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Eidos Admits Disappointing  Tomb Raider  Sales As Share Price Falls
Eidos Admits Disappointing Tomb Raider Sales As Share Price Falls
January 9, 2009 | By David Jenkins

January 9, 2009 | By David Jenkins
More: Console/PC

Lower-than-expected sales of Tomb Raider: Underworld prompted Eidos to lower its fiscal forecast for the year.

Although it received generally positive critical acclaim, the latest Tomb Raider title may have suffered among one of the most crowded Christmas schedules in recent years.

Nevertheless, Eidos says it's "pleased" with the game's performance in key European territories, where it charted in the top 10 for a total of six weeks.

However, the game did not perform as well in North America, and global sell-through is currently estimated at only 1.5 million units -- below Eidos’ internal estimates. The company blamed the economic downturn in North America for the underperformance, conditions that prompted retailers to restrain inventory levels and offer unexpectedly high discounts.

As a result, Eidos company lowered its full fiscal year revenue predictions from £180 -£200 million ($273-$303 million) down to £160 to £180 million($243-$273 million).

The company says it's passed its "peak net debt position", but may need to negotiate for further lending facilities later in the year. Much now depends on the success of the forthcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum.

The news had a predictable effect on the company’s share price, which fell by as much as 25 percent in early morning trading. The price on the London Stock Exchange has recovered slightly, but is still down from £17.25 ($26) a share on Thursday to a current value of £12.75 ($19).

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Lo Pan
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As someone who has worked on a Tomb Raider title in the past. It pains me to see this. I was hoping they would learn from Uncharted's design, fix the legacy issues, and add new elements.

Frustrating since they had so much time to 'get it right'. With so much riding on Lara, to fall this short is perplexing. This may be Lara's death knell...

Ian Fisch
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Ok assuming the title sold for an average of $50 worldwide, that's $75 million revenue. If the publisher only sees 40% of this as a return with the other 60% going to the console manufacturer, retailer and taxes, (an educated guess) they still got a $30 return. Take away $5 per game for replication, packaging and distribution (which I would guess is a high estimate) and you're still left with $22.5 million. If the game cost $10 million to develop, you're still left with $12.5 million for marketing. That seems like a large marketing budget for a game I wasn't even very aware of.

I don't understand how this game wasn't profitable. Nevertheless I have some suggestions.

1.) Change the naming scheme. This was called Tomb Raider: Underworld. I think the last one was called Tomb Raider: Legends or something. The one before that was called Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. If a month ago you shuffled those around and asked me to put them in chronological order I probably couldn't have. This is important because I remember seeing links to articles on Tomb Raider: Underworld and thinking "didn't this game already come out? Is this a walkthrough or something?" Instead of the lame subtitles just stick with a simple number system. It hasn't hurt Call of Duty or Final Fantasy.

2. Don't release during christmas. This one's obvious and has been said before so I won't dwell on it.

3. Build up some hype with a gimmick. Mirror's Edge got tons of free press for being in 1st person. Prince of Persia got tons of free press for a new art style. I'm not suggesting you go either of these routs per say. Here's a wacky idea to get some press: For the next Tomb Raider game base the Lara 3d model off of a real model and use some cool-sounding technology to digitally scan her in and make the 3d model. Then have that real person model do a press tour with the game's creative director. Or give Lara a chainsaw gun. I'm sure you can think of something.

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Seth Spaulding
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@ Ian

I don't know how much the game cost to make - and you may have an inside track on that. But doing some quick math: Assume a 60 person team, working for 24 months, at $11,000/man month and you get a dev salary budget around $15.8M. While that's still below the net rev - it is getting scarier.