In the wake of news that Visceral Games is to close, one of its former staff members has been talking about the financial failure of Dead Space 2.
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According to Zach Wilson, who worked at Visceral during the production of Dead Space 2 and Battlefield Hardline, the former game’s budget was $60 million. To put that in perspective, Mass Effect 2, which came out a few weeks before Dead Space 2 in January 2011, is rumoured to have cost around $40 million to make. But while Mass Effect 2 sold 7 million copies in three months, Dead Space only managed 4 million copies.
Wilson goes on to say that that figure simply “wasn’t enough.” By the time studios have factored in the cost of marketing, cuts taken by console manufacturers and retailers, and the fact that discounts will have driven up sales, developers are lucky to see half the cost of their game returned.
Dead Space 2 cost 60 Million dollars to make and they were merciless with their budget. they only sold 4 mil and that wasn't enough
— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
Wilson goes on to say that’s a big part of why marketplaces like Origin and Uplay have been developed – while Steam takes a 30% cut, digital copies through a publisher’s own platform allow them to keep 90% of the profits.