$725 million in 12 days.
Red Dead Redemption 2, the latest release from Rockstar Games, has just outsold its predecessor in 12 days. For some context, the original Red Dead Redemption sold 15 million copies between when it was released, in 2010, and February 2017. According to Complex, in the first 12 days of its release, the new game shipped 17 million units to retailers and it's likely that they will all sell. The dollar amount that has sold so far: $725 million.
Red Dead 2 is one of the most sprawling and impressive video games ever created. The amount of work that goes into something of that size is, obviously, huge and the developer, Rockstar, has come under some criticism lately for their labour practices. The question of where to draw the line with long hours and strenuous conditions is a tough one, especially in the case of Red Dead, which is framed by Rockstar as a sort of passion project for their employees even if, at the end of the day, there are still just that, employees.
The game has been in production since 2011, the year after the first Red Dead came out, and towards the end of the game's development, some of the people working on it “were working 100-hour weeks,” a fact that the founder of Rockstar Games openly admitted to Vulture in a recent interview. However, he later clarified that it was just him and a few others who were doing this.
Back in 2010, when the original Red Dead came out, Rockstar faced similar criticism for the stress they put on employees. Here is some of what Rockstar said, quoted from the website Games Industry:
As for the stories spreading around the internet, yes we have noticed them. Unfortunately, this is a case of people taking the opinions of a few anonymous posters on message boards as fact.
No business is ever perfect, but Rockstar Games is a tight knit team made up of around 900 supremely talented and motivated professionals, many of whom have worked here for a very long time.
We’re saddened if any former members of any studio did not find their time here enjoyable or creatively fulfilling and wish them well with finding an environment more suitable to their temperaments and needs, but the vast majority of our company are focused solely on delivering cutting edge interactive entertainment.
We’ve always cared passionately about the people working here, and have always tried to maintain a supportive creative environment. There is simply no way Rockstar could continue to produce such large scale, high quality games without this.
That being said, making great games is very challenging, which is why we have and will continue to try to keep hold of some of the best talent in the industry and support them in every way we can.
Let's just hope their employees get a nice share of the $725 million.