When a doofus says a developer needs to sell X number of games on the Wii to be profitable, I all laugh accordingly. However, when Reggie says developers need to sell 1 million copies, on the record, in an interview with the New York Times, I first scratch my head and pray that this is not accurate, for it has dire implications for the entire video game community.
Today, in a follow up to those NYT comments, Fils-Aime “clarified” his remarks during an interview with Wired. “The fact is, there’s no single magic number that defines profitability for a game,” Fils-Aime said. “It’s all based on the level of investment, based on the price point, and so it’s unfortunate that I was misquoted in that article.”
The NYT is sticking by its quote, although the reporter did blog that Nintendo contacted him immediately after the story was published to clarify the remark. “The company wrote me to say that it meant that publishers can make a profit selling fewer than one million copies of a particular game. Nintendo declined to be any more specific about a number,” wrote Bits blogger Matt Richtel.
I sure hope the magic number is not 1 million, and not just for Nintendo’s sake. Case in point, Wii games are exponentially cheaper to develop than their Xbox 360/PS3 cousins, whose best sellers claim about 1 million to 3 million sold (not shipped, Sony) in the their first few months (Metal Gear Solid 4, 3.89 mil life-to-date, for example). If Wii games need 1 million to be profitable, the development industry, as a whole, is sick as a dog right now. Especially in this awful economy. Again, I hope Reggie was just misquoted.