Starbreeze CEO Says GAME Collapse Hurt ‘Syndicate’ Sales

Apr 16, 2012 by  

Syndicate Poor Sales GAME Collapse

There’s no arguing, for anyone that played the game, that Syndicate was a title that went criminally under looked. A reboot of Peter Molyneux’s sci-fi strategy title, Syndicate was a refreshing FPS amidst the militarized shooters that pervade this industry and unfortunately it didn’t sell quite as well as developer Starbreeze Studios was hoping.

Many factors can be attributed to the success and failure of a game, be it poor marketing or quality, but for Syndicate one contributing element that was outside Starbreeze’s control was the collapse of popular retailer GAME. As GAME was struggling to stay afloat, EA publishing decided to pull their support for the retailer, and with it any potential sales for games like Syndicate. It certainly isn’t a clear indicator of Syndicate‘s poor sales, but it couldn’t have helped.

Starbreeze is in the midst of their post-mortem at the moment, where they look back on what worked and what didn’t, and one element that stands out is the collapse of GAME. Starbreeze CEO Mikel Nermark felt that Syndicate was very much a retail product, and without a once-strong retailer like GAME’s support, it was going to be difficult to turn a profit.

“The numbers are not as high as we would like, and I think if you asked anyone they would say the same thing about any game they made. But [Syndicate] was released in the midst of GAME going under; the retail space is hurting, and I think that hurt us because we were such a retail product.”

Nermark doesn’t point to GAME’s struggles as being the only retailer issue – he acknowledges that the retail space as a whole is “hurting” – and Syndicate‘s extremely quick announcement and then release definitely exacerbated things. In some regards Nermark feels like publishers don’t give new IPs the attention that they do AAA titles. That isn’t to say that new IPs don’t exist and succeed, Nermark just feels there are too many AAA games that look very similar to each other.

Those that did give Syndicate a chance found a game that was actually quite fun to play around with, both in its single player and multiplayer modes. But, unfortunately, a lack of strong marketing support and issues with retailers kept gamers from actually seeing how unique the title was. If you’re still not convinced, be sure to read our review of the game.

Do you think that GAME’s financial troubles hurt sales for many different games like Syndicate? Was the game’s lack of marketing a contributing factor?

Source: Games Industry

6 Comments

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  1. In all Honesty, there’s always a good number of reasons why a game doesn’t sell well especially in today’s market. Marketing’s usually a major one. However, Syndicate was a shooter trying come in on a already over populated community. The way I honestly see it is If it doesn’t already have an established fan base such as say BattleField, COD or HALO then it’s going to have trouble finding its legs especially in an already saturated market. I don’t think any amount of advertising/hyping/coverage could’ve helped it out..

  2. Check this, Syndicate failed simply because of poor marketing and deciding to release it 2 weeks before Mass Effect 3 (that only was stupid). Syndicate was an awesome game and deserved more attention than it received. I just wished they could have released a DLC.

  3. The loss of a retailer shouldn’t really affect the sales of a game. If gamers want the game and one retailer goes under, there are still plenty of other retailers to choose from. So I don’t feel like GAME’s closing really could’ve hurt Syndicate’s sales.

    As for marketing, I do believe that Syndicate was well-promoted. New FPS IPs really need some good marketing if they’re going to get on their feet among the overpopulated FPS market.

  4. Another Major reason was to call this game “Syndicate”
    Many long time Syndicate Fans were just Disappointed seeing how a once great game turned out into a common FPS !!

    How boring and uninspired this was !

    When many first heard there will be a new syndicate they got really exited,and then..it turned Generic FPS !

    Games like Starcraft or Diablo show very well you don’t need to go the FPS route,Starbreeze could have done a super 2D/3D version of syndicate and it would have been special but like this,no wonder nobody cared.
    We have enough boring FPS out there !

    Sure the game has it fans,but it alienates fans of Syndicate !
    They should have called the Game different…at least it would have had a fair chance,but like this..it lost more then gained !

    • That’s the thing, it wasn’t just another common boring FPS. EA just pushed it out for a quick little cash grab before ME3 so it didn’t have a chance. The FPS category is overpopulated but Syndicate isn’t just another one with no identity. Reminds me of the Bulletstorm game.

  5. I think GAME going under has an affect on it but not too extreme. Like mentioned already, marketing played a huge role, at least for me it did. The videos I saw didn’t do it justice, the co-op trailer was boring and uninspired. I was semi-interested in Syndicate but that trailer nailed the coffin. Maybe I’ll rent it someday.

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