Hard as it may be to believe, a California-based research group, Electronic Entertainment Design (EEDAR), has somehow discerned that only four per cent of games make a profit. The research, carried out for Forbes, took account of some data relating to around 6,000 games, catalogued since 2006.
Forbes intention in commissioning the research was to determine whether it was possible to create a game, using 'ingredients' that made other games successful, to make one 'super-game' which would be guaranteed commercial guess. EEDAR's conclusion was, simply put: no.
Apparently 60 per cent of the average game's budget goes towards it being redesigned or reworked. Statistically, adding features such as co-op and competitive multiplayer almost universally lead to an increase in sales - the better these modes being the better the boost to sales they provide.
Given companies such as EA and Ubisoft, which publish an almost ridiculous number of titles throughout the year, still manage to stay in business, one has to assume that a small proportion of games that do make a profit do so to enough of an extent that they compensate for the failures.
It turns out I was right to be puzzled about that four per cent figure. EEDAR was misquoted by Forbes; the four per cent is games that enter production. Of those that actually make it to market 20 per cent turn a "significant profit" - not quite such bad going then, games industry.