Tim Schafer: fans worry too much about game sales

Tuesday, 7th April 2009 09:04 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Doublefine daddy Tim Schafer thinks you should stop studying the NPDs until you’re bloody and broken and get on with your life. His rationale: Publishers don’t give two flips about sales so long as you make great games.

“Fans worry too much about sales, to tell you the truth,” he told MTV Multiplayer. “As long as you make a cool game, publishers want to talk to you… [They say] ‘We liked Psychonauts and we think we could have sold it better’.”

Schafer doesn’t plan on breaking too many marketing teams, though. Speaking of his upcoming title, Brutal Legend, he said:

“[It is] a game that naturally has more commercial hooks, like hot babes and Jack Black.”

The man’s cracked the code, clearly. Brutal Legend will hit the Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year.



  1. Retroid

    The only reason I’ve ever paid attention to sales is to see if something I like is doing well enough to be a success, or whether a hardware format isn’t going to end up “doing a Dreamcast”.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Hero of Canton

    Well, the problem arises when you make several flops in a row. No matter how many critical successes you have, I’d imagine there comes a point where publishers say ‘your ideas aren’t selling so we’re not interested’. Takahashi’s already talked about Namco-Bandai being pissed off with him about Noby Noby Boy.

    Also: what Retroid said.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Michael O'Connor

    Tim, I love you, you make some amazing games, and I’ve loved every single title you’re ever created, but… what the hell are you smoking?

    If games don’t say, companies don’t make a profit. If companies don’t make a profit, they go out of business.

    “The only reason I’ve ever paid attention to sales is to see if something I like is doing well enough to be a success, or whether a hardware format isn’t going to end up “doing a Dreamcast.”

    Considering how all the formats are going strong after 3 years, and multi-platform titles are pretty much the norm (which wasn’t the case with SEGA’s console) there’s absolutely no chance of any of the consoles “doing a Dreamcast”.

    I think it’s time to take off that tinfoil hat.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Shatner

    Sales of something I like validate my internet-voiced opinions about it!

    Validate meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Hero of Canton

    I don’t think Retroid’s saying that it’s going to happen. The Dreamcast was bound to make people wary.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Michael O'Connor

    “I don’t think Retroid’s saying that it’s going to happen. The Dreamcast was bound to make people wary.”

    That’s not wariness, it’s paranoia.

    The biggest myth of the Dreamcast is that it died because it didn’t sell. It did. Near the end of it’s run, it was shifting as many units as the PS3 or 360 currently are. It was an internal decision by the company itself to cease production, instead of trying to take on the PS2. They knew it was a battle they wouldn’t win.

    SEGA deliberately abandoned the Dreamcast, and people still try to decry at as some sort of pure victim. The reality without the rose-tinted glasses is quite different.

    There’s absolutely no chance of a console “doing a Dreamcast.” The consoles are selling well, and the first party titles are selling well, and this hardware generation is commonly expected to last longer than the usual 5-year cycle.

    I don’t see how monitoring the charts is going to tell you if a console is going to die out. The multi-format focus of this generation alone guarantees that’s not possible.

    So yeah, less tinfoil hats please.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Blerk

    I am rubber, you are glue.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Retroid

    Nah, I’m not; I’ve just been used to things I’ve liked tanking in the past so I like to know if I can expect more of whatever it is (genre, franchise, developer) in the future rather than finding out a while later than it did poorly.

    #8 6 years ago

    If a game doesn’t sell well. The publisher will not be pleased. If the publisher is not pleased, the game could suffer.

    I might think that Stuntman is my favourite game, but it didn’t sell well, so now the IP seems to have been binned.

    No more stuntman for anyone!

    What’s more, with the way that online multiplayer is going, it makes sense to hope that your favourite game sells as many units as possible.

    Waiting in a lobby for 20 minutes just to have one person join you is not fun.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. The_Deleted

    Timesplitters was a successful title for the Developers and publishers. And then they got excited about HAZE…

    #10 6 years ago


    #11 6 years ago
  12. Bulk Slash

    I think it would be more appropriate to worry about a console “doing a GameCube”, where the hardware is still on-sale but most third party devs have abandoned it for other platforms. At one point I thought that might happen to the PS3 but 3rd parties seem to be pretty good at supporting all three systems now.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. mightyhokie

    Tim is my FAVORITE publisher and, next to JK Rowling, my favorite story teller. However, as long as America is a capitalist nation (which, very sadly, seems to be rapidly changing), sales will matter. How many GREAT TV shows or movies have laid an egg only to NOT get a sequel? How many total pieces of shit are still running because they make money *cough*fridaythe13thpart42:electricboggaloo*cough?

    That being said, I do really believe that this game is going to sell 10 times what Psychonauts did. I think with the large amount of time between Grim Fandango and Psychonauts hurt the sales. It hasn’t been nearly as long as that between Psychonauts and BL. Plus there is a lot of buzz within the gaming community for this game, much more than Psychonauts.

    Still, as long as he makes game, I’ll buy them. Not rent, BUY!

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

    #13 6 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.