March 2019 - last edited March 2019
By that logic, Warframe is an utter failure because it’s a free-to-play game and doesn’t sell any copies at all.
Warframe, while free, has a subtle but very aggressive monetization model. If you are a real free player, you will suffer a LOT until late game content when you can get yourself the needed plat by selling your better drops.
Which does not surprise me in the slightest. My point was that the headline of the last article said that Anthem underperforms “by copies sold.” Which to me entirely misses the point of how the game is trying to monetize. By now, some players will have already paid more for the shards than the base game cost to begin with.
Also, a considerable number of people seem to be playing through a Prime subscription. Does that count as a “copies sold”? Probably not, but it could potentially bring in more money in the long run than a flat $60-80 per “copy sold.” They’ll talk about how they’ve already canceled their $15/month subscriptions forever because the game has not been completely redesigned to their exacting specifications within days of them demanding it, but chances are they’ll be back, and keep coming back as the game is improved and new content is added.
There is a reason EA is pushing so hard for the “MVP improved over time” model. Releasing huge games that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and then counting on copies sold to recoup that, is already a bit of a gamble. And when everyone on the internet is a critic, trying to make a living streaming themselves ranting about the game for views, it becomes a bit too much of a gamble to be worth it. With the traditional model they’re basically looking at maybe making some profit versus a good chance of a loss that could kill the whole studio, with every release. It’s not really a viable model in the long run.
There is also something to be said about not releasing total bare bones MVPs that have just barely enough content to call it a game at launch, but overall I wouldn’t personally take investment advice from someone who thinks copies sold is still a good measure of a game’s success these days.