1 million sales benchmark "preposterous"

An industry "misnomer" Conduit 2 dev says.

If a game sells one million copies it is considered by many to have been successful – but that's rubbish, according to one developer.

"That's a misnomer in our industry," High Voltage chief creative officer Eric Nofsinger told Eurogamer.

"By and large people look at it and they say, if it's not a million unit seller it's a flop. That's preposterous."

High Voltage is hard at work putting the finishing touches to the SEGA published Wii-exclusive shooter Conduit 2.

The game, the development of which is entirely funded by High Voltage, is the sequel to The Conduit – a game considered by many to have flopped and unlikely to have spawned a follow-up.

Far from it, according to Nofsinger.

"If I make this bottle of Coke, and let's say there's 10 pence of materials here – coloured water, sugar and a glass bottle – if I sell this for a pound, I've just made money.

"Whatever the product is, if it costs you less to make than you end up making off the thing, you make profit. As long as the profit margin is strong enough, then you get enough of a return and you can make another."

2010 saw a number of high-profile, high quality games fail to reach the million sales mark.

Ninja Theory's Enslaved and Platinum Games' Vanquish both failed sell a million copies – leading many to predict neither will see sequels.

But for Nofsinger, that is not necessarily the case.

"The biggest misconception of consumers of the industry is that million-unit benchmark," he said.

"When you really look at the number of games a year that sell over a million units, it's almost none of them. If that really were the minimum bar for a success, the game industry would be gone in under a year.

"There are thousands of games released that don't sell a million units. There are like 10 games a year that sell over a million units. But if you can sell a few hundred thousand copies – 300, 400 thousand copies, which is in the range that we did – we made money off that. We did well. Although it was a considerable budget for a Wii title, it was not the kind of budget a Gears of War had.

"If we'd spent the Gears of War money, then we probably wouldn't be having this discussion now. We'd be back working on something else."

Looking ahead, Nofsinger said High Voltage expects Conduit 2 to sell more copies than its predecessor – and make the developer more money.

"We'd always like to make money. Everyone would. But if we sold the exact same number of units as we sold with Conduit 1, we'd be high-fiving each other. But I think we'll do better."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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