How Bethesda’s review policy affects its game sales

    Bethesda analyzed the effect of Bethesda’s review policy on game sales.


    About a year ago, Bethesda initiated a new review policy for its titles. The company doesn’t provide pre-release copies of its games until one day before the official launch.

    Since that day, the company released four titles, Doom, Skyrim Special Edition, Dishonored 2 and, most recently, Prey. And even if the new system initially led to speculations about the quality of these titles, all of them received good, 80-ish scores on Metacritic.

    In a recent article, analyised how the new policy affected the game sales, with interesting results.

    Tripple-A productions have usually a strong first week after release. Still, physical sales drop typically by ~70 percent after week one.

    Doom turned out to have a rather disappointing launch week, but after the reviews came in, the shooter’s physical sales dropped only 35 percent. Three months later, the company announced that the game hit the 1 million sales on PC.

    Skyrim Special Edition is not the best example for the new system. Many players had already played or heard of the original Skyrim and knew about the game’s capabilities. As a result, the title performed well in its first week and sales dropped only 53 percent after.

    Dishonored 2 however couldn’t meet this success. The game’s week one sales remained below its predecessor’s. With reviews rolling in, the title’s sale numbers dropped only 52 percent, but it remained under the radar until Bethesda lowered the price.

    Prey launched just earlier this month. And like Doom, it struggled with rather weak sales at launch, but only dropped 32 percent in week two. But overall, the numbers remained low.

    As conlcudes, the new policy had not much effect on game sale numbers. In general, it trades a strong week one, followed by a steep drop, for a weaker launch but a stronger week two. For more details about the policy and its effects, have a look at the original article.