultra
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 @ 4:24:05 PM
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I'm thinking Titanfall because Respawns a new company and it would cost alot to get started fresh. Or Watchdogs because it's on a new engine and is massive.

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TheRealBOBDOLE
Thursday, July 11, 2013 @ 9:53:39 PM
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Had to log in to comment.

Normally i simply enjoy reading others comments and such, and maybe theworldendswithme's little brother took his account and started spouting off, but those comments have got to be some of the most ignorant i've seen on this site and i'm sure you all know that that means something fierce.

Bungie made it clear when they announced the deal with activision that they knew what they were doing, and that activision was smart enough to leave them alone and let them build their game.

Bungie will not allow such transactions to exist. Anyone who believes they would even consider that type of thing in their brave new world, is woefully ignorant of who Bungie IS, and who they HAVE BEEN for the last 10 years.

I realize that this is a playstation site, and so it only makes sense that someone who frequents it as often as theworldendswithme wouldn't know Bungie or what they stand for, but its seriously and painfully ridiculous for you to make such statements without first knowing what your talking about.

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Shauneepeak
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 10:34:00 AM
Reply

I think people are overlooking a big aspect of Destiny it is a game that is going to remain active and updated for years to come if they do it right they will not need micro-transactions they simply have to make it like the original Guild Wars, both games are very similar they are both instanced quasi-MMOs. Sell the game itself for $60 then a couple of times a year release an expansion for around $20, seeing how this is on consoles they will probably make it 3-4 times a year. So even with 3 million sales if all of those people buy 3 expansion packs Bungie has doubled their original sales figure, minus the cost of creating the expansion, and if they continue releasing paid content the payoff will just continue to increase.

Destiny will almost certainly sell more than 3 million. The Last of Us, a Sony exclusive, did sell 3.4million in its first 3 weeks after all.

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Mamills
Friday, July 12, 2013 @ 2:04:04 PM
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thats just extremely poor studio management.
if they get it good for them if not, then its their own fault too bad get your resumes ready...

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