Journey development bankrupted studio

Creator Jenova Chen says creation of critically applauded game bankrupted ThatGameCompany.

Adventure game Journey was well received and even broke PlayStation Network sales records. However, its development bankrupted creator ThatGameCompany.

"I wouldn't say that the development of Journey was a successful example of game development," Journey creator Jenova Chen told Polygon. "We bankrupted the company."

Chen noted ThatGameCompany did make its money back from Journey--plus some--but its release as a PlayStation 3-exclusive hurt the game's overall sales.

"I think to have a financial success, that is going to change everyone, it has to be much bigger than a game on the Playstation platform," he said.

The next game from ThatGameCompany, which Chen would not talk about, is aiming to release on multiple platforms. The developer last June secured $5.5 million in venture capital funding for this game.

According to a job advertisement at ThatGameCompany, the studio is planning a "full-scale online service" for its next game that will accommodate hundreds of thousands of users.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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324 comments
arcangelgold
arcangelgold

I'm getting really tired of reading stories about companies that male millions of profit going "bankrupt". Especially when it's clear they have money and can afford to continue. 

xtrazyx
xtrazyx

You have what you deserve making a PS3 exclusive. And you knew it since the beginning.

franzito
franzito

Sad but what to expect of the Captalism? Life is expensive, gaming is expensive, one day even breathing is gonna cost us...

nisgos
nisgos

This is sony's mistake , they should buy the company and keep them as in house devs , journey is fantastic

John_Read
John_Read

in other words Sony ate all the profits :P

cephas90
cephas90

Im interested, just not interested in buying a ps3.

sugarboy79
sugarboy79

Dear TGC, port it to PC and I will buy your game.

Morphic
Morphic

Its too bad. They made unforgettable game.

Phrykshun
Phrykshun

Would've liked to check it out, but I'm not buying a PS3 for anything.


Rattlesnake_8
Rattlesnake_8

It won numerous GOTY awards.. if the game was that great they should have been able to get the return on it.

amvivin
amvivin

Serves you right. You should'nt have sold your soul to sony. Rather than making it console exclusive if you had released it with PC. The sales would have risen much above expectations. Besides with all the awards, its gaining massive publicity. Sad that only those who own a PS3 can experience such a fine game. 

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

They should port the game to PC and sell it on Steam, that looks like a game I'll gladly pay $5 to $10 to play.

DeadlyMustard
DeadlyMustard

This industry is really starting to shit on the little guys.

Anamon
Anamon

Yeah, platform exclusivity is a bit a thing of the '00s. It was very rare before the mid-90s, apart from first-party games, and I think it will become a rarity again. Cross-platform development has become so much simpler that it's really not worth ignoring such large parts of your potential market, unless you're paid off for the exclusivity by the platform manufacturer.

Hurvl
Hurvl

That's what you get for thinking outside the box! Now sell your soul and die a little inside, so that can actually make something that's profitable. 

Ranting aside, this is just another example of the difficulty of making an innovative, emotional and, above all, different game that still sells well enough to let you make another game. Not that I think that any non-indie company would make something like Journey, but this is just another reason for them not to do so. There are others, though, who are willing to do what ThatGameCompany did in terms of ambitions.

maddog123
maddog123

so their bankrupt but not out of business? chapter 11 restructuring maybe? who knows, as long as they are still around, I will continue to buy their games, as I currently own all of them.

onionking108
onionking108

"Journey development bankrupted studio" says headline.  Article says "ThatGameCompany did make its money back from Journey--and then some..."

What?

ibonedyourmom
ibonedyourmom

They made a profit but bankrupted the company? How does that work exactly?

brothersinarmsb
brothersinarmsb

\Lol. I remember when they said "only ps3 gamers enjoy art games." I guess that enjoyment had really paid off. Am i right !?!?

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

I remember a time where games were made by a hand of people from A to Z includind the graphic engine... Credits at the end would last 30 second!. The golden age of gaming. Creativity and quality were at their peaks, no need for marketing when you have that!

There's just too many people over the developpers that want to makes money with gaming... 15-20 minutes credits at the end of a game says it all.

da_nibbler
da_nibbler

bankrupted the company yet they made all the money back and then some????? *confused*

SamuraiSeven
SamuraiSeven

It seems, based on all the reports I read on game company financials, making video games requires a large team of highly paid individuals with very specific skill sets.  It seems most company's lose money unless it is a AAA title.  Then after it becomes a AAA title, the company's expand and eventually lose money after they "get too big for their breeches."  Making games appears to be a gamble.  This is eveidence by the countless companies downsizing and closing down studios. 

DAP2010
DAP2010

all i have to say is, im sad that as an xbox user i wont be able to play this game. im a student so i my laptop isnt powerful enough to play games anyway

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Admittedly as a die hard Sony gamer even I wouldn't mind seeing Journey available on other platforms, the company deserves all the sales it can get.

The only thing that bothers me slightly is that their next project will supposedly be aimed at tablet and smartphone users.. Yes it's reaching a mass audience, but it upsets me to think developers are just 'selling out'.

I'll stay committed to consoles for the time being..  Little fiddly touch screen controls on a small screen do sweet f all to grab my interest.  I'd much rather be sitting in a gaming chair, holding a controller and enjoying surround sound and a massive screen.

AlexFili
AlexFili

It'll be interesting to see if Proteus on Steam will do well. Sadly it's becoming part of the games and film industry that you have to go bankrupt while producing the next big thing, or at least have a few months where you sacrifice money for innovation.

GSGuy321
GSGuy321

I am a PS3 owner and I skipped this title. Last few years, I have been on a PC/Steam kick -  It's just to damn convenient and affordable. As soon as I HDMI'd my PC to the TV, it has been lights out for the consoles. My PS3 is a dust collector. Had it been available on Steam at a reasonable price, I would have picked it up, based on the rave reviews.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

Port it to 360, PC and Wii U and make even more money

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I guess I don't understand why console publishers use exclusivity deals to cut out the PC market -- it's much less of a direct competitor then rival consoles. I can understand why Sony would be interested in cutting out Microsoft and Nintendo, or vice versa, but it seems less reasonable to cut out PC owners to me. Maybe that doesn't make much sense, but oh well. Seems to me like they have everything to gain by allowing the PC to have a port as well as their own console.

Exclusivity is bad no matter how you slice it, but it makes even less sense to me to exclude the PC then rival consoles.

anon8783
anon8783

good news they make shit games anyway

Alucard1475
Alucard1475

How hard is it to copy and paste the game to Steam so I can buy and play it? 

tightwad34
tightwad34

Really? Damn, I wouldn't think it costed a shitload to make this game. If it's so popular they easily could have charged more for it even if it was a 2-3 hour game.

RustedTruck650
RustedTruck650

Well, that's what happens when kids nowadays don't get educated enough. The result is just a plain brain complexity that strives for casual and low intelligence requirement games like CoD. They won't spend their money or theyr mothers money on great games like Journey. Sighs. Humanity!

snake3rules
snake3rules

I just had to add my two cents here… This guy should be ashamed of himself, and if I worked in the industry I certainly wouldn't want his next game on my platform… The unbelievable promotion this game received from PlayStation and Sony is absurd, it had every advantage, and even broke sales records... But that's not enough to keep your doors open?!? More like this dbag doesn't know how to manage a company, finances, or create a compelling game... I sorry but as the guy below said, this is niche, and frankly, it's a crappy niche, because trying to describe this game basically NEVER makes it sound like a must buy ... So learn to create games with concepts and hooks people want, learn to manage finances, and stop blaming dad cause you broke your own toy... I don't see naughty dog, sce, or many other developers failing due to exclusivity with Sony, so why do you have to, and with Sony backing you to a crazy degree... Because YOU, your ideas, and/or your methods are the problem... Not Sony or it's install base.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

Funny. Couple months back I asked them a question on Twitter and they said they had made enough money to now release games for multi-platform... Wonder how are they bankrupt now...

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Install base is pointless if your game fits into "Niche" category. I did try to convince some of my PS3 friends to try it so I could look at it.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The Playstation 3 has about a 70 million install base. With that amount of Consoles out there. Journey is not a huge game, but it barely made it's money back on a 70 million install base.

Port Journey to Xbox 360, Wii U, PC and PSvita. I thought that journey was a successful high rated game. But if 70 million PS3 cannot support a game like journey then something is wrong.

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

Jenova Chen, you've proven that thatgamecompany can make beautifully crafted games and hell, if that robs you, take my money now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would donate to them if this was a big issue. 

Sony's marketing could use a little help, though...

steelmouth
steelmouth

Like i always say to developers come to the 360 thats where the money is

DeusAlex
DeusAlex

I'd definitely buy this game, but I only got a 360. Damb exclusives.

ItsEvolution
ItsEvolution

Enjoying reading all these comments from people who clearly lack reading skills. They spent all their money making the game, BUT MADE IT ALL BACK IN SALES.

InnerSenses
InnerSenses

To those to who say that thatgamecompany should have made Journey multi-platform: they had a three-game exclusive deal with Sony so they had no choice but to release it on PS3 only. Journey was their 3rd game, so naturally they will want their next game to be multi-platform.

Boat3600
Boat3600

I don't get how you make a profit but get bankrupt. Maybe I'm missing something.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I honestly believe that Journey wouldn't have done that well on the 360.

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

long development time could be the reason they put more investment than it should to make Journey. ThatGameCompany have a pretty awesome line up and Journey sure is one of the best game in 2012, i hope with the plan on releasing their next game on every platform, the company could gain more profits.