Square Enix recently published the company’s financial results for Q3 FY2019, detailing the commercial performance of their games during that time. Among the many sales results was a Q&A which shed some insight on said results, most notably the performance of titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Just Cause 4. The two reviewed well, but did not perform as well as Square Enix had hoped, commercially.
The Q&A specifically had questions about the sales of the two games:
Q: Do the sales thus far of “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” and “Just Cause 4” change your outlook for additional sales in FY2020/3? If so, does that impact your medium-term target for operating income of ¥40-50 billion in FY2020/3?
A: While “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” got off to a weak start, we had shipped a total of 4.12 million units as of the end of 3Q, and we look for sales to grow further in FY2020/3. Initial sales of “Just Cause 4” were below our expectations, but we intend to grow sales in FY2020/3 by offering updates and through other initiatives. As such, any adverse impact on the achievement of our medium-term target should be limited.
Furthermore, Square Enix was asked about why the two might have gotten off to a slow start:
Q: Why did “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” and “Just Cause 4” get off to a weak start? If initial sales volumes are lower than they traditionally have been, but digital sales are extending the lifetimes of games, don’t you need to change
the timing of your advertising efforts?
A: We think the main reason is that we were unable to provide an experience that was novel enough that players would choose to buy them before any of the other numerous major titles on the competitive landscape. Also, while it is true
that we are seeing a shift away from sales of boxes to digital downloads, with this many titles competing with one another, initial sales are definitely an important element in increasing user awareness. For that reason, we do need to engage in a certain amount of advertising just ahead of a new title’s launch.
Hopefully, the under-performance of those two games does not mean we’ve seen the last of the series. They both have tremendous fanbases, but perhaps have been victims of crowded release windows. In the future, Square Enix may be able to experiment with price and timing to maximize the performance of games like these.
Does this news surprise you? Did you play Shadow of the Tomb Raider or Just Cause 4? Let us know!