Forums - Sales Discussion - Article: When "Must-Have" Games do not sell, who is to blame?

I was looking at the weekly "US" sales charts over at when something completely dawned on me. Where in the hell was Uncharted: Drakes Fortune on the top 50? After all, the game has been acclaimed by many in the gaming community and was also on many lists around the net for Playstation 3 Game of the Year 2007. Uncharted: Drakes Fortune was nowhere to be found.

So seeing that made me think about a question for all of you, one that needs to be asked to the average gamer out there? When a "Must-Have" game comes out for a videogame system and it does not sell well, who is to blame?

Before we talk more about games that are acclaimed yet do not sell good, I have a few game numbers below. I have taken data from (for sales numbers) as well as (for average review scores) and I will let come to your own conclusion with these stats.

Three games come to mind when I think of "Must-Have" games that have been horrible in sales. These three games are Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (PS3), Unreal Tournament III (PS3) and Zack & Wiki (Nintendo Wii). All three games have a average rating score of about 80%-90%. I also added a few games that have a below average score (in the 60% range) that have sold pretty good. Again, you be the judge...

Game sales as of December 22nd 2007.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Average Review Score: 86.1%
US Sales: 130,732 Units
WorldWide Sales: 0.15 Million Units

Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (PS3)
Average Review Score: 90.0%
US Sales: 233,463 Units
WorldWide Sales: 0.55 Million Units

Unreal Tournament III (PS3)
Average Review Score: 82.1%
US Sales: 111,202 Units
WorldWide Sales: 0.11 Million Units

Compared to Low-Rated games

Mario Party 8 (Wii)
Average Review Score: 64.0%
US Sales:  1,799,034 Units
WorldWide Sales: 3.72 Million Units

Kane & Lynch (PS3/360)
Average Review Score: 66.0%
US Sales: 446,841 Units
WorldWide Sales:0.89 Million Units

High School Musical (DS)
Average Review Score: 67.3%
US Sales: 415,876 Units
WorldWide Sales: 0.91 Million Units

It is a rare thing, but each year good games come out on a videogame system and it sells surprisingly poor. I can remember Resident Evil 4 not selling too well because it was on the Nintendo GameCube. We also live in a age where games are highly promoted to be the "Next Best Thing" and they fall short in every category (UbiSoft's Assassin's Creed comes to mind).

We also live in a age where some people try to put a spin on sales numbers. Look at Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii. The game has sold over 2 millions units in the US alone in a matter of only a few months since it's release and some people out there in the media are claiming that the game was a failure. How can those massive sales numbers be coined "failure"?

My question to you, the gaming community is this... who is to blame for "Must-Have" games selling so few? Do we blame ourselves for not going out and buying it? Do we blame the developers for sinking so much money into a game and not knowing what the outcome will be? Do we blame the Publishers for not promoting the game with decent advertisements? Or do we blame the market with games like Hannah Montana and High School Musical selling more units then Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Zack & Wiki? Or do we blame the system makers (like Nintendo and Sony) for not selling enough system units to support such high software sales numbers?

Either way, when games like Uncharted: Drakes Fortune receives so many amazing reviews, yet sells so little units it makes you wonder what the hell went wrong? Maybe we should just blame Hannah Montana...

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Better example than RE4 is Eternal Darkness. that game was touted *everywhere,* but I don't think it sold more than 300,000 world wide LTD (numbers are not in the database here).

The problem is that reviewers represent only a small segment of the gaming community. Sometimes that small segment represents the larger population as a whole. Sometimes it doesn't. Usually it will represent the types who look at online reviews, so we're all shocked to see that the games we heard so much about sold so poorly.

Most gamers aren't the same kinds of gamers as we are. Nintendo figured this out. The rest of us just have to accept it.

New IPs are always risky and never really sell as well as they deserve. In zach and Wiki ive seen no hype or commercials other than IGN. Unreal III i dont even know anyone who actually liked it b4 but thats just me.

"Like you know"

Honestly, I think of all "low rated" games Mario Party 8 is probably a pretty bad example ...

For people who have played Mario Party 1 through 7, Mario Party 8 follows the recent trend of mini-games that seem less original and fun as many of the earlier installments. Most people who owned a Gamecube or N64 only bought 1 or 2 of these games for each platform, and Many Wii owners never owned a Gamecube or N64, so the flaws of the game are not that obvious; for them it is probably one of the best Party games available for any console at the moment.


I think lack of advertising is a huge problem. I very rarely see game adverts outside of the gaming press which very few casuals read. The only ones I can remember seeing on TV recently are Super Mario Galaxy, Kane & Lynch, and some brain training game on the DS. If Zack and Wiki was advertised properly I think it would appeal to a lot of casual gamers in the same way Mario does but no one outside of the gaming world has heard of it.

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I think I'll agree with what one guy on that site's forums said.

There are to many must have games.

PC gaming is better than console gaming. Always.     We are Anonymous, We are Legion    Kick-ass interview   Great Flash Series Here    Anime Ratings     Make and Play Please
Amazing discussion about being wrong
Official VGChartz Folding@Home Team #109453

I blame Wii Fit.

fkusumot said:

I blame Wii Fit.


Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

I blame no advertising, half of my friends dont even know heavenly sword is out yet..


leo-j said:
I blame no advertising, half of my friends dont even know heavenly sword is out yet..

Why didn't you tell him?

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club