Horizon: Zero Dawn Sells 2.6 Million Copies In Two Weeks
Horizon Zero Dawn Sales
(Last Updated On: March 16, 2017)

Given the promotion of the game and the promise of experiencing futuristic combat with robot dinosaurs, Guerrilla Games’ new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn has managed to move 2.6 million copies in physical SKUs, digital downloads and consumer sell-throughs within two weeks of launching.

Sony sent out the word via press release, indicating that the third-person action-adventure title had managed to shift millions of units since launching on February 28th.

They claim it’s the best-selling new first party IP in the launch of the PS4’s system to date. It also happens to be Guerrilla’s biggest game launch to date, exceeding even the very hyped release of Killzone 2 on the PlayStation 3.

Guerrilla Games managing director Hermen Hulst commented about the sales achievement, stating in the press release…

“We’re thrilled that Horizon Zero Dawn has been embraced by critics and players alike. Developing the game was a labor of love, so it’s extremely satisfying to see that it elicits the same passion and enthusiasm from the gaming public that we felt during its development,”

 

“This is only the beginning of Aloy’s story and our exploration of the world of Horizon Zero Dawn, with the team already hard at work on an expansion to the story.”

It’s interesting that he mentions that the game will have an expansion to the story but not a sequel.

Previously, one of the game’s producers, Samrat Sharma, had recently mentioned that Guerrilla was still undecided as to whether or not a sequel for Horizon: Zero Dawn was happening, which seems odd given the early strong sales for the game.

Nevertheless, Hulst seems to be indicating that they will continue the story through DLC expansion packs, presumably spaced throughout the year. I’m guessing they’re going to gauge interest to see how well they can capitalize on the property depending on what the feedback on the DLC will be like.

Some controversy had broken out early on before the game’s release, as many gaming websites had touted Horizon: Zero Dawn as a feminist game. Not a lot of people took kindly to this given the push back against identity politics in the gaming industry.

Nevertheless, regardless of the politics, a lot of people did enjoy the robosaur combat and the world exploration. There have been some complaints and growing discussions about Horizon: Zero Dawn’s feminist slant, which has put some gamers off but was also brushed off by others.

Early launch week sales aren’t always the best indicators for a game’s overall potential, though. Usually big budgeted titles have their strongest sales front-loaded into the first eight weeks of release, so we’ll see later on how well Horizon: Zero Dawn does by the time the quarter wraps up and summer begins to roll around.


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Pitan

    I always wary on Aloy’s character execution, but overall I really like her in the end. Not in the way I fond of her, but rather the execution itself. She’s an unabashedly arrogant and overconfident character for a good reason. She’s unlike many le smug and witty independent female character that we’ve seen in a while in many movies. And while she does arrogant, NPC will called her out when she’s being unnecessarily acting like asshole towards them. Guerrilla’s approach to make her become arrogant character, and therefore unlikable for some is a nice change of pace where main female character tends to be mary sue especially in western mainstream media.

    That being said, it’s shame that so many feminist writer try to piggyback this game just because of her. It skewed the perspective for many gamers especially in this politic heavy atmosphere that have been linger around. This shouldn’t be the case because the game focused much of its effort on gameplay exploration and combat. There’s a lot more to be said on its gameplay than “feminist agenda” and fortunately the majority of the discussions are centered around the former than the latter.

    Well the game itself got shat on by some SJW though. You truly can’t win against them as you try to please one, the other got offended:
    http://www.polygon.com/2017/3/3/14809342/horizon-zero-dawn-native-criticisms-response

    Thankfully the lead developer response to it was level-headed:
    ““That said, with the kind of culture of the internet that we have right now, it’s impossible to predict what it is that may offend,” Gonzales said. “Certainly we were not intentionally being insensitive, or to offend in any manner.””

    FFS, don’t this SJW realize that Guerrilla Games are Dutch?

  • Phasmatis75

    Going to sound like a broken record, but this is a game that was supposed to sell up to 12 million units by year’s end. Now it’s becoming apparent that it’s capping out close to a mere 3 million after years of marketing and promotion, after dumping ungodly amounts of money into shills and marketing post release, this game is without doubt a failure.

    The Tomb Raider Reboot for reference had less advertisement and shilling, and it was a failure at 5 million units sold and wasn’t profitable till it sold over 8 million units, and the game had a shorter development time with less employees than Horizon did.

    There’s not going to be a sequel. Sony’s trying to paint the game’s sales numbers as a success, but in actuality they’re abysmal for the amount of money put into this game and this is obvious to anyone who does any comparative analysis of any other games budget. It’s also telling that the game sold poorly because they first taughted it will sell figures, now they’re trying to hype up below 3 million for a triple a game that didn’t even reach 6 percent of their install base.

    The DLC exists solely to try and get as much money back as a possible and likely a chance for the developers to attempt to keep their jobs. I still expect turn overs inside Guerilla within the year that will be passed off as typical, but in fact will also involve high level employees.

    • I don’t know… at $60 a pop and 2.6 million, that’s still $156 million. Knock off 20% for distributor fees and that’s still $126 million. Even if we accounted for platform royalty fees, returns, etc., that’s still about $70 million in revenue. It had a $45 million core development budget, and they haven’t said what the marketing fees have been… yet.

      It’s certainly not a failure yet. We’ll have to see what the quarterly sales numbers look like to get a better picture. If they manage to move 4 million units within the quarter then they’ll likely consider it a consider success.

      • Phasmatis75

        Actually if you look at the anatomy of game sale (pic related) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/20646c336591961c4eafe4440c8e6aa3ae47185b1682c0bf1f786d39d9170416.jpg

        You see that it comes to about $34 per sale for Sony since it is a first party exclusive. That’s 88,400,000. Sounds pretty good right? First let’s deduct taxes. 35% Federal tax rate brings it down to: 57,460,000. There are state taxes as well, which I will not cover. The game started development in 2010 with a team of 10-20 till 2013, average salary for a developer in the UK is £32,500 or $40,296.75 times 10-20 $1,208,902.5 – $2,417,805 (at average UK developer salary, it’s probably significantly higher since they brought in freelance writers, whom make on average £12.21 an hour, but these were probably paid a significantly higher wage)

        At max the game had 250 people in the UK and outsourced coding to 100 Chinese employees. 250 times 4 years at an average salary of $40,296.75 brings the cost of developer from the UK to $40,296,750. Even though the 250 is at the peak because we know many employees earn more than the average for argument sake I am going to stick to this number as the rough estimate. Also keep in mind this isn’t totaling the amount that Software engineers would have cost or executives at Guerrilla whom would pull in salaries in the hundred thousand range. Nor does it factor in utilities, insurance, etc costs. We’re just going on pure development.

        For the Chinese works the estimate is pretty hard to estimate, but $1,515 a month is a figure I’ve found. About $18,180 a year times 100, $1,818,000 yearly for an unknown period of time, but since this was outsource the cost is higher because the company will want profits, so anyone’s guess how much that cost them.

        Now we’re down to : $17,163,250 without the ability to factor in the Chinese cost, but we can probably guess 3-5 million, but we’ll leave that sit. Also keep in mind we haven’t figured out how much the voice actors cost. At an average of $40,510 yearly with $33.82 an hour, we can probably bump off quite a bit of money, but we’ll have to let that lie. Also keep in mind we do not know how much high ranking execs at any department that worked on the game draws in salary, so that figure right now is probably closer to $10 mil. Now let’s see what licenses Horizon uses.

        Cubic Motion: Unknown but expensive
        http://www.cubicmotion.com/faqs-2/

        Navi: Unknown unable to track down

        Remascent: Unknown unable to track down

        Recast: Unknown unable to determine exact company

        FaceFx: $899 for single unit, deal for studio uses
        https://www.facefx.com/page/facefx-store

        Natural Motion Morpheme: Requires talks with sales team

        Speedtree: depends on their version
        https://store.speedtree.com/

        I’m not going to look up the rest, because of time and level of information I’m getting from trying to find out how much.

        RadTools Bink Video
        dynamixyz
        Houdini
        Sixmorevodka
        Havok:

        We can probably guess another couple million off in liscencing so we’re at a hypothetical 8 million which is eaten up by the publishing side of Sony and the some to run itself.

        Of course this is all some rough math and it doesn’t take into account marketing budget and numerous other expenses incurred by the developers. It is unknown exactly how unprofitable this game was, but given that Sony has been advertising it for over 5 years, it’s a safe bet teh advertisement budget was close to 100 million dollars, even at half that you can see the game has failed miserably. I really do love the economics of video game sales.

        Sources:
        http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2017/03/horizon_zero_dawn_cost_a_reported_e45_million_to_make
        https://www.techinasia.com/bestpaying-jobs-beijing-professionals-average-monthly-salary-1515
        Google for salaries

        • Pitan

          $45 million already includes the marketing IIRC. However, that is 5 millions extra than ME Andromeda and the difference between them is staggering.

          • Phasmatis75

            45 million does not already include marketing. Marketing is never budgeted with core development and by basic rates of employees we already can see that their development costs are above 45 million. Not counting utilities and operational costs.

            I only used that source because it had the number of employees. Basic math shows the leaked number to be absolutely bunk. Thtat’s not factoring in managements cost, utilities, and operational costs.

        • Most of the middleware is fairly cheap since they oftentimes use the same tools across multiple projects (and by cheap I don’t mean average person cheap, but cheap comparative to studio costs).

          I think NaturalMotion runs at around $400,000 or so, and they use a lot of custom built physics-scripts that tie into the engine.

          Havok also isn’t that expensive either, neither is RadTools or SpeedTree. Not sure about the others. It would like add on several hundred thousand for the project.

          They also don’t include exec pay and stuff in the operating costs, they usually separate that on the quarterly/fiscal reports.

          It would definitely have to do double what it’s done for it to be considered a big enough success to fund a sequel (and given that the engine and tools are already set, it would be a lot cheaper than the original).

          If I had to guess, it’s likely looking like it’s going to be step above the original Mirror’s Edge in terms of profitability. So a sequel goes either way, but a lot of that will depend on a number of different factors, especially in regards to software adoption rates for the PS4 throughout the rest of 2017.

          • Phasmatis75

            Owe no, the game is going to have to sell double to break even. 5-6 million is going to be sequel money, and that’s according to industry experts on how well a game needs to sell, but that’s from EA who can’t budget and apparently hire properly, so take it for what it’s worth.

            On the budget it’s going to probably look nice. Investors will be happy until they look at the total cost, and yes they will. The banks, all they care about is the short term, but there are investors who look at the long term of the cost of the entire project and they’re going to raise a stink about it. Typically companies purge problem areas to appease these investors. I mean the only group dumber than normies has got to be investors.

            The devs have already confirmed there won’t be a sequel. Like I said you can make a good number of investors happy with a decent return, but Sony isn’t going to throw more money at the studio for another game that might someday break even. They’ve already closed on Guerrilla studio, so while I would considered it a bad move, they might close the main one as well. I fully expect a restructuring at the minimal at this point.

            Make no mistake, I am firm when I say this game is likely 80 million still in the hole. If they are lucky, sales and DLC will allow them to recoop all operational costs, development costs, and marketing (if they didn’t go full Hollywood, if they did they’re never breaking even and are likely over 100 million in the hole still). Right now what you are seeing is PR for the investors. Fastest Selling franchise on the PS4 is only being put out to make the investors happy and think good things are happening, because when they’re not they tend to demand turnovers of executives, not employees.

            Horizon Zero Dawn is Sony’s worse flop in probably a decade.

          • Right now what you are seeing is PR for the investors. Fastest Selling franchise on the PS4 is only being put out to make the investors happy and think good things are happening, because when they’re not they tend to demand turnovers of executives, not employees.

            Oh I absolutely agree. Anytime they use buzzwords like that it’s an instant red flag.

            They’ve already closed on Guerrilla studio, so while I would considered it a bad move, they might close the main one as well. I fully expect a restructuring at the minimal at this point.

            They now have attachment to Kojima Productions and Death Stranding through the Decima. So they’ll need to keep some part of them alive for engine support.

            5-6 million is going to be sequel money, and that’s according to industry experts on how well a game needs to sell, but that’s from EA who can’t budget and apparently hire properly, so take it for what it’s worth.

            8 million obviously guarantees a sequel if it moves that many within this fiscal year.

            4 – 5 million within the fiscal year would probably be considered a flop, and the IP — while holding brand worth — would be shelved until they can re-introduce it a couple of years from now like Mirror’s Edge.

            To be completely honest, I have on idea how this is going to turn out based on the unpredictability of normies. I suspect core audiences will catch on, but normies are a wild card. It’s the only reason it’s tough to tell whether or not it will be profitable within the standard fiscal range set by shareholders.

          • Right now what you are seeing is PR for the investors. Fastest Selling franchise on the PS4 is only being put out to make the investors happy and think good things are happening, because when they’re not they tend to demand turnovers of executives, not employees.

            Oh I absolutely agree. Anytime they use buzzwords like that it’s an instant red flag.

            They’ve already closed on Guerrilla studio, so while I would considered it a bad move, they might close the main one as well. I fully expect a restructuring at the minimal at this point.

            They now have attachment to Kojima Productions and Death Stranding through the Decima. So they’ll need to keep some part of them alive for engine support.

            5-6 million is going to be sequel money, and that’s according to industry experts on how well a game needs to sell, but that’s from EA who can’t budget and apparently hire properly, so take it for what it’s worth.

            8 million obviously guarantees a sequel if it moves that many within this fiscal year.

            4 – 5 million within the fiscal year would probably be considered a flop, and the IP — while holding brand worth — would be shelved until they can re-introduce it a couple of years from now like Mirror’s Edge.

            To be completely honest, I have on idea how this is going to turn out based on the unpredictability of normies. I suspect core audiences will catch on, but normies are a wild card. It’s the only reason it’s tough to tell whether or not it will be profitable within the standard fiscal range set by shareholders.

          • Phasmatis75

            >Oh I absolutely agree. Anytime they use buzzwords like that it’s an instant red flag.

            See that’s why I’m finding your site so enjoyable. You know what your talking about and don’t bullshit people. 🙂

            >They now have attachment to Kojima Productions and Death Stranding through the Decima. So they’ll need to keep some part of them alive for engine support.

            They can move Decima development over to Kojima, since reports already show his team is far more capable of improving the engine compared to Guerrilla. Agreed though that is probably what they might do.

            >4 – 5 million within the fiscal year would probably be considered a flop, and the IP — while holding brand worth — would be shelved until they can re-introduce it a couple of years from now like Mirror’s Edge.

            Depends largely on how well the company budgets their title. RE:7 is considered a hit at just over 2 million with no buzz words or anything being used, though sales obviously lacked in the beginning. It also helps if you are in a nation with a weak currency because of the exchange rate and local costs.

            Normies have the same patterns they play out over and over again. Game is new, they’ll be abuzz about it, game ages they move onto something else to be abuzz by, and within a year or two if the game is legit bad, normies online proclaim they always hated it, but wanted to give it a chance.

            Keep in mind also, normies are not a market you can predict. Gamers, and fans, they’re consistent to a set degree provided you don’t alienate them (DMC). Normies will keep quiet like the silent majority, and simply just not buy your next game. This happens quite frequently. They may defend what they bought and will forever do so while not recommending it, but they are not a lot that likes to look the fool twice.

            The industry is dying a slow death because of this, but it is a death all the same.

          • Phasmatis75

            Owe no, the game is going to have to sell double to break even. 5-6 million is going to be sequel money, and that’s according to industry experts on how well a game needs to sell, but that’s from EA who can’t budget and apparently hire properly, so take it for what it’s worth.

            On the budget it’s going to probably look nice. Investors will be happy until they look at the total cost, and yes they will. The banks, all they care about is the short term, but there are investors who look at the long term of the cost of the entire project and they’re going to raise a stink about it. Typically companies purge problem areas to appease these investors. I mean the only group dumber than normies has got to be investors.

            The devs have already confirmed there won’t be a sequel. Like I said you can make a good number of investors happy with a decent return, but Sony isn’t going to throw more money at the studio for another game that might someday break even. They’ve already closed on Guerrilla studio, so while I would considered it a bad move, they might close the main one as well. I fully expect a restructuring at the minimal at this point.

            Make no mistake, I am firm when I say this game is likely 80 million still in the hole. If they are lucky, sales and DLC will allow them to recoop all operational costs, development costs, and marketing (if they didn’t go full Hollywood, if they did they’re never breaking even and are likely over 100 million in the hole still). Right now what you are seeing is PR for the investors. Fastest Selling franchise on the PS4 is only being put out to make the investors happy and think good things are happening, because when they’re not they tend to demand turnovers of executives, not employees.

            Horizon Zero Dawn is Sony’s worse flop in probably a decade.

  • Can’t say I’m surprised. With a player base of over 50 million people and advertising, you’re bound to get a decent return from the sales.

    “They claim it’s the best-selling new first party IP in the launch of the PS4’s system to date. It also happens to be Guerrilla’s biggest game launch to date, exceeding even the very hyped release of Killzone 2 on the PlayStation 3.”

    Also easy to say if you hardly ever have any AAA titles under your belt that obtain a huge surge in player numbers. Bloodborne, as critically acclaimed as it is, didn’t even reach 10 million sales – 1/5th of the current player base – and was a console seller mainly for people who had already played the other Souls games.

    • It’s more of a testament to how shallow the PS4’s exclusive library is. The Order 1886, Horizon and Bloodborne have been the only notable new IPs, and Bloodborne was basically Dark Souls with a gun.

      We’ll see if the sales pace can keep up. There’s a lot of controversy in the discussion threads about Horizon, so that’ll determine whether or not word of mouth will help move more units. The thing is, shills telling people “there’s no feminist agenda” actually works against the game, because when people find out there is, they’re going to be pissed about it. Some YouTube videos are slowly starting to pop up to discuss this issue.

      • Disqusted

        A faster Dark Souls! I really prefer the step dash stuff in Bloodborne, especially because it consumes almost no stamina. Dark Souls 3 is roll central, and that downtime when you run out of stamina really hurts.

        Horizon will speak for itself, I think. It generally sounds like it’s just an “okay” game, agenda aside, and a lot of people seem to be buying it because they heard it’s good. Doesn’t mean they will actually enjoy it. If they do make a sequel, it sounds like they’re going to need big improvements to make people want it.

      • Pitan

        The PS4 at this point is just an instant lite PC where people buy it for convenience and not having tear their head out from building their own rig. It’s fine that way really, where games sharing platform between PC and PS4. Meanwhile the Xbone is painfully barren as it turned into Gears/Forza/Halo machine, which already undermined even more by Microsoft play anywhere initiative.

        • I think the PC Lite comparison would have worked a generation ago, but with stuff like the VR-ready PC for $499 and Steam VR support for Big Picture Mode, it’s hard to see the PS4 as a PC Lite these days. I can boot up and play games faster on PC than I can the PS4 or Xbox One. Load times are miles apart, and I can’t even remember the last time I had to troubleshoot a game… it’s almost become extinct.

          Before Steam, consoles definitely had the advantage of being turn-on-and-play machines, but the only one that seems to do that these days is the Wii U/Switch. Xbox and PS4 usually have to do updates each time I turn them on, and unlike Steam you can’t easily pause or schedule updates for games.

          I think a lot of people bought a PS4 because it seems like a PC lite because they just don’t know how lite PCs have become.

          • Pitan

            Building a PC from scratch still cost a fuckton of money upfront especially if you’re aiming for PS4 Pro performance. Recent games like Nier Automata too have become more taxing that it appears and it seems become more impossible to achieve that performance at the same price. But building PC does really paid off though in the end, with cheaper game prices and whatnot.

    • Disqusted

      Yeah, I was gonna say that too. There still aren’t many games on the PS4 I actually I want.

  • SevTheBear

    Besides TW3 I don’t think I remember any DLC expansion that added anything major.

    I am pretty sure we will hear about a second game in 2 years time, unless 2.6 mil is bad for SONY