Square Enix: 'Huge slump' in NA sales hurt Tomb Raider, Hitman, Sleeping Dogs

Publisher explains why, despite an increased effort on polish and quality, big-budget games fell short of expectation.

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A "huge slump" in North American sales is to blame for big-budget Square Enix games Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs coming up short, the publisher has explained.

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In company documents posted this week, Square Enix said that though the games received generally favorable marks from critics, sales--at the level the company hoped for--did not follow.

"However, we were very disappointed to see that the high scores did not translate to actual sales performance," Square Enix said.

As previously announced, Tomb Raider (3.4 million), Hitman: Absolution (3.6 million), and Sleeping Dogs (1.75 million) failed to meet Square Enix sales expectations.

Square Enix this week put the shortcomings in context. Based on content, genre, and scores, the company said Tomb Raider was expected to move 5-6 million units, while Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution should have sold 2-2.5 million and 4-5.5 million units each, respectively.

"The European market was generally soft," Square Enix explained. "However, what affected us most was the huge slump in North American sales. Not only were sales sluggish, but we were also hit by additional costs in dealing with distribution channels, such as price protection and rebates, which placed huge pressure on our profit and loss."

Square Enix expects to see an "extraordinary loss" for the year ended March 31. The company is looking to new president Yosuke Matsuda--who replaces longtime executive Yoichi Wada--to turn the company around in the time ahead. He has promised a comprehensive review of the company.

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