Could Games Be Getting Harder To Sell?
Perhaps consumers, as in gamers, are just toughening up a bit. That would be something.
Last week I discussed Ninja Theory and Capcom’s DmC: Devil May Cry’s poor sales and the dangers the franchise may be facing as a result. What was significant about DmC is that usually, despite all adversity, gamer complaints and hatred, controversial triple A games still go on to sell incredibly well, and this was a rare case of the negativity actually dramatically affecting sales performance. Many gamers said that all the negativity wouldn’t matter once the game was out and ended up being a financial success regardless, but that didn’t seem to be true here. And it could be happening again.
Recently, I learned something about Dead Space 3 from CVG, and again it’s to do with sales. While Dead Space 3 is currently enjoying the number one spot on the UK charts, Chart-Track, a retail monitor, revealed that the first week sales for the game were down 26.6 percent compared to Dead Space 2, its predecessor, which also debuted at the top of the charts. Of course not all gamers who purchase or even like a game will necessary run out to buy its sequel, but a noticeably large drop like this is a cause for interest. Furthermore, the retail monitor revealed that the Xbox 360 version of the game made up 65 percent of sales, while the PS3 version accounted for 31 percent of sales, which left the PC version making up four percent of sales. Just for the sake of interest, Dead Space 2 was closer with 56 percent of sales being on Xbox 360, and 40 percent on PS3, with the last four being for PC.
Now, if you’ve been following Dead Space 3, you’d know that many fans and gamers reacted quite badly to the game’s heavy emphasis on action and cinematic, explosive moments. Like DmC, there is controversy here, and perhaps even more so with the business of the microtransactions and eleven items of day-one DLC thrown in. Admittedly, despite those horrible little things, I expected Dead Space 3 to kill the sales because its action approach would be more widely appealing, and I also expected the game to be thrown inflated review ratings like they’re free candy. Yet, the game currently sits in the seventies on Metacritic, and we’ve learned that its sale performance in its first week is significantly below that of its predecessor. Of course, we’ll only know the real situation a week from now, because the proper sales figures usually get released two weeks after the game’s launch, but right now it looks like it’s the second triple A game this year to not be getting the royal treatment by any means.
This has lead me to wonder whether games could be getting harder to sell. And obviously since the cost of them hasn’t changed it doesn’t have anything to do with that. Are consumers toughening up and smartening up, not throwing their money at just anything? Are expectations and standards rising? Will triple A games need to work harder to achieve the level of success they used to enjoy? These are all questions that may not be able to be answered until far later in the year, as we only really have had two triple A games this year, both of which were controversial. But they are questions, and they have me intrigued. Personally, I’d hope that consumers are toughening up, as some publishers and developers need huge kicks up the backside, but only time will tell. Cue me laughing evilly.