Tuesday, November 16, 2010

[Commentary] GTA: Chinatown Wars sales figures

Around a year ago now (I won't bother checking), Geoff Keighley mentioned on his Facebook page that GTA Chinatown Wars would be coming to the PSP. There was much rejoicing and statements alluding to the idea(s) that it should have always been there in the first place or that the DS was poison to IP of an adult nature.

I simply wrote: "Bad idea".

Chinatown Wars was -and still is- one of the best games on the DS, both in terms of looks and gameplay. Many loved the classic, less story-laden action. My statement that it was a bad idea to port it to PSP was due to the fact I didn't think PSP owners would be that interested in it. Partially due to the graphics, but also because a lot of PSP owners at that point had grown bored of it and many pirated the lesser-known games. The fact many would consider this a "port" meant it didn't really have a chance of selling the millions its predecessors did. This move also ran the risk of alienating hardcore Nintendo fanboys who were intending to buy it, but felt "insulted" by it losing its exclusivity (yes, that does happen).

Going back to the DS, the other reason I felt it didn't sell well initially (apart from the "will this work? I'm on the fence" attitude) was due to the story. I just didn't find the whole Chinese gangs storyline or characters that compelling. And I imagine many others didn't either. You could see this from the ads, none of which compelled me to buy the game.

Anyway, I'll wrap this up, because -as usual- I've talked for way longer than I was intending to. 

A year ago I said "bad idea", I now get the opportunity to say "I told you so":

So, what should have Rockstar done instead? Released a sequel on the DS within the same 12 months, with a different setting and alternate "gimmick" to the drug collecting. This would have captured the interest of those indifferent to the Chinese gangs storyline and re-ignited sales of the original. I'm somewhat convinced (in the little world in my head where I'm always right) that this would have resulted in total sales for both titles of over 2.5mil.

Till next time (around a year from now if previous updates are anything to go by); adios.

Note: I'm aware VGChartz figures aren't always the most up-to-date or accurate, but I usually find they're missing numbers rather than overestimating them, so in terms of averages rather than exactness, these numbers still justify my point.