April 16, 2013

Gears of War, God of War Underperform in March


This March was huge for releases; Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Judgment, and God of War Ascension were all in contention for sales.  What should have been a stellar month for these titles, turned into a let down for 2 exclusive franchises. Gears of War and God of War saw significant drops compared to previous entries that capped off the supposit trilogies. Prequels can be good for franchises and can perform admirably; Halo: Reach has almost hit the 10 million unit mark, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (technically a prequel) has hit over 4 million units, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (a prequel to all of the Zelda titles) has sold 3.64 million units. I picked these titles specifically because, like Gears and God of War, they are console exclusives and sold rather well. Gears of War and God of War (funny enough both have GoW as acronyms) were not the million sellers the previous entries mustered.

The numbers come from Cowen & Company via Games Industry International; Gears of War Judgment sold 425,000 units and God of War Ascension sold 360,000 units. Both figures are from U.S. sales and account for the month of March.

Now if we were talking about a handheld titles selling that amount in a month, they would be deemed a success. These are AAA titles, they are made to move consoles. The first Gears of War title finally pushed me to buy a 360. Though I didn’t buy a PS3 for God of War, the potential of a next gen God of War did help push the sale. To put into perspective Gears of War 3, in the same time frame as Judgment sold over 2 million copies, and God of War 3 (again same time frame as Ascension) sold 1.1 million units. Bioshock: Infinite sold 665,000 copies in 10 days and Tomb Raider sold 696,000 copies in 33 days; both of those games are multiplatform and are not designed to be console sellers.

These numbers could mean a couple of different things. It could mean that this generation is getting a bit long in tooth and the need for new IP’s and hardware is evident. It could mean that these series’ have ran their course and need to be shelved for a while. It could be a lack of marketing; did anyone really see advertising for either of these? According to vgchartz.com, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has sold 1.16 million worldwide and had a release window of March 20th(Japan), Gears of War: Judgment sold 1.05 million worldwide with a release window of March 19th (NA). Again, these numbers do not bode well for current gen AAA titles that were once considered console sellers. I have Gears of War:Judgment and to People Can Fly and Epic’s credit, it is an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately it held the same grief Halo: ODST held; was it really needed and what it does add worth the $60 price tag? Fortunately ODST went on to sell 6 million, were I think Judgment will have a hard time selling 2 million. God of War I can’t officially speak for since all I have played of the game is the demo on the PSN. From what I played, it felt like there was subtle changes, but it just didn’t feel like the spectacles the past 3 were.

Did you buy either title? What are your thoughts? In need of shelving and a try at new IP’s? Was each title worthy of their price tag?

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