I was looking at the weekly "US" sales charts over at www.VGChartz.com 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 www.vgchartz.com (for sales numbers) as well as www.gamerankings.com (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...