Or: AAA game companies have officially become batshit crazy. It's now well known Square Enix is disappointed with games that sell 3.5 million in 4 weeks, but we didn't know just how disappointed. As it turns out, EXTREMELY disappointed.
Squenix has revealed in a financial statement
that they expected Sleeping Dogs to sell at least 2-2.25 million (hey, at least they weren't aiming for 5 million with a brand new IP), Hitman 4.5-5 million and Tomb Raider at least 5-6 million.
BUT! Since Square Enix has very reasonable goals, those were conservative estimates. In order to "hedge their bets", they weren't aiming for the full sales potential of those titles. No sir, the numbers above are just 80-90% of what they REALLY thought the games would sell.
Most amusingly, they share this lovely quote with us: "we put a considerable amount of effort in polishing and perfecting the game content for these titles, receiving extremely high Metacritic scores"
"However, we were very disappointed to see that the high scores did not translate to actual sales performance, which is where we see the substantial variance in operation profit/loss against the forecast."
In other words they put a lot of effort in making good games (and by most accounts they were all very good games), but they feel that 3.4 million copies in 4 weeks is not "actual sales performance"!
Even more puzzling than those ridiculous targets is the question of where Square could have possibly gotten them from. The last Tomb Raider game, 2008's Underworld, has reported lifetime sales of 2.5 million, while 2006's Hitman: Blood Money moved 2.1 million. They succeeded handsomely in significantly growing those franchises, yet they somehow expected them to sell, in a few weeks, twice or thrice as much as their predecessors ever did.
Which leaves me with just one question: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?