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The Real Reason Square Enix's Avengers Bombed In Sales

It's not every day you hear the words "Square Enix" and "Avengers" in the same sentence, and when news spread that Square would publish a game based on the world's mightiest heroes, audience excitement burst through the roof. Judging by sales numbers, the result missed the mark by far more than a mile.

According to a report from industry analyst David Gibson, Marvel's Avengers cost well over $100 million to produce but only sold about 3 million copies, resulting in a net loss of about $63 million. That's less than Anthem, a game where a lot of things infamously went wrong. So, what went wrong with Avengers? While Square Enix is tight-lipped on the hows and whys, a quick dive reveals numerous issues more troubling than Deadpool's internet search history.

The first problem that likely hamstrung Avengers' potential earnings was the news Spider-Man would swing into the game as a PlayStation exclusive, which caused an uproar among Avengers fans. Unlike the actual Spider-Man game, Avengers is available on multiple consoles, yet basically two-thirds of the playerbase were locked out of the Spidey experience, and they did not like it one bit. The question arose why Xbox One and PC players should pay the same amount as PS4 owners for less content. Given Avengers' profits, they probably didn't. Many non-PS4 players might have voted with their wallets and refused to purchase the game.

However, one sliver of console exclusive content that angers fans does not a bomb make. There's more to the Avengers profit woes than just one wall crawler, and these issues popped their heads up throughout the game's life. When Avengers was announced, audiences complained that the characters looked ugly. Even though the developers listened to fan feedback, it was too late to make a good first impression. Matters didn't improve when the game's beta, which was meant to give the public a first-hand look at the upcoming experience, tripped over its own feet with connection issues. Audiences don't like when they are given flashbacks of the infamous Diablo 3 "Error 37," which locked players out of tons of content.

Even after Avengers launched, critical reviews tore into it with adamantium claws. In stark contrast to praise of the game's story, many sites and critics roasted Avengers' repetitive gameplay, buggy nature, and lack of meaningful loot. Additionally, a stinging swarm of corporate cash grab accusations blanketed the internet, claiming the game was an excuse to sell overpriced character skins, emotes, and finishers.

If you could sum up Marvel's Avengers' problems in a single sentence, it would essentially be: The game makes the same mistakes as Anthem — and also imprisons Spider-Man on PlayStation consoles. You know what they say: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Given the sales numbers, audiences didn't want to be fooled twice or pay for a version that costs as much as other renditions but features less content.