We earlier wrote about how Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain cost 80 million dollars to Konami. (And even then, the game is unfinished, Hideo Kojima‘s game really begins to show this from Chapter 2 onwards.) We still don’t know anything about worldwide sales data about MGS V, so we can only guess wildly about it. They only said they shipped three million copies after the first week.
However, in order to equal out their costs and end up not losing anything on this game, Konami needs to sell five million copies. (They have the chance to do so, as it’s a multiplatform development: it’s been out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.) You could easily say that it’s roughly 300 million dollars! Sure, but count the fact that not all money lands at Konami actually.
Marketing (now this is one of the most expensive segments for an AAA game), distribution, production fees, retailer margins, and this usually drops the money to half. Then, you have to consider paying a gross percentage to devs, and you end up with around 16 dollars a copy. You need five million copies to not lose a penny on the game – it’s possible to pull off.