2K Games was only convinced to release WWE 2K 14 last year after the wrestling organisation agreed to reduce its royalties.
That’s according to CageSideSeats.com, which has word from the Wrestling Observer newsletter writer Dave Meltzer that the publisher instead wanted to hold back its first WWE title since its post-THQ agreement with the company until this year.
“2K Sports didn’t want to do the game right away, preferring to launch late 2014,” Meltzer said. “After not making much money off the video game in 2013 due to the THQ bankruptcy, WWE didn’t want to go without video game money for the 2014 books because that’s tens of millions and it would look really bad for Wall Street, and give an illusion of a company falling in its licensing.
“So in cutting the deal WWE was getting royalties at a substantially lower rate. They will start to make significantly more money once sales reach a certain level.”
The saga is impacting on the talent, too, with wrestler Mick Foley complaining that video game royalty payments have been on a downward trend.
"Another top tier star noted to us that he earned more than six times more two years ago from video game royalties than this year,” Meltzer added. “Last year’s royalties off the video game were way down because of the bankruptcy and everyone expected that. But the expectation was this year would be back to normal levels, and instead it was a small percentage of what it used to be.
“With the exception of the super merchandise movers like [John] Cena and [CM] Punk, the video game royalties are the biggest supplemental income the performers have. Since Foley publicly said what he did, we got notes from three major names and their video game checks were in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, and two years ago they were $70,000 to more than $100,000."
The report comes at a time of wider discontent within WWE, with claims that failed investments such as its themed Times Square restaurant and early struggles for video streaming service WWE Network have seen WWE cash reserves dwindle by 20 per cent over the last three months and that the company could run out of cash within a year is the satiation isn’t changed.