Tomb Raider needs to sell at least 5m to be a success, says analyst

Analyst says that Square Enix's focus on single-player IP could be problematic for the long-term prospects of the publisher.

Independent games industry analyst Billy Pidgeon, who has previously worked at Inside Network, M2 Research and IDC, has said that Square Enix's recently launched Tomb Raider reboot will need to sell at least five million copies to be successful.

Yesterday Square Enix revealed that Tomb Raider had sold 3.4 million copies since its launch at the start of the month, but this was not enough for it to meet sales expectations.

Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Pidgeon added that Square Enix's focus on single-player IP is becoming problematic for the publisher. "The AAA market is extremely competitive," he said. "Most of Square Enix's franchises are single player games, which are less popular than multiplayer. Square Enix has been a leader in that sector, but now faces stronger competition from multiple publishers, both large and small, including Bethesda, Capcom, Xseed, Atlus and Level 5.

"Square Enix's franchises are well established and require ever-higher production budgets to match and surpass past performance. The latest Hitman and Tomb Raider sold in the three million unit range and got Metacritic ratings above 8. Those numbers would rate as successful for JRPGs that earn more from vendors as exclusives and have manageable budgets."

"But for games with development budgets approaching $100 million to be truly profitable, ratings have to be above 8.5 and sales need to be in the five to ten million unit range."

Tomb Raider was awarded an 8.5 in its GameSpot review.

Pidgeon also said that the next year will be "very tough" for Square Enix, but that the departure of outgoing president Yoichi Wada will be positive for the company.

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