Absolutely no one could have predicted this: the games as a service (GaaS) plan of Marvel’s Avengers, where players are expected to continue to purchase microtransactions for the sole reason of playing as superheroes, as somehow fallen flat.
Promises that it was going to get ‘better’ over time as development continued, or that beta testers during the open session largely panning the title (along with critics) were ‘mistaken in both scope and play’ seemed to not bode entirely well for the title, the inclusion of superheroes in spandex apparently notwithstanding the generally scathing criticism that has been aimed directly at the title.
Square Enix – reported Yen6.5bn loss for HD Games driven by Marvel Avengers, would not say how many sold but that volumes were 60% of plan. Implies game cost over $100m to make but only sold 3m or so. Ouch
— David Gibson (@gibbogame) November 6, 2020
The reported 6.5 billion yen translates to roughly $63 million; $62,894,602.55 to be more precise. This appears to come from the Earnings Releases coming from Square Enix today that overall project a strong financial situation, as expected from Square Enix.
Square Enix H1 FY2020 (Apr-Sep) earnings are up.
Revenue: ¥172.7 billion (+43% YoY)
Operating Profit: ¥31.6 billion (+99% YoY)
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 6, 2020
This is an important distinction that studios will have a rough time wrapping their heads around, at least as far as marketing departments are considered.
The number of advertisements purchased for both live television, product and brand placements, special exclusives that were limited to various hardware pieces and consoles, and the anticipation was not enough to bring an arguably mediocre product to long-term viability based on current reports that are coming from Japanese-facing journalists and advisors.
This could also be the long-awaited turning point for fans of the industry as a whole: where merit is earned instead of offered to studios for being able to bankroll an ambitious project, or by simply having a well-known name behind the franchise (such as Square Enix).
This coincides with the general distaste of two consistent franchise-offenders, Electronic Arts with FIFA and 2K with NBA 2K21; as both titles are increasingly scrutinized for recycled assets and far more ambitious (or predatory) transactions stapled onto the base title that users are expected to willingly purchase.
Totally, I feel the voice cast did a good job, but it was a rushed game (remember the first models?) and the whole service game ruins the experience.
— Alejandro Contreras B. (@Alejo1986SC) November 6, 2020
I was about to agree with you, since I was actually expecting this game to make bank, but if stuff like 2K and CoD are still topping the charts, then it just seems more like Avengers was an anomaly.
— bleh (@bleh39570215) November 6, 2020
Precisely where this puts Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, and the title of Marvel’s Avengers at is difficult to say: it’s clear from concurrent players on Steam alone that the title was far less widely accepted than even the most modest projections from the companies: the current 24-hour peak is 964 players on an international scale.
It doesn’t seem absurd to draw comparisons to how well the title is faring on consoles from these numbers.
Crystal Dynamics has pushed out massive patches recently in an attempt to shore up the dwindling numbers, but the primary complaint seen on forums seems to focus more on the gameplay loop being stagnant and repetitive more than a focus on bugs and errors.
Companies could cut their losses and attempt to push beyond the flop; here’s hoping that consumers that bought into the marketing are supported for an appropriate time. No comment has been offered from any companies as of yet.