Why Did Twice As Many People Play Dead Space As Bought It?

In studying how Dead Space sold, a key stat loomed large for EA.

EA's Glen Schofield, studio manager for the company's Dead Space team at Visceral Games, appeared on the second episode of EA's official podcast to talk games, mention that Dead Space had co-op during some of its development cycle and explain the company's take on Dead Space's sales.

And he dismissed the thought that what held Dead Space back was a lack of online play.

Here's their key exchange, at 22 minutes, 56 seconds of last week's episode:

We looked at how many we sold. We also looked at — we didn't have online which is one of the big features that you need to have to kind of keep it in the house a little bit longer these days. But then we also did studies on sort of how many unique users there were on the PSN network and Xbox Live. And realized, you know what, there's over three million people that have played Dead Space. Maybe we've only sold 1.5 million or whatever the number is. But there's something there because that means that, ok, there were a lot of used sales. So there's a lot of people when I go out and talk to [them]… it seems that everybody has played it or heard about it or whatever.

One of the podcast's hosts asked Schofield if adding online was key. Had there been pressure to have an online?

I think it's bang for the buck is really what we're looking at right now these days and going: 'OK, we came out at 60 bucks and so did some of these other games that had online that maybe people could play for 50 hours, right? Or they had tons and tons of PDLC [paid downloadable content] so they could play it for 40, 50 hours again. Or we were up against Fallout, which was a 50-hour game to begin with. So, we didn't look at it and say we have to have online. What we said we've got to be bang for the buck. Some people could get through our game in 10 hours or so, so we learned.

For the record, Dead Space did have PDLC, in the form of several optional downloadable suits. But it had no narrative expansions, purchasable multiplayer modes or other offerings issued for games such as Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5 and more.

06-30-2009 EA Podcast