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Submitted by Shok 938d ago | opinion piece

Ubisoft is Lying About ZombiU's Performance

Ubisoft may have just got caught red-handed. Now before I get started I would just like to get the point across that I love Ubisoft. I think they’re one of the best western publishers and developers out there and I tend to enjoy most of their games. But something fishy is going on here, and I’m going to have to call Ubisoft out on it. (Industry, Wii U)

Godmars290  +   938d ago
It all sounds like second guessing.

Then again, if the game did do the reported 470k, @$60 a pop that's around $28 million.

So the question is how much was put into making it?
wishingW3L  +   938d ago
most likely a flop. From those $60 I bet 30 are for the retail and 30 for the publisher. Who know how much GS gets for each new games sold? They say they make more from used games.
cleft5  +   938d ago
I don't think so. Don't forget, Nintendo also did a pack in for this game with a special console just for ZombiU. There is practically no way that they weren't profitable and I agree with the author of this article wholeheartedly. If Ubisoft doesn't want to develop for the WiiU exclusive because of the relatively low install base, than just say that and stop trying to scapegoat.
mwjw696  +   937d ago
According to the manager of my old Gamestop. All new games only bring in a profit of $2-3 per sale. It's $28 for the system its on, $30 for the publisher, and $2 for the retailer.

Facts for the day.
devwan  +   937d ago
This is how a $60 game is broken down:

$27 - publisher
$15 - retailer
$7 - platform holder
$7 - cost of handling returns
$4 - manufacture and distro

Source: Anatomy of a $60 video game ( http://latimesblogs.latimes... )
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-Mika-  +   938d ago
Game developers don't make $60 per copy. If they did, the gaming industry would be a really healthy industry. They instead make half of that.
doctorstrange  +   938d ago
If that even, there's taxes, retail cut, platform holder fees, shipping fees, manufacturer's fees, marketing fees, publisher fees, and then taxes again.
#1.2.1 (Edited 938d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(2) | Report
Godmars290  +   938d ago
Still, the general pool of money being talked about is around $30 million from the finished product.

How much was put in is a valid question.
Benjaminkno  +   937d ago
Which is why ending game sharing is a good idea.
All new games for 35 bucks, non-returnable.
BISHOP-BRASIL  +   937d ago
35 bucks is not going to happen in current model...

First, if the game is non returnable, retailer will not let go of any of its slice of 15 bucks (if not going higher as they can't deal in used games anymore).

Console holder also has little flexibility about it, their slice of around 7 bucks is unlikely to change. Same goes for manufacture and distribution (around 5 bucks) and return handling (around 6 bucks).

So, as you can see, those 33 bucks are pretty much set into stone as long as we're talking about console games on physical media. At 60 dollars this leaves publisher with some 27 dollars to pay employees, development, marketing, taxes, etc... Even with the biggest slice, their costs are so high that they still need to sell 500k copies just to break even (and that's for a medium budget, AAA usually needs 2 or 3 millions).

Even if we consider that a lot more games would be sold at 35 than at 60 bucks, would they sell 9~10 times more in order to make up for the minimal slice? Used sales or not, I don't think this would go like that. And that's why most of 'em are letting go of the whole "used games are ruining the industry" argument, if they decide to stop used sales people would expect some price cut, but as much as 10 bucks off on a game price by launch would mean they would already need to increase a game sales in some 50~100%.

The reason some publishers and devs hit the botton so hard in this industry is not because of used games (minor impact), nor because the costumer don't buy enough (2 million copies should be a major accomplishment and even 500k should be enough), it's the crazy costs, specially in AAA games. If they can't cut costs (be it on development, marketing or whatever) they'll sooner or later lose money. Not every game can sell like COD, and even those which can eventually will stop doing so (ask Nintendo).
ninjahunter  +   937d ago
Dev teams earn 10-20% of game sales So $6-12 on every full priced sale.

Someone somewhere claimed that it sold half a million copies or so, Which, in a perfect world would be 5 million dollars, but in reality is probably 4 or 3.5 million, considering the game dropped in price.

In a 2010 study, it was said that the average, single platform game cost is $10 million dollars.
PopRocks359  +   938d ago

I do enjoy ZombiU, but the game wasn't exactly finished when they released it. They had to patch out a number of glitches months later. Begs the question just how much they spent on it.
CBaoth  +   937d ago
Remember though, the game was slated to appear initially on PS360. So who knows how much $ was spent before shifting the IP.

Terrible graphics, clumsy controls, glitches, and lack of online MP hurt the title (can't believe I just said that since I avoid most online game modes). It was clearly rushed to make it for the launch window.

Back to MP: 4 survivors online (using the WiiU Pros) going from point A to B with 4 couch buddies using their tablets to stop them would've been insanely fun. I'm thinking a quasi-L4D online but with 4 human Directors, instead of an AI controlled one.
Xof  +   938d ago
Probably not all that much money, relatively speaking.

The problem with AAA games isn't that they have massive budgets, it's that they're not budgeted well. A huge chunk of the development budget goes to advertising and licensing (for middleware like PhysX or Havok).

And, of course, they only make a very small portion of each individual game sale as profit. Thinking back to some figures I'd heard in the past, the developers tend to get something like 10% of each game sale, and that money has to pay off all the development costs before it can count as profit.


Also, IIRC, AAA development budget is around ~$50,000,000 USD.
cyguration  +   937d ago
You're mostly right, but AAA development starts at about $20 million. The average is about $40 million with the inclusion of marketing.
badz149  +   938d ago
"...according to VGChartz..." I stopped reading right there!

they put VGChartz as their main source and out right saying the publisher itself is lying? SMH

if the claim of the game not even close to being profitable came from some random fanboys on the internet, then VGChartz argument might hold some water but against the publisher itself? the article want us to believe VGChartz OVER Ubisoft itself? you gotta be kidding me!
torchic  +   937d ago
I have to agree.

I didn't even read the article because (a) I knew the author would use unreliable VGChartz data to prove his point and support his argument, and (b) I knew this was another case of a silly person without industry knowledge trying to prove to us that people who actually know what they're talking about, really don't.

why would Ubisoft reject revenue on a lucrative platform? Vita sales aren't exactly hot but Ubisoft still supports it.
Knushwood Butt  +   937d ago
Yeah, just another case of bad journalism.
Godchild1020  +   937d ago
How much of it is from the game being bundled?
Dlacy13g  +   937d ago
Does the author understand that the cost of development for this game back when it was being made for PS3 and Xbox 360 doesn't just magically disappear because they switched to WiiU development. Also the amount of potential sales they had to eat for turning this into a WiiU game was certainly not offset by Nintendo. ....and 500, 000 units is not good anyway you cut it for a AAA game.
Realplaya  +   937d ago
It's not a AAA game. If you own the game like I do then you understand why it didn't sell. For one The Wii U has more power than the PS3 and 360 but they made it look worse than a Wii game,
The controls are clunky and there is nothing in the game to boost replay value. Why blame Nintendos system for a subpar game?

Why not create a game that looks good plays good that sales systems if the game isn't ready don't release it.
Look at indie games such as Nano assault Neo and Trine 2 I recommend those games any day over some of the newer games that are being released on the system.
Theyellowflash30  +   937d ago
ZombiU isn't a AAA game Dlacy13g, nor did it have a AAA budget.
DeadlyFire  +   937d ago
Well typically it is said a game has to sell over 1 million units to turn a profit within the 1-2 year margin of selling at a $60 price point. As most low budget titles cost 20-30 Million to make initially. Not counting marketing cash. So making 28 million on a title while it seems like alot. Doesn't quite appeal to the developer.

ZombiU was developed for the Wii actually then shifted to WiiU. So 1 Million to port it over to WiiU, but how much was invested in its development before they shifted it to WiiU?

Also note Ubisoft stating ZombiU could be ported to other consoles. So they could make a sequel, but it could be on 3-4 platforms instead of just WiiU. Its a hard choice to make a new ip launch title for a platform as its risky to sell. We could see Zombi 2 on PC/PS4/XB1/WiiU at some point down the road.

Being a launch title it could still turn a profit for them down the road. Selling about 500K isn't bad. Numbers could go up in a year or two when consumers get more WiiUs and people can pick up the game for $20 bucks or so.
Realplaya  +   937d ago
@ DeadlyFire As most low budget titles cost 20-30 Million to make initially. Are you making stuff up?

I am a new developer and I am going to waste 30 million making a bad game?

Perhaps you meant most great games cost that much. Also I still think that's to much money to make a game. I'm old school and fun games like Pacman all the way up to Super Mario Galaxy which sold pretty well never cost that much.
Godmars290  +   937d ago
It was said at the beginning of the PS3's and 360's console cycles that a million copies of a game were needed to break even on most AAA titles.

But this is several years later and the WiiU, which at best is an upgrade from the 360/PS3, and a highly promoted title which in most other respects was a budget production, we're talking about now.

We can guess how much it made, but so much how much it took to make it.
DeadlyFire  +   937d ago
Yeah I meant typically games cost so much to make and so on. Games like Halo 3 and KILLZONE 3 cost about 50-60 million to make.

I don't make anything up that I type. I get it from other people's claims of 20-30 Million required to make a game. I don't trust things like that fully. I was hoping someone would elaborate costs a little more. I do not know how much the games cost. I know its not that high to make PC or indie titles. I assume disc production, licensing, and advertising are the main areas for the costs.
starfox79  +   937d ago
Very naughty that i'm also quite sure black ops has done quite well and sonic racing has sold over 300,000 units not including digital sales Hmmmm so wiiu software sells incredibly well and when it picks up in sales then things will only get better....
ame22  +   937d ago
Don't forget the marketing budget.
bangshi  +   937d ago
@mwjw696 your manager was lying to you.

Retailers will make much more than $2 on a brand new game. They do not make 3-4% profit on a game.

Nor do the console makers get almost half.
PockyKing  +   938d ago
This is such a lame article. There's no proof, just the author's assumptions that Ubisoft is "lying" about the game not turning a profit just because it shipped over 500K units. Why would a company not make a sequel to a game if it was profitable and why would a company bother making a sequel to something that is NOT profitable like ZombiU.
Godmars290  +   938d ago
Aren't you answering your own question?

Ubisoft isn't too hot for the WiiU, might have made a profit on ZombieU, but not enough of a profit to their liking. So they're weaseling out, and putting a nail in the WiiU's coffin in the process.
Omegaman   938d ago | Spam
-Mika-  +   938d ago
lol, this article was submitted by shok. Im not surprised.
exfatal  +   938d ago
You are here once again trolling.. Im not surprised
PopRocks359  +   938d ago
Ha! You beat me to it.
Kevlar009  +   938d ago
Worse it's a personal attack, judging an article and its submitter based on the Mika's opinion on Shok. No need to to call someone out, off-topic and rude
PopRocks359  +   937d ago

I guess you're right. Where's MasterCornholio when you need him to police someone else's comments? :O
M-M  +   938d ago
That's funny, before I clicked the article I knew you would be here since it's something that's negative about the Wii U.
WeMilk   938d ago | Spam
MrTrololo  +   938d ago
Meh like i care
TripC50  +   938d ago
You are not even gonna try? You don't deserve your name or picture. Lazy
Kennytaur  +   937d ago
He's trying to be cool, so he's got the picture (avatar) part right.
iMaim  +   938d ago
His sources don't seem solid enough to accuse Ubisoft of not turning a profit.
InTheLab  +   937d ago
Yeah...Kinda reminds me of this guy connecting dots
HeavenlySnipes  +   938d ago
Basically he says that the game sold about 500k
It costs about 1.2 million to port games and that ZombieU was a "port" of a scrapped ge in development for the PS3/360, meaning that the game did in fact get close to breaking even

I for one don't think that the unfinished game cost only 1.2 million to create for the WiiU and even if it were near that, the fact remains that the author only took offense to Unisoft saying it "wasn't close" to breaking even. Even if everything the author said was true, the game STILL wouldn't have made an sort of profit so any sequel would be scrapped regardless.
kneon  +   937d ago
But you are ignoring the initial development costs, those have to be accounted for since it never released on any other platform.
lodossrage  +   938d ago
This "article" is pure speculation
But realistically, what reason would they have to lie about it?

It doesn't benefit them to lie. They were one of the few third party companies that tried to put a decent footing on the Wii U.

Come with solid, credible sources before you say that Ubisoft are putting up lies.
SilentNegotiator  +   938d ago
Because Nintendo fanboys like to pretend like any publisher that doesn't care for Wii U is "teh hater" and just "didn't try", even if it turns out to be one of Nintendo's best third parties, Ubisoft.
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Godmars290  +   937d ago
Except with companies Ubisoft I odn't get a good vibe. They should just be making games. Not commenting on the industry.
Erimgard  +   938d ago
This is a very poorly written article. He cites an unreliable source as 'proof,' makes a bunch of unwarranted speculations, and then throws it all together in a poorly formed accusation.
4logpc  +   938d ago
You can always tell when a piece is written by someone who has no business be a "journalist."

Before you go and call a company out, you should probably oh, I don't know, ask them about the situation first.

email them, I know for a fact Ubisoft will get back to you. I've worked with them many times, and then if they say they refuse to comment on the matter, you can try to state your case.

Even if the author would of tired to reach out to ubi, there is next to zero evidence of their claims.
#10 (Edited 938d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
mydyingparadiselost  +   938d ago
I think the cost of what was originally put into Killer Freaks from Outer Space plus the cost of remaking that game into ZombiU could explain Ubi not making a profit off the game. The sales were decent for console release game, it sounds to me like Ubi just went too far over on their budget retooling the game and couldn't make all that money back. So in closing, they mismanaged their money and now putting the blame on something else like other AAA studios do when their projects fail to make profit.
Skate-AK  +   938d ago
I wonder how much changed from Killer Freaks from Outer Space to ZombiU. For some reason Killer Freaks from Outer Space sounds like a rail-shooter to me.
PigPen  +   938d ago
ZombieU looks like a Xbox 360/ PS3 game. It also looks like a low budget game for those consoles, and is more like a insult to the Wii U. To be honest, every game Ubisoft has doesn't take advantage of the Wii U hardware. Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell are current generation quality. The Wii U is a much more powerful console. Watch Dogs for the PS4 Jimmy Fallon playthrough didn't look next gen either, so you know the Wii U version won't be. Not that every game has to be next generation, but I'm starting to see what Ubisoft is doing. They are smart in the sense of being a business, but their games will never reach mass market success. A game will have to be nothing short of amazing to gamers for that level of success, meaning taking full advantage of next gen hardware.
deafdani  +   938d ago
Ubisoft's games will never reach mass market success?


You're completely right. Almost nobody knows what Far Cry is.

Or Assassin's Creed.

Or Prince of Persia.

Or Splinter Cell.

Poor Ubisoft. Nobody seems to pay attention to their games because they're so small. :(
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avengers1978  +   937d ago
Or watch dogs
Or ray man
Or the crew
Or division
Yup poor ubisoft, I hope they can one day reach the masses.
greenlantern2814  +   937d ago
Rayman and splinter cell look like current gen because they are.
And ubisoft not reaching the masses. WHAT?
Where have you been during the last 7-10 years.
@deafdani and @avengers1978 already covered it.
PigPen  +   937d ago
Going to do some fact checking.
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PigPen  +   937d ago
Disregard my first post. I am totally wrong indeed. Assassin Creed puts up numbers like 5 million a console between PS3/Xbox 360. However, Just Dance is Ubisoft best selling franchise which is nothing to brag about.
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greenlantern2814  +   937d ago
You got that right just dance, what a joke.
PigPen  +   937d ago
At first you defend them, now you're trying to clown them. Just Dance smashes the Killzone franchise, is that funny?
deafdani  +   937d ago
Pig Pen, Just Dance is Ubi's best selling franchise because it struck a chord with the casual audience on the Wii, a console that currently has a user base of almost 100 million.

I've played a couple Just Dance games in a friend's house, and they were pretty fun, actually. Lol. Anyone can play it and have fun. I know for a fact that Just Dance is pretty hilarious in parties, especially if there's booze involved. ^_^

It may not be one of Ubi's "core" franchises like the other ones we listed above... but as long as they remain fun to play, who really cares? It's not harming anyone, and Ubi keeps pushing their "core" franchises as well. Variety is a good thing to have, and this is one of the reasons I actually respect Ubi so much as publishers and developers: because they're not afraid to try different things.
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PigPen  +   937d ago
You are very right. I have nothing against Just Dance and shouldn't of spoke of it that way. But a lot more of Ubisoft games can reach mass market if only they take advantage of the next gen hardware. No one wants to see the same games that are on 7 year hardware.
greenlantern2814  +   937d ago
Your right I can defend them and make fun of them I don't care if just dance out sold kz. KZ is still way better IMO. If a game company makes games I like I will defend those games, and when they make crap I will call it crap
Agent_hitman  +   938d ago
To generate more profit, Ubisoft should port this IP to PS4 or Xbone or PS3 and 360.. To avoid marketing Wii U, they should rename the franchise to DEAD ____ lol.
greenlantern2814  +   938d ago
First selling less than 500,000 when the game was also sold in bundles is not a lot.
Second developing a new ip on new hardware there where bound to be unexpected expenses.
Third the game devs do not get 100% of the game sales no company selling anything makes100% profit you ever hear of overhead.
Finally I think ubisoft knows whether or not they made any money on the game. And breaking even isn't good enough.
If it sold 470k at 60$ a pop, but remember so.e of those sales where bundled with wiiu at 400$ so 50$ for the games that sold in those bundles. That's at most 28 million before tax, overhead shipping, etc. So ubisoft at most got around 12 million of that anybody think it coast them less than that to make zombie u
weekev15  +   937d ago
To be fair whilst the article is clearly wrong I dont really understand Ubisofts stance. They have said it was a failure and yet has a 1:6 attach rate. Thats the equivelant of a ps3 game selling over 10 million copies which would be deemed a massive success.

The reason, therefore, that the game wasnt profitable, isnt that Nintendo fans dont buy 3rd party, its that Nintendo missed their predicted sales.

Now, there are loads of potential system sellers before the end of this financial year. Lets say Nintendo were to get their install base above 10 million. If Zombi2u were to have the same attach rate it would sell close to 2 million copies. If they needed more sales than that to turn a profit they really should be going multi plat.
#16 (Edited 937d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
greenlantern2814  +   937d ago
I am willing to bet if zombie u sells a lot more copies than ubisoft would reconsider making number 2.
And if they do they would likely make it multipat but for wiiu to get over 10 million consoles sold they need to sell about 7 million more systems, at the current rate of 25,000 a month that will take 280 months or 23 years. So they better hope the sales increase drastically
weekev15  +   937d ago
I think you would need to be incredibly naive to think wiiu sales wont pick up soon.
TheDivine  +   937d ago
Good game but it could've been a great game. It reminded me of Demons Souls a lot. It just didnt have as great of gameplay and as stupid as it sounds, the name was a turn off. Needed an extra 9 months of polish, coop where you randomly run into up to four people, and some more polish. It's a great foundation for a series that can focus on a new city each game. I'd love to experience a Zombie U in New Orleans, Seattle, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo exc.
R00bot  +   937d ago
Except Chris Morris Never spoke to Ubisoft before writing his article.

Chris Morris made it up, and used a rearranged completely unrelated quote from an interview in june Read the actual source article.

Its made up bs. Chris Morris IMPLIES he had an interview, actually talked to these people.

He didn't, all of his quotes, are clipped directly from other interviews, from other news sites, WITHOUT being sourced or credited, (thats plagiarism kids) Preceded by a loaded fallacious often fictional paraphrasing of said quote.

The quote he used for Ubisoft, was from an interview that had absolutely nothing to do with Zombi U.

Its fake. He's the one saying it, not Yves.

Credit to 3Dude for research:
BosSSyndrome  +   937d ago
I don't really care how profitable it was. What doesn't make sense to me is why they expected more money on a system only FOUR MILLION PEOPLE OWN IF THAT.
HardcoreDaBoss  +   937d ago
I agree, I don't see why they get mad at Nintendo and blame them for sales of the game. When xbox 1and ps4 come out these new games will sell just as bad with only 1-3 games selling good. But by then wii u would have 4+ million sold.
lodossrage  +   937d ago
They get "mad" at Nintendo about that because both they and even Nintendo themselves expected the Wii U to sell much more than it actually has, thereby giving Zombie U a chance to sell better by almost default.

While what you say BoSSyndrome is true, the game can only sell to so many people considering the install base right now. But that again is Nintendo's fault for not finding a way to give software a fair chance at sales because of their inability to push hardware.
BosSSyndrome  +   934d ago
I agree Nintendo has made mistakes, but nothing pushes hardware better than software. It's a vicious circle, I tell ya.
HardcoreDaBoss  +   937d ago
So what happens when 1st party games are released? Games with the same developer and publisher?
shibster88  +   937d ago
Who cares its for the wii like real gamers care lmao
SonyNGP  +   937d ago
The hell is a "real gamer"?
thomasmiller  +   937d ago
of coarse! some one at sony or microsoft who has paid off some ubisoft people, (HEY IT HAPPENS!) THE NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!!! this game was NOT A FAILURE! no it was no zelda, but the game did sell well enough to be a modest hit. Just like EA said, oh we won't make games for wii u, uhh yeah.. look at the people at ubisoft who made ray man, They don't hate nintendo, so it's just one or two bought off employee's there, who don't like nintendo. just putting out false Information!! thanks to the person for telling the truth on this one!
TruthbeTold  +   937d ago
If they are lying, then my question immediately is, 'Why would they lie?'.

The only answer I think, if this is all true, is that they want to see what kind of outcry they may get for a sequel, along with the forced expectation that if there ever is a sequel, it would be multiplat rather than Wii U exclusive.

I know that the common idea amongst people of decent intelligence these days is that the vast majority of people are stupid. But it's exceedingly stupid to overestimate yourself, and underestimate the intelligence of the crowd you see yourself as smarter than, and would manipulate.
MultiConsoleGamer  +   937d ago
Why would they have a reason to lie? They are one of Nintendo's biggest supporters.
McScroggz  +   937d ago
It's a pretty incendiary accusation to say Ubisoft is lying without any facts or sources to support the claim. To say 500,000 X 60 = 28 millions so their lying is completely distorting the numbers. The publisher only gets around half. Plus, we have to take into account how long it was in development for, cost of things like dev kits (probably overall pretty low) and marketing, among other things.

Don't get me wrong, I find it odd that a game without a triple A budget isn't even close to profitable with 500,000 units sold, but then I'm not going to automatically assume Ubisoft is lying.
PrimeGrime  +   932d ago

The proof is in the sales and now you have them for your eyes to see. Instead of a your ridiculous speculations without any validity. Funny when you claim you don't side with Nintendo but then you make claims such as this not as if your youtube videos don't speak enough for themselves.

Oh well we can't all be right every time now can we?
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