The Dead Space mystery – 1.5 million sold, 3 million played

Last year’s Dead Space from EA’s Visceral Games (then EA Redwood Shores) can be considered a commercial success. The title sold over a million units in 2008, not bad for a brand new IP competing with big Christmas games like Fallout 3. But as happy as studio manager Glen Schofield is with the sales, there’s still something on his mind, namely the fact that the amount of people who played Dead Space compared to the people that actually bought it is around double. Weird.

Speaking on EA’s official podcast, Schofield stated, “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.”

Used games sales are an increasing concern for publishers and developers, especially in the current economic climate, so it sounds like EA missed out on a lot of potential sales. Some developers have tried to counter this through online modes to keep players hooked, or promise DLC so consumers hang onto their copy. Dead Space doesn’t feature an online mode or any DLC past new weapons and armor. Of course, there’s also other things to consider like multiple Xbox and PSN accounts playing through the game on the same console.

Perhaps the developer upcoming prequel, Dead Space: Extraction will churn out better results.