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Arsene Lupin

Was Pillars of Eternity a success, a failure, or a flop?

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I've seen Pillars of Eternity described as not selling well. Or its sales being... well below expectations.

 

So, I'm curious: does Obsidian consider the game to be a success (sales as good or better than they expected), a failure (sales well below what they expected), or a flop (successful, but sales still below expectations).

 

Of course, I realize the odds of Obsidian directly giving an (honest) answer are pretty low. So let's speculate!

 

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Naturally, sales information isn't exactly easy to come by. But we do have SteamSpy, and while it's not exactly exhaustive (as it ignores other storefronts, most notably GOG.com), it does paint an... interesting picture. For example, examining other CRPGs ownership statistics on SteamSpy indicates the following (please note the games below are listed in descending order):

 

Divinity: Original Sin: 850,000 owners. (~80,000 Kickstarter backers).

Shadowrun Returns: 830,000 owners. (~36,000 Kickstarter backers).

Transistor: 670,000 owners.

Fallout 2: 520,000 owners.

Fallout: 500,000 owners.

Wasteland 2: 450,000 owners. (~61,000 Kickstarter backers).

Shadowrun Dragonfall: 440,000 owners

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition: 440,000 owners.

The Banner Saga: 440,000 owners. (~20,000 Kickstarter backers).

Pillars of Eternity: 415,000 owners. (~73,000 Kickstarter backers).

Wasteland: 410,000 owners.

Blackguards: 315,000 owners.

Beyond Divinity: 310,000 owners.

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition: 270,000 owners. (This number is a huge WTF for me).

Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition: 55,000 owners.

 

(Note that I'm only comparing Western CRPGs as I believe they are the only titles really relevant here; included are relevant games from the top 300 most-owned RPGs in the "RPG" category on Steam).

 

What's most notable (to me) is that Pillars of Eternity appears to have sold the LEAST out of all the other big Kickstarter CRPGs. Of course, one thing to consider (in addition to what has already been mentioned) is that PoE is also the NEWEST of these games, so it's very possible it will reach more comparable sales after a year or so.

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Time will tell. If we get more content investors think they will return a profit. I really hope we will get a full-fledged expansion one day.

 

I don't think pillars needs to be at the top of the kickstarter owners list to be considered successful. We do not know the development cost (at least i don't) for pillars compared to Divinity or Shadowrun.

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It's not just the newest, it's the newest by a lot.  Comparing 3 months of sales for Pillars with a year of sales for Divnity or almost 2 years of Shadowrun isn't too useful, especially with Shadowrun selling for $2.99 these days.  Given the difference in prices, my guess is it's already passed Shadowrun in revenue.

 

I don't know what Obsidian's projections were, but given price point they've likely made a good profit already.  Wasteland 2 was considered fairly successful I think and it's come close to matching it's sales already.

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Where did you see PoE described as not selling well? Got a link?

Yes, I would like to know this too as the only reports I can find say it was successful and Paradox appears to be happy.    PoE is a PC game which limits sales.  Not everyone plays on Steam and I have seen no reports of how it has done on GOG or Origin.  The game has only been released less than three months.   They have had a successful Kickstarter for the Tabletop game and must feel there is a market for that type of game.  It is not a multiplayer game or even coop so that would limit sales.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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I also never saw PoE described as not selling well.

 

Ever since release, the Hero (basic) and Royal (deluxe) editions have been steadily placed in GoG's top 10 except for brief 1-day intervals during sales (and even during the summer sales, with several titles heavily discounted, PoE is still n. 4 and 5 even when not on sale.)

 

For a low-budget, PC-only game belonging to a genre long considered dead and obsolete, I would say 400,000 copies in three months is nothing to be ashamed of. Most other games in your list have been out for much longer and have gone through several sales, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

 

For the sake of argument, let's pretend Origin sales don't exist and all GoG copies are backer-redeemed copies (which is a gross over-semplification.) Let us also assume that all 415,000 copies sold on Steam are $45 as all proceedings from higher tiers (Champion and Royal) go toward paying Paradox's, Origin's, and GoG's cuts.

 

415,000 * $45 = $18,675,000

 

Removing Steam's cut of 30%, that's $13,072,000.

 

So, over $10 million in net profit in three months.

 

IIRC, Faergus once said in an interview that the cost of running the company for a month (the whole company, not just PoE's team; this includes all expenses) is about $1 million. So three months of PoE can sustain the whole company for roughly 10 more months. Not too shabby?

 

Of course the calculation is over-simplified, but there you have it. I wouldn't call it an unsuccessful game by any stretch.

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

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Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition: 270,000 owners. (This number is a huge WTF for me).

Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition: 55,000 owners.

 

 

Most people bought those directly from Beamdog.

Edited by Fardragon

Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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Well, Witcher 3 has 600k owners on steam and that's not even half of pc sales, so who knows.

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Well, Witcher 3 has 600k owners on steam and that's not even half of pc sales, so who knows.

 

I'm not sure that's a fair comparison.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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The other thing to consider is Steam often packages earlier games, or duplicate copies, together. For example, I "own" a copy of Wasteland because I bought Wasteland2, but I have never downloaded or played it. The collectors edition of Divine Divinity, as well as including the DLC, includes TWO copies of the game, and both earlier games. That's going to seriously screw figures for number of copies owned.


Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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I'd never really thought of PoE as selling poorly, either. Like I said, it topped the charts at GOG for a long-while. But one thing to keep in mind is that even though GOG is one of Steam's biggest competitors, I really doubt it moves the same volume of games. I dunno.

 

Anyway, yeah, I've seen a few people comment on poor sales/underselling on various forums/comment threads, but never really thought anything of it. What spurred the creation of this thread was a comment to the same effect in the latest Extra Credits' "James' Recommends" video.

 

Most people bought those directly from Beamdog.

BGEE was released via Beamdog's site/client ahead of other retailers, so many people bought BGEE directly from Beamdog's store instead of waiting for the GOG/Steam release... but that wasn't the case for any of the subsequent games. No matter how you look at it, the ownership stats for BG2EE and IWDEE are abysmally low.

 

 

The other thing to consider is Steam often packages earlier games, or duplicate copies, together. For example, I "own" a copy of Wasteland because I bought Wasteland2, but I have never downloaded or played it. The collectors edition of Divine Divinity, as well as including the DLC, includes TWO copies of the game, and both earlier games. That's going to seriously screw figures for number of copies owned.

 

True, but that's not the case for many of the games. None of the Kickstarter CRPGs, for example, have ever been bundled with anything. (Though you do have to assume that every KS backer got a game for free, and subtract them from the ownership stats)

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GOG ownership numbers may be bigger than you'd expect. I don't remember many other new games recently that were marketed so visibly there. For example, I didn't even remember Divinity OS and Shadowrun are sold there at all, which is why I have a Steam copy of those games but a GOG one of PoE.

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Around a half a million copies is pretty nice.  Divinity had that many copies after 2 and a half months (plus early access).

 

By the way Arsene, you should check out this portion of the site.

 

http://steamspy.com/sale 

 

When games get cheaper, they move a lot of copies.  Cheak out the numbers for games like Talos Principle, Metro: Last Light Redux, Shadownrun, and Cook, Serve, Delicious for the steam sale.  These games sold a lot of copies during the steam sale because they were VERY cheap.  It makes me wonders how many copies games like Divinity Original Sin or PoE will sale once they're less than 10 dollars.

Edited by bonarbill

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James merely says it didn't do as well in sales as he anticipated.   That tells us nothing about the the sales.  Whether the game had successful sales or not depends on what you think.  If you think that the game should have sold 1 million copies in the first three months of launch then the game is not successful.


 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Also, Pillars is liable to be in a humble bundle sooner or later.  I believe Shadowrun and Transistor were in humble bundles.  But yes, D:OS did sell quite well.

Edited by anameforobsidian

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Naturally, sales information isn't exactly easy to come by. But we do have SteamSpy, and while it's not exactly exhaustive (as it ignores other storefronts, most notably GOG.com), it does paint an... interesting picture. For example, examining other CRPGs ownership statistics on SteamSpy indicates the following (please note the games below are listed in descending order):

 

Divinity: Original Sin: 850,000 owners. (~80,000 Kickstarter backers).

Hmmm...that's interesting as at the beginning of D:OS the number of Kickstarter Backers is presented in big, bold, lettering...21,040, is the number Larian states in the game itself...

 

You also don't seem to be aware that Obsidian puts the number of Kickstarter backers for PoE @ 77,000 +...again, in the game itself...

 

...Which leads me to believe you have neither game else you would surely know these things... ;)

 

Hint: in the future it might be wise to consider "Steamspy" a questionable source at best...


It's very well known that I don't make mistakes, so if you should stumble across the odd error here and there in what I have written, you may immediately deduce--quite correctly--that I did not write it... :biggrin:

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Naturally, sales information isn't exactly easy to come by. But we do have SteamSpy, and while it's not exactly exhaustive (as it ignores other storefronts, most notably GOG.com), it does paint an... interesting picture. For example, examining other CRPGs ownership statistics on SteamSpy indicates the following (please note the games below are listed in descending order):

 

Divinity: Original Sin: 850,000 owners. (~80,000 Kickstarter backers).

Hmmm...that's interesting as at the beginning of D:OS the number of Kickstarter Backers is presented in big, bold, lettering...21,040, is the number Larian states in the game itself...

 

You also don't seem to be aware that Obsidian puts the number of Kickstarter backers for PoE @ 77,000 +...again, in the game itself...

 

...Which leads me to believe you have neither game else you would surely know these things... ;)

 

Hint: in the future it might be wise to consider "Steamspy" a questionable source at best...

 

 

While steamspy isn't 100% accurate, it is a close approximation.  As a game developer, I can confirm that the numbers on steamspy for our game is very close to the numbers that were sold on steam.

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BGEE was released via Beamdog's site/client ahead of other retailers, so many people bought BGEE directly from Beamdog's store instead of waiting for the GOG/Steam release... but that wasn't the case for any of the subsequent games. No matter how you look at it, the ownership stats for BG2EE and IWDEE are abysmally low.

 

It is not like they released a new game, however. It's just modernizing it a bit, the amount of work is incomparable to creating a game like BG2 from a scratch. I'm sure both BG2EE and IWDEE were profitable compared to the amount of work they needed.

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Naturally, sales information isn't exactly easy to come by. But we do have SteamSpy, and while it's not exactly exhaustive (as it ignores other storefronts, most notably GOG.com), it does paint an... interesting picture. For example, examining other CRPGs ownership statistics on SteamSpy indicates the following (please note the games below are listed in descending order):

 

Divinity: Original Sin: 850,000 owners. (~80,000 Kickstarter backers).

Hmmm...that's interesting as at the beginning of D:OS the number of Kickstarter Backers is presented in big, bold, lettering...21,040, is the number Larian states in the game itself...

 

You also don't seem to be aware that Obsidian puts the number of Kickstarter backers for PoE @ 77,000 +...again, in the game itself...

 

...Which leads me to believe you have neither game else you would surely know these things... ;)

 

Hint: in the future it might be wise to consider "Steamspy" a questionable source at best...

 

 

While steamspy isn't 100% accurate, it is a close approximation.  As a game developer, I can confirm that the numbers on steamspy for our game is very close to the numbers that were sold on steam.

 

 

Well, are you saying that he didn't get his "kickstarter backer" numbers from Steamspy after all, then?  I mean they are obviously wrong as the numbers presented by the game devs themselves in the actual games are, of course, unimpeachable. 


It's very well known that I don't make mistakes, so if you should stumble across the odd error here and there in what I have written, you may immediately deduce--quite correctly--that I did not write it... :biggrin:

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Steamspy has nothing to do with the number of Kickstarter backers. It just measures the number of players and tries to estimate the number of copies owned from that.

 

Regarding the sales figures in general: it's a combination of the game being new and not having been on sale for most of its time. It only went on sale in the past couple of weeks and before that, the minimum price was $45 which is substantial for a non-AAA game. With the sale, you can see that the number of copies sold increased much faster than before even though the $30 sale prices is still quite high.

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BGEE was released via Beamdog's site/client ahead of other retailers, so many people bought BGEE directly from Beamdog's store instead of waiting for the GOG/Steam release... but that wasn't the case for any of the subsequent games. No matter how you look at it, the ownership stats for BG2EE and IWDEE are abysmally low.

 

It is not like they released a new game, however. It's just modernizing it a bit, the amount of work is incomparable to creating a game like BG2 from a scratch. I'm sure both BG2EE and IWDEE were profitable compared to the amount of work they needed.

 

Considering that they had to rewrite the engine from scratch (and a good chunk of the original code (like the Icewind Dale Expansion scripting) was lost and had to be redone), there's probably a lot more work put into it than you might think. Not as much as PoE or the other games on this list, but still. I did heard that Beamdog considered them a success (especially taking the mobile sales into account).

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I've heard it did successfully enough that the devs are making expansions and plan to make books, board games, sequels, and in all other ways franchise it. So, yeah. Making more like it counts as a success in my book.

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BGEE was released via Beamdog's site/client ahead of other retailers, so many people bought BGEE directly from Beamdog's store instead of waiting for the GOG/Steam release... but that wasn't the case for any of the subsequent games. No matter how you look at it, the ownership stats for BG2EE and IWDEE are abysmally low.

 

It is not like they released a new game, however. It's just modernizing it a bit, the amount of work is incomparable to creating a game like BG2 from a scratch. I'm sure both BG2EE and IWDEE were profitable compared to the amount of work they needed.

 

Considering that they had to rewrite the engine from scratch (and a good chunk of the original code (like the Icewind Dale Expansion scripting) was lost and had to be redone), there's probably a lot more work put into it than you might think. Not as much as PoE or the other games on this list, but still. I did heard that Beamdog considered them a success (especially taking the mobile sales into account).

 

It's not so much that BG2EE and IWDEE didn't sell well, but that they sold so badly compared to BGEE. I can only assume a lot of people were permanently turned off Beamdog's games after BGEE launched as a buggy mess, and never bothered to give the others a try.

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Well Beamdog is working on a new project related to BG series so I would assume they did well enough.

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BGEE was released via Beamdog's site/client ahead of other retailers, so many people bought BGEE directly from Beamdog's store instead of waiting for the GOG/Steam release... but that wasn't the case for any of the subsequent games. No matter how you look at it, the ownership stats for BG2EE and IWDEE are abysmally low.

 

It is not like they released a new game, however. It's just modernizing it a bit, the amount of work is incomparable to creating a game like BG2 from a scratch. I'm sure both BG2EE and IWDEE were profitable compared to the amount of work they needed.

Considering that they had to rewrite the engine from scratch (and a good chunk of the original code (like the Icewind Dale Expansion scripting) was lost and had to be redone), there's probably a lot more work put into it than you might think. Not as much as PoE or the other games on this list, but still. I did heard that Beamdog considered them a success (especially taking the mobile sales into account).

Indeed as you say they consider the EE games a success, and that they felt they did quite well in the tablet/mobile area (which sales steam doesn't take account of, besides PC versions sold directly from Beamdog or GOG etc).

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