Marvel's Avengers still hasn't earned back its own development costs

Group shot of the Avengers
(Image credit: Square Enix)

It's probably safe to say Marvel's Avengers hasn't been the superpowered success story Square Enix hoped it to be. Now, following the publisher's quarterly financials, it seems the Crystal Dynamics punch-up has yet to even recoup its own developments costs—but Square aren't ready to give up on the hero brawler just yet.

That news comes courtesy of a translated transcription of Square Enix's latest financial results Q&A, which saw company president Yosuke Matsuda respond to reports that the publisher suffered a seven billion yen operating loss between April and September this year—the period in which Square launched their licensed Avengers looter-puncher.

"Absent factors associated with “Marvel’s Avengers,” the sub-segment would have been in the black," Matsuda said, suggesting that they would have turned a profit if not for Avengers. "In addition to the amortization of that game’s development costs, another significant factor associated with the title was the fact that we undertook a major advertising campaign at the time of its launch to make up for delays in our marketing efforts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Later, when more directly confronted with Avengers' underperformance, Matsuda adds that they "engaged in ample preparations ahead of the launch, but it is true that there were aspects in which we were wanting."

Matsuda reckons there's still hope for the beleaguered game, though. Going into the next quarter, Square's "first and foremost" intention is to push sales of the game with new hero Kate Bishop arriving next month, and next-gen console releases due sometime in the new year. 

Marvel's Avengers isn't a terrible game, by any means. But it desperately wants to be a years-long time sink of a live-service game, a lofty goal that ultimately hinders what could have been a perfectly good single-player Ms Marvel game.

"If Marvel’s Avengers wants to keep loyalists sweet and expand its player-base, it needs a lot more flesh on its vibranium skeletal armature," Robert Zak wrote in his Marvel's Avengers review. "If only the game could carry some of its narrative prowess from the campaign over into the endgame."

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.