Hellblade reaches profitability after 500,000 sales

Ninja Theory’s experimental psychological action title Hellblade has now reached 500k units sold.

That figure means the game has proved profitable, validating the studio’s decision to release a shorter, cheaper game than you’d typically find in the genre, but with a level of quality you’d expect from a premium title.

250k units were sold in its first week back in August. Overall revenue has now passed $13m.

"The game continues to exceed our expectations,” Ninja Theory’s Tameem Antoniades said. “We weren’t expecting the game to break even for nine months, yet we have cleared it in three. This is a big deal because I’d say less than five per cent of developers make the breaking even point – it’s more like one or two per cent. The game came out of nowhere and surprised everyone."

Antoniades spoke about the game nearing profitability at the end of last month.

“It sold better than our expectations. I think it’s almost broken even, or it’s about to break even in the next couple of weeks. We weren’t expecting to break even for six, eight, nine months on this game. It looks like within three months, it will have broken even and then some. Of course, because we self-published it, it’s the first time we’re getting the bulk of the money back, which is amazing. We own the IP this time. It’s opened up a bunch of doors and possibilities that we just didn’t have until this point. In terms of a model, I’d say it is a success.

Antoniades also said that he’s been pleased with the maturity of the discussion that has surrounded Hellblade’s approach to the issue of mental health.

“I’ve been very surprised, to be honest, at how understanding people have been,” he added. “I thought the game would be very controversial, that there would be a camp that’s dead against what we were doing, and there would be quite a raging debate over whether it’s morally right to represent these things in a video game… In fact, the discussion around the game has been very mature and understanding, amongst gamers and amongst healthcare professionals.

“As you know, the gaming audience can be quite harsh and brutal when you get into discussing things anonymously online. To see quite a mature conversation surrounding this and to see people who have been touched by the game — it’s a better outcome than I imagined was possible.”

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