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February NPD Sales Figures: Time to gloat

Sales figures now up.


PlayStation 2 351.8K
PlayStation 3 280.8K
PlayStation Portable 243.1K
Xbox 360 254.6K
Nintendo DS 587.6K
Wii 432K

Top 10 SW
Top-Selling VG Software - February 2008

360 DEVIL MAY CRY 4* CAPCOM USA 8-Feb 295.2K 2
360 TUROK TOUCHSTONE 8-Jan 197.7K 8

What can I say? I called it.

Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360 outsells the Playstation 3 version in the United States by a good margin. Let it never be said that Xbox gamers only play First Person Shooters. I always believed that that idea was a fallacy being spread around by Sony fanboys who didn't want to lose any more exclusives to the Playstation 3. Xbox players enjoy games from a variety of genres. That's now a fact and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. DMC4 is quite a unique game compared to its Xbox brethren but despite that it overcame the odds, and the game sold very well. The strong established base of the Xbox 360 practically guaranteed its incredible sales, and these numbers do tell the story. Capcom absolutely made the right decision by going multiplatform with the series; they're reaching more gamers and establishing the series as a key franchise for their COMPANY. It's clear that the DMC games were never made for any specific hardware company, it was made for the success of Capcom and Capcom alone, and it represents their amazing pedigree in the action game genre. Capcom is now reaping the benefits, and takes the bragging rights, taking the number 2 spot on the Xbox 360 platform.

Lost Odyssey sells 200,000+ copies on its first month in the United States. I've posted before that it only needed to sell at least 100,000 copies to be a successful JRPG. That said, it has already broken the curse for non-Final-Fantasy JRPGs. It shows that great game design coupled with excellent marketing can sell a game in a genre that, over the course of time, has become less popular in the United States. Lost Odyssey sold 200,000 despite lackluster, ill-informed game reviews from game journalists who thought it wasn't part of their job to finish games before posting reviews. No wonder gamers didn't pay any attention to the 7 and below scores that the game got from review outlets. 200,000 is an incredible figure for a new JRPG series from, technically, a no-name developer (Mistwalker/Feel-Plus) that's just starting out, using a development kit that they had challenges in making use of. The gamers have spoken, Lost Odyssey is a great game, and no casual-skilled game reviewers could deter them from knowing that fact. Gamers these days are sharper now; they can see ill-informed reviews for what they are and rely mostly on gamer feedback/reviews from the gaming community at large.

Lost Odyssey's sales also benefitted from a television commercial which used an unusual soundtrack; instead of opting for music from the game, the developers allowed Microsoft to pick a soundtrack that's recognizable in US pop culture. Granted, perhaps the ad didn't work when showed to audiences outside the United States (based on comments I've read from youtube and other forums for users in Europe or Asia, some of them wished that Nobuo Uematsu's music was used instead), but in the US, the advertisement might have resounded more culturally with the audience there, and I think Microsoft should take heed of the fact that this approach really works. It's interesting to note that the same approach was done with Gears of War, and we all know that that game was very successful in the marketplace as well (despite being a very violent, mature rated game). I think this goes to prove one thing...if you market your game as a piece of great entertainment (over marketing it traditionally, straightforward, as a game), it can resound well with your audience and can even win over gamers who normally wouldn't buy into the genre of the game that you're selling.

Mistwalker originally decided to develop Lost Odyssey as a JRPG focused for the gamers in the United States. That decision is now paying off for them in spades. Mistwalker now has a PROFITABLE FRANCHISE with a rapidly rising fanbase in the United States, and Microsoft won't be letting them go anytime soon! A lot of ill-informed gamers will tell you that the game failed in Japan and that's the end of it. Don't let them fool you....Lost Odyssey is a game collaborated upon by Microsoft and Mistwalker not necessarily to take the Japanese market alone. Lost Odyssey is their bid for product diversity on the Xbox 360. They're trying their best to appeal outside of the first-person shooter market, and lose the stereotype (that has been branded upon them by gamers and media outlets) that their console is only for first person shooter games. The overwhelmingly positive response from gamers everywhere on forums and user review sections clearly shows that Mistwalker has succeeded in appealing to the American audience (arguably, the most important market for video games in the entire world, today), and it establishes that they understand the market well enough to make a game that feels Japanese but has broader appeal. Now that these figures just got released, Square-Enix must be shaking in their boots. They're making Final Fantasy XIII (five of them!) without the talent or know-how of Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu, and now that those two guys have proven that THEY'VE STILL GOT IT, the pressure on Square-Enix is at an all-time high. How can Square-Enix succeed in the West without the talents in Mistwalker? From an artistic standpoint, I think Final Fantasy XIII is doomed to mediocrity. Of course, it will likely sell well because it's Final Fantasy; but I think it will usher the beginning of Square-Enix's downward slide into obscurity; it's their pride before the fall.

Other observations:

Again, the Xbox 360, relative to other next-generation game consoles, continues its utter dominance in software sales, taking 5 spots on the top 10 NPD sales, more than the Playstation 3 (with one game) and the Nintendo Wii (with only two games).

Call of Duty 4 continues its never-ending reign in the United States, taking the top spot. I think a lot of people are buying Xbox 360s to play this game in particular. It just goes to show how great a game it is. I recently got to try it (bought it from a discount store, scratched; it worked for a few levels but eventually the disc was unreadable) and it really does deserve all the positive praise that it has been getting. I already ordered a brand new copy; the only reason why I haven't been able to get it is because the game is always out of stock!

I'm surprised Rock Band isn't any higher on that list. Actually I would have bought the game; it's already available here in the Philippines, but it's REGION-LOCKED. Since my console is Asian I can't play the US version that's being sold in stores here. That said, it's probably a factor why Rock Band isn't selling better than it should be; then again, it's probably difficult to produce all the instruments that come with each set. The demand's likely high, it's just that EA isn't able to fulfill it. (EA should just use the money that they were supposed to use to buy Take-Two Interactive to improve their supply for Rock Band....I guess that's never going to happen...)

Sakaguchi must be real happy about this news!

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