UFC Undisputed 3 Failed to Break Even

UFC Undisputed 3 Failed to Break Even

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THQ sold UFC to EA because its ROI was NFG.

I said a couple of days ago, when the news that THQ had sold the rights to Ultimate Fighting Championship videogames to Electronic Arts first slipped out, that it was a surprising move because it fit well with THQ's new core-focused strategy and appeared to be one of its few reliably successful franchises. But it turns out I was wrong.

UFC Undisputed 3, THQ's last UFC game, came out in February and has thus far failed to meet its break-even sales mark of two million units, company management told analyst Michael Pachter, despite being the third-best-selling game in the U.S. in its first month of release and with initial sales that THQ said in April were better than expected.

The previous edition, UFC Undisputed 2010, also failed to live up to expectations, which THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell blamed in part on its proximity to the first game in the series, UFC Undisputed 2009. That game sold more than 3.5 million units and at the time appeared to establish a solid foundation for the franchise.

It's not known how much EA paid for the UFC license, but there's no doubt that THQ could use the money; even though it reported better-than-expected results in its last financial quarter, the company is still struggling to avoid a Nasdaq delisting and keep itself afloat.

Source: Gamasutra

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I guess they did not fight hard enough for our money

My guess is that most people who would have wanted the third Undisputed game probably already had the first or second game.

They needed to sell 2 million copies to BREAK EVEN? What kind of absurdity IS that? No wonder they sold the license to EA, because many, many games fail to breach even the 1 million mark, and yet still manage to remain profitable. Assuming that the company, after packaging and shipping copies and cutting back prices after a few months, made roughly $20 a copy, that's a whopping $40,000,000. I don't even think Activision spends more than that on Call of Duty.

That is a good reason not to hold onto the license. That folks is the cost of branding and licensing.

xyrafhoan:
They needed to sell 2 million copies to BREAK EVEN? What kind of absurdity IS that? No wonder they sold the license to EA, because many, many games fail to breach even the 1 million mark, and yet still manage to remain profitable. Assuming that the company, after packaging and shipping copies and cutting back prices after a few months, made roughly $20 a copy, that's a whopping $40,000,000. I don't even think Activision spends more than that on Call of Duty.

It was actually a very cheap game to make, most of the money went on paying off people not to Shoot the hell out of Nick Diaz the second they spoke to him.

OT: With all the advertising in that game, how the hell did they not break even.

Honestly UFC 2009 was one of the better fighting games, requiring actual skill instead of memorizing exceedingly long and overpowered combos that only people who own the game and play all the time know.

That said I didn't buy 2010 because it came out right after 2009, and is basically the same game.

Why didn't anyone buy this one? Probably because it came out to close to the second one. This isn't COD where new maps/campaigns are relevant. There is no storyline or campaign or any type of map aside from OCTAGON.

I'm wondering, though... sports series like NHL and Madden are basically the same game each year with tiny incremental upgrades and roster updates, yet they manage to be profitable. I'm wondering what's different about UFC that makes it so people don't buy the next game if they already have one?

Danial:

xyrafhoan:
They needed to sell 2 million copies to BREAK EVEN? What kind of absurdity IS that? No wonder they sold the license to EA, because many, many games fail to breach even the 1 million mark, and yet still manage to remain profitable. Assuming that the company, after packaging and shipping copies and cutting back prices after a few months, made roughly $20 a copy, that's a whopping $40,000,000. I don't even think Activision spends more than that on Call of Duty.

It was actually a very cheap game to make, most of the money went on paying off people not to Shoot the hell out of Nick Diaz the second they spoke to him.

OT: With all the advertising in that game, how the hell did they not break even.

I was referring mostly to the overall cost, license included. Much like how the music game genre suffered, licensing and too-frequent installments of similar games killed interest. The people who are on the other end of the license can't seem to grasp around the concept of market oversaturation.

XMark:
I'm wondering, though... sports series like NHL and Madden are basically the same game each year with tiny incremental upgrades and roster updates, yet they manage to be profitable. I'm wondering what's different about UFC that makes it so people don't buy the next game if they already have one?

Well I don't follow UFC, but I suspect they don't really change roster that much. I mean what's there to change?

In (proper)football, you're going to see clubs bring in 2-3 players minimum a year really, other players will retire, managers will move etc.

Whereas UFC surely there's only really going to be a maximum of 1 or 2 new breakout fighters a year?

The only thing I'm worried about is if THQ falls under that Developers like Relic will get broken up and lose the rights to make Warhammer 40k games.

Dawn of War 3 better be a thing in the next few years and not just a rushed sequel. Here's to hoping Relic are smart enough to not go down with the ship.

Andy Chalk:
THQ sold UFC to EA because its ROI was NFG.

LOL IIRC IDGAF about UFC IMHO. BBQ.

It's a decent game, in fact it's the only sports game I've played in years. But what I did was borrow it from my little brother, much like a lot of people I expect. I wanted to buy it, but could not justify paying almost full price for a pre-owned game, and couldn't justify paying full price for it either, considering UFC11, UFC10, UFC9. Frankly, UFC should never have tried to be an annual, EA's sports titles tend to do that, and UFC will keep doing that from now on, but how many people out there follow UFC that closely!. I'm guessing that for most people, the game was a decent and viceral fighting game, and a good party game, a fighting game for people who don't really like the 2D fighting games and prefer to smash the punch button than remember combo's. It did pretty well at that, but there's no way it could cut it as an annual, least of all as a full price annual.

Beyond the decent gameplay mechanics, the game just didn't do enough IMO. My ideal cage-fighting game would let me customise my character, level up fairly, and not have to worry about retiring - the whole game centered around your fighters career, and that's fine, but not exactly the way I'd like to progress. The online aspect for instance could have been awesome, fighting against other players in the same class, progressing through ranks, playing in championships... all sorts of cool things could have been added, and I wonder what EA will do to the franchise. This might be for the best - I doubt very much that UFC4 would do very well under THQ, it needs to be shaken by the throat.

Problem with UFC for mass-market high-end games:
1) The consumer market is still rather niche. Nowhere near as many people as the main-line sports
2) There isn't much change from year to year in the roster of competitors. So you're basically just playing the same guys or making a new character and going up the ranks. Same thing you did in the last iteration of the game.

So unless the game is fundamentally different in mechanics, graphics, gameplay, etc. (ie a next generation development), then there is no reason to buy it if you already have the first. And because the 2009 game was a legitimate HIT, everyone already had it.

xyrafhoan:
They needed to sell 2 million copies to BREAK EVEN? What kind of absurdity IS that? No wonder they sold the license to EA, because many, many games fail to breach even the 1 million mark, and yet still manage to remain profitable. Assuming that the company, after packaging and shipping copies and cutting back prices after a few months, made roughly $20 a copy, that's a whopping $40,000,000. I don't even think Activision spends more than that on Call of Duty.

Likeness rights I'm guessing.

Elmoth:

Andy Chalk:
THQ sold UFC to EA because its ROI was NFG.

LOL IIRC IDGAF about UFC IMHO. BBQ.

How sad is it that I could read that perfectly without a second thought?

OT: Well, that's... sad. It begs the question though, apart from maybe licensing, how did they manage to spend so much on the game that they needed to sell two million copies just to break even? Or does licensing in this situation really cost that much?

Well look at that, a 'roster update' game not doing so hot. Now with any hope the rest won't do so great either and perhaps we can break the terrible cycle.

XMark:
I'm wondering, though... sports series like NHL and Madden are basically the same game each year with tiny incremental upgrades and roster updates, yet they manage to be profitable. I'm wondering what's different about UFC that makes it so people don't buy the next game if they already have one?

Well, for one thing, the UFC is a purely American thing. Some fighting enthousiasts outside the US will have seen a match or two, but whatever mediocre guy they're hyping these days is something I really don't care about, and I'm a fighting sports enthousiast with a far above average knowledge of such things. All I do know is generally when I put such a match on, I'm treated to mediocre fighters who may give it a shot, but revert to the boring highschool wrestlers they came from when under pressure.

And to be honest, I've never seen the NHL or Madden yearly sports games around here. Those are American sports, so nobody cares. I guess the same will be true for the yearly UFC game.

And add to that that MMA enthousiasts may not be in large part gamers, or gamers not be into MMA, and that shrinks the number of potential buyers a second time. Plus that fighting enthousiasts may well be bored by such a game, because you can never make it dynamic as the fight itself; it will always feel clumsy. So the target audience may not even like the games because they know better.

 

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