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Poor sales myths debunked

Poor sales myths debunked


The games media is often quick to jump on games and hardware for supposedly poor sales and to attribute all manner of consequences to these so-called poor sales. Sometimes a game might be out for, like, an hour and someone’s already pointing the finger of blame at something or other. Massively successful titles like LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted 2 have been labelled failures when, quite simply, they haven’t been. I think the success of those two high profile examples is now widely understood, but some poor sales myths still abound. Here’s a handful for your delectation…

Note: All sales figures taken from VGchartz.com, which means none are 100% official or necessarily 100% accurate. However, VGchartz figures are thoroughly researched and widely considered to be the best publicly available data.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Total sales approximately… 1.5 million
How can this be? How can a Grand Theft Auto title have sold less then 10 million copies? Surely this is a disaster! No, not really. A million and a half sales is pretty good for any third party handheld game, especially an adult rated one. We doubt Rockstar lost much sleep over this.

Mirror’s Edge
Total sales approximately… 1.8 million
Now, given the substantial marketing campaign thrown behind it, Mirror’s Edge did get off to a slow start, and it did get heavily discounted by many retailers shortly after its launch. But through it all, Mirror’s edge still shifted almost 2 million units. That makes it a very popular game, thank you very much.

DJ Hero
Total sales approximately… 2 million
If you thought DJ Hero failed then you must’ve thought, for some reason, that it was expected to match Guitar Hero for sales, or something. Why you would have thought that, I do not know. Relative to Guitar Hero, DJ Hero is always going to be a niche title, but at 2 millions sales and a presumably very healthy mark-up on those decks, it still has what it takes to bring in some serious dollarage.

Rock Band 2
Total sales approximately… 4 million
In December last year Harmonix layed off 39 employees. “It must be because Rock Band is a failure!” cried people who hadn’t even bothered checking sales figures. No, Rock Band 2 sold a very healthy 4 million, while The Beatles: Rock Band clocked nearly 3 million. Those are some very good, money-spinning figures for two expensive titles. Redundancies, sad as they always are, don’t necessarily work that way.

Total sales approximately… 58.7 million
The PSPgo? Yes. That failed. Old platform, less functionality, much higher price? Yeah, that one was dead before it even got out the door. It remains a mystery how anyone thought it would work. But the PSP as a whole? That’s a winner. Yes, it’s sold less than 50% of what the DS has, but the DS is the second best selling console ever after the PS2, so selling nearly 50% as many units is incredibly good, especially considering Nintendo had the handheld market pretty much sewn up with the Game Boy. Software sales and software quality? Well, those are different matters…

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  • anon

    I was happy with everything you said until you implied the PSP had low quality games. You also implied low software sales, but this actually true for the most part.

    Quality? Well, the Monster Hunters, The Persona’s, and The JRPGs in general actually out number and usually out quality the JRPGs on consoles.

    The problem with a lot of PSP games (Especially western ones) is that they try to be like console games, and fail. I don’t want to play Socom/ GoW/ Dante’s Inferno/ etc games on my PSP, I’ll play them on my PS3/PC/where ever they belong.

    There’re lots of very high quality games on the PSP but they only fall into a few genres, and if you aren’t interested in those genres it may seem like there are few quality games but then yet again the DS falls in those genres too.

    The only exception is that DS has more quality platformers and than the PSP but the main games on the DS are shovelware, platformers, puzzlers, oldschool, casual stuff and JRPGs.. which isn’t far off what the majority of the PSP gamesa are.

  • Sean

    Definetly agree with you about the PSPgo, what were sony thinking?? They already had a perfectly stable product with the PSP, it doesn’t appeal to me at all and alot of others it seems.