Square Enix Reveals Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Sales Undershot “Initial Expectations”

Source: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (2021), Square Enix

Square Enix has revealed that the Eidos-Montréal developed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy failed to meet their initial sales expectations.

Source: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021), Square Enix

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In their 3Q FY2022/3 Financial Results Briefing, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda stated “Despite strong reviews, the game’s sales on launch undershot our initial expectations.”

“However, sales initiatives that we kicked off in November 2021 and continued into the new year have resulted in sales growth,” Matsuda emphasized, “and we intend to work to continue to expand sales to make up for the title’s slow start.”

Source: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021), Square Enix

The news may be somewhat surprising as reviews the Marvel title have been positive, with the game currently holding an average Metacritic score of 73 out of 100 across its PlayStation 5 (80), Xbox Series X (84), PC (78), and Nintendo Switch (58) releases.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy also boasts an average user score of 8.2 out of 10 over 1,600 reviews, with the Nintendo Switch version once again holding the lowest average score (7.2).

Source: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021), Square Enix

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However, it seems that the opening stumble of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was offset by Square Enix’s recent sales-halting successes of Final Fantasy XIV, “primarily due to ‘FINAL FANTASY XIV’ paying subscriber growth and the December 2021 release of [the Endwalker] expansion pack.”

Thanks to the MMO’s popularity, Square Enix added 10 billion JPY ($86.8 million) to their expected revenue, bringing their projected operating income to a record 50.1 billion Yen ($435 million).

Source: Final Fantasy XIV (2013), Square Enix

MMO’s aside, this same third quarter period saw Square Enix’s HD games division – which also saw such releases as Outriders, NieR: Replicant, and the PC version of Final Fantasy VII: Remake Intergrade – earned  65.5 billion JPY ($569 million).

Yet, despite the fact that the company “launched multiple new titles” at that time, Square Enix reported that the division “did not reach level seen [the year prior],” which saw the release of such games as the original PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy VII: Remake and Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition.

Source: Final Fantasy VII: Remake Intergrade (2021), Square Enix

Several major Square Enix titles produced by western studios have failed to live up to expectations in recent years.

Outriders was “on track to become the company’s next major franchise,” but launched to average scores from journalists and middling to poor reviews from players.

In August 2021, developer People Can Fly stated that they hadn’t yet received their first royalties for the game, a claim which suggested that Outriders hadn’t turned a profit four in the months after it launched.

Source: Outriders (2021), Square Enix

In November 2020, Square Enix revealed that Marvel’s Avengers from Crystal Dynamics under-performed so badly, it resulted in a $48 million loss– their only major release for that fiscal quarter.

Unsurprisingly, this soon led to the revelation that the game had failed to offset its initial development costs.

Source: Marvel’s Avengers (2020), Square Enix

One year later, Matsuda admitted Marvel’s Avengers “produced a disappointing outcome.”

He also noted that “taking on the Games as a Service model highlighted issues that we are likely to face in future game development efforts such as the needs to select game designs that mesh with the unique attributes and tastes of our studios and development team.”

Source: Marvel’s Avengers (2020), Square Enix

While no concrete reason has been given for why Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy failed to undersell, it’s possible that gamers feared it would present a similar experience, albeit developed by a different Square Enix subsidary – as Marvel’s Avengers.

Source: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2021), Square Enix

On Metacritic, Marvel’s Avengers scored just over 68 out of 100 with critics on average, while over 3,300 users gave it an average of 4.6 out of 10.

Some of these reviews may have come after the game began selling progression-boosting items despite promises made during its reveal that it would not have lootboxes or pay-to-win microtransactions. This decision was later reversed and the booster sales were halted.

 

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This isn’t to say every western Square Enix venture has bombed.

The Life is Strange series has garnered five games and a remastered collection. The series’ latest entry, Life is Strange: True Colors had the highest launch-month dollar sales for any game in the franchise and was well received by critics – though users were somewhat underwhelmed.

Source: Life Is Strange Remastered Collection (2022), Square Enix

Other moderately western-developed Square Enix titles have included the rebooted Tomb Raider and Deux Ex series, as well as each of the Just Cause games.

 Their upcoming Forspoken, though developed by Japanese studio Luminous Productions, also appears arguably to have been designed with western audiences in mind.

Featuring a story penned by Western writers Gary Whitta, Amy Hennig, Allison Rymer, and Todd Stashwick, Forsaken will see a young woman from New York transported to a fantasy world held under tyrannical rule.

Finding herself in danger, the woman will have to use her newfound magical powers to both liberate the fantasy land and find her way back home.

Source: Forspoken (2022), Square Enix

Why do you think Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has failed to hit sales goals? What could Square Enix have done to improve its numbers? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.

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