Connect with us

Best Of

5 Video Games That Actually Lost Money After Launching

Avatar photo
Updated on
5 Video Games That Actually Lost Money

If you’re a gamer, we know what you’re thinking – this is impossible! It’s not. Are there video games that actuall lost money?

Well, vver 5,000 video games are released worldwide every year, with all these competing for the same fan base in each genre. The success of a video game release is based on several factors. Inclusing; platform, critic score, genre, critic number, user count, user rating, and user score. The willingness of players to try the game can also be determined by marketing and the reputation of the gaming company.

In trying to make the next big game, developers use strategies such as maximizing current trends and investing a lot of money in the game software. Unfortunately, these efforts don’t always pan out. Therefore, not all games turn out to be fan favorites. This causes a decline in users, high critic scores, and finally, a decline in sales. In such cases, the gaming company may barely manage to break even or make massive losses.  To shed some lights here is a list of five video games that actually lost money and how massive the losses were.


5. Marvel’s Avengers

5 Video Games That Actually Lost Money

The developers of this game were trying to ride on the success of multiple Box office Avengers movies. However, they missed the mark. It was released in 2020 following development by Crystal Dynamics and publishing by Square Enix. Thankfully, it was available on several platforms; PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Stadia, Windows, and Xbox Series S/X.

The storyline follows a massive accident at hi-tech headquarters during its unveiling that leads to a lot of damage. The Avengers dissolved after being blamed for the incident. However, five years later, there is still a need for their services in the deteriorating world. It has new villains and battle stories for its players as the heroes re-assemble to save the world. Furthermore, it takes up to four players.

After its release, it topped sales in the U.S. and UK for weeks. However, due to its repetitive gameplay, bugs, and insufficient storylines, it had a massive player dropout. Updates did nothing to appease these issues, leading to an estimated loss of over $63 million.


4. Overkill’s The Walking Dead

This first-person shooting game’s release was in November 2018. This was following the development by Overkill Software and publication by Starbreeze Publishing. The availability of the game was purely on Microsoft Windows during its release, with plans to expand to consoles, but that didn’t happen.

The game takes place in the Walking Dead series universe. Furthermore, it is a co-op game featuring horror, role play, and action. Thus, it requires a lot of stealth and skill to escape the zombies that have dominated the post-apocalyptic world.  

Unfortunately, the video game was poorly received and received high criticism in its scores. This was because of the lack of originality; too many difficulty spikes; outdated designs; and extreme repetition in gameplay. Following its flop, Skybound Entertainment (owners of The Walking Dead comic rights) ended its contract with Starbreeze Publishing.

This led to massive losses of billions of dollars and jobs. However, the company had no way of breaking even after the discontinuation of the game. This was because of the contract break. They had to undergo a massive restructuring between December 2018 and December 2019 before moving on.


3. LawBreakers

LawBreakers’  release was in 2017 after development by Boss Key Productions and publishing by Nexon. During its release, it was available on PS4 and Microsoft Windows. Limited Run Games were the only company distributing physical copies.

It is a first-person shooter game whose initial advertisement was free to play. However, during its release, it was going for $29.99. The storyline is based on combat with two teams; one playing the law and the other, the breakers. Each has five players with the same roles but unique equipment, character backgrounds, and weapons. It is a competition to see who completes the objective given.

Unfortunately, this game was a big flop. The anticipated key reasons were the high price tag despite similarities to Overkill and being unable to create a loyal fan base. Some critics added that the game should have considered Xbox as a viable platform as it is where most shooter fans play. During its shutdown in September 2018, it had fewer than 1,000 players. The exact losses are millions of dollars in estimates.


2. Daikatana

This first-person shooter game’s release was in 2000 following development by Ion Storm and publishing by Eidos Interactive and Kemco. Its release was on the Nintendo 64 and Microsoft Windows. Furthermore, it also had an adventure game for the Game Boy Color.

The storyline is intricate and moving, beginning from the 16th century to 2455. It follows the main character, a swordmaster, who is on a personal journey to gain the Daikatana. This is a powerful sword, which he considers to hold the fate of the world.

This game’s original release was in 1998. However, due to development delays, it wasn’t ready until 2000. The first mistake they made was producing a two-page offensive ad. That didn’t go over well with the public and press. Moreover, after its release, fans noticed the out-of-date design, poor AI, poor gameplay, out-of-date graphics, and repetition in sound effects.

As such, it only sold 40,351 copies, a mere 1.6 percent of the 2.5 million copies it needed to be a success. It ended with losses of over $25 million and broken relationships. To date, many still consider it one of the biggest flops in the video game industry.


1. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

5 Video Games That Actually Lost Money

The extraterrestrial adventure game’s release in 1982 was after its development and production by Atari. This video game was only available on the Atari 2600. The company Atari wanted to ride on the success of the film E.T. by Steven Spielberg.

This storyline follows E.T. as he tries to find and collect pieces of a phone that can make interplanetary calls. To get these pieces, you have to find the specific wells that they are in. In the game, an energy bar provided on-screen helps to boost his energy. However, to keep it up, the player must guide him to collect candy pieces. Once he gets the pieces, he makes the call and awaits pick up. After the game ends, it starts again with different locations of the pieces.

Unfortunately, this game tops the list of the most unfavorable games ever. It was developed in only five months and thus had poor graphics, an oversimplified plot line, and horrible visuals. Although four million copies were in inventory in anticipation of sales, over 3 million of them were returned to the company as unsold inventory. During that time, the market had many similar games, and players wanted something different.

Atari suffered a heavy loss of $563 million and shut down. The cause of these finances is the unsold copies, the $200,000 paid to the creator, and the $22 million spent on gaining the rights to the game. This is still the biggest loss in the gaming industry.


Have you ever played any of these games? Are there other video games that actuallu lost money that we should know of? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.


Evans I. Karanja is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything technology. He is always on the lookout for interesting topics, and enjoys writing about video games, cryptocurrency and blockchain and more. When not writing, he can be found playing video games or watching F1.