You know there’s something not quite right with an industry when a product can sell (not just ship, mind you) 1.5 million individual copies across 6 major platforms and it’s performance is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’…
Unfortunately, such a fate has befallen the latest Tomb Raider game, Underworld.
Despite receiving above average reviews (in spite of some bugs, camera & control issues, poor combat, inconsistent story-telling & a short length) the game simply hasn’t sold as well as EIDOS believes it should have.
Thankfully, they haven’t blamed the PC crowd and their piracy habits, instead choosing to focus on the economy as the cause. Of course, blame must be shifted and it’s the retailers getting it, as EIDOS reckon heavy discounting designed to boost consumer spending has resulted in many a game being sold for less than SRP.
“On a global basis our sell through to 31 December, which we estimate at approximately 1.5 million units, is below our internal forecasts, primarily due to a lower start in North America,” said the company.
“In a difficult North American economy we have seen retailers restricting inventory levels and triple-A products being price discounted above our expectation.”
Granted, had CNS been given a properly working review copy of the game, we might have been able to push the review score up a bit (ignoring the fact we aren’t counted in the Metacritic scores, but don’t tell them that!)
Unfortunately, bad news always comes in (at least) pairs, with rumours surfacing over at Kotaku that 30 members of staff were let go ‘across the board’. There has been no official word from CD or EIDOS to confirm this.
It’s now official. Joystiq is reporting that EIDOS have cut 30 jobs at Crystal Dynamics as part of a move to improve the focus on Tomb Raider (as strange as that sounds). Blues News is also carrying a link to Times Online which mentions that EIDOS are planning to improve sales by making Tomb Raider more female-friendly (presumably because all the really big money is in the DS & Wii these days).
Cue Tomb Raider Crossing, Tomb Raider Fit & Lara Croft has Babyz (although the latter might not really work in the family-friendly Wii market). We called it!