Let me first say that I respect Ninja Theory and thought Heavenly Sword was a great game for the PlayStation 3 (one of my favorites). I also plan on buying Enslaved when it comes out, however, the company has a very misinformed outlook on how the console industry’s marketshare is currently played out.
In a recent discussion with CVG, Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades claimed that the fact the Xbox owns over 50% of the marketshare this generation is one of the reasons why the company has chosen to go multiplatform.
“It’s just that when so many people have Xbox – I mean over half the market or more has Xbox 360s – why limit yourself to one platform?” commented Antoniades.
I’m not sure which market he’s looking at, but no console has over 50% of the marketshare this generation and if any company is close to doing so, it’s the Nintendo Wii — not Microsoft (or Sony for that matter). It makes perfect sense to go multiplatform as an independent developer in order to reach a wider audience and gaming install base, but at least be knowledgeable about the installed base you’re trying to discuss.
Furthermore, Antoniades goes into how Ninja Theory didn’t make money on Heavenly Sword, but expects that Sony definitely broke even.
“It’s difficult. Heavenly Sword came out pretty early on the PS3, and we sold, I think, a million and a half copies, and that’s still not enough as an independent studio to break even,” said co-founder Tameem Antoniades. “The publisher potentially breaks even at that point, but the developers don’t,” he added, and it’s for this reason that the developer chose to go multi-platform with its latest upcoming quest, Enslaved.”
This is something I find hard to believe. At 1.5 million copies, that’s roughly $90 Million in total sales. How expensive exactly was Heavenly Sword to develop? I understand that the retailer and publisher each get their cut, but surely with 1+ million in sales, the developer isn’t exactly being forced out of its offices, right?