a blockbuster AAA title failing to achieve a publisher's retail targets.
Just looking at the three AAA titles you mention (Hitman, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider) all clocked up significant sales, as you say TR even getting the fastest sales in the series history, and clawed back nice little profits but were deemed 'failures' by the publishers because they didn't reach sales targets. Maybe the fault isn't the games but that the publishers are coming up with sales targets they've plucked out their collective arses based on fairy dust and the sales gained by anomalies like CoD.
Come up with more realistic targets (or heaven forbid just look at "did we make a profit") and the whole industry starts to look a lot rosier.
I agree with Cunning, publishers sales target dictating yearly releases at £5 premiums, you know who I'm talking about, are, in my opinion, economic downturn aside, a huge part of the problem. (Wow that was a lot of commas but grammatically correct I think!!)
I'd be curious to see how happy the publishers, such as Square Enix and their view that Tomb Raider underselling despite it being the best selling in the franchise, would be to sell a game a lot cheaper than the competitors to rake in the numbers of units sold. It could be the kickstart the industry needs. I suspect there's little chance of that happening but :
800,000 units @ £45.99 = £36,792,000
1,200,000 units @ £30.99 = £37,188,000
I reckon all the consistent Tomb Raider reviews coupled with a £15 price drop would have scraped together at least those extra 400k units, I certainly would have bought one at that price. I understand my economics a little basic and there are overheads among other factors to take in to account, but that price difference is seen on the PC versions of the game and for too long console gamers have been paying 30 to 40 percent more than the PC counterparts, where I'd expect the dev costs to be slightly higher.