Spinning Tony Hawk: Shred’s Abysmal Sales
The NPD may not be publicly sharing sales numbers anymore, but that’s not keeping analysts from making the figures known. And that’s just what happened on Wednesday (Nov 17), when industry analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen and Company revealed that DJ Hero 2 sold only 59,000 copies in its first month available (sounds like Conduit, Red Steel 2, and (insert game here) all over again), but more importantly, another Activision title, Tony Hawk Shred sold a mere 3,000 copies (granted, the game released on October 26, giving it only five days). Shred is the skateboard peripheral follow-up to last year’s disappointing Tony Hawk Ride from developer Robomodo, who is now officially removed from Tony Hawk development duties.
Activision has certainly been reveling in the fantastic sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops (more on that later), but the sub-5,000 sales numbers for a giant publisher’s holiday title is surprising. Certainly there are many titles released to first-month sales like this, but not often from a huge company with massive marketing powers.
You can snowboard as well as skateboard in Shred
When asked by Gamasutra to comment on the sales, Activision CEO of Publishing Eric Hirshberg said, “There’s hopefully a method to that madness.”
He continued on to emphasize it was targeted to kids, apparently a first for the series, and is very “gift-oriented,” meaning Activision hopes sales will strongly pick up with holiday shopping. The game has already been highlighted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a top-12 gift for kids this holiday, and while only eight websites have reviewed the title so far, only one of the eight reviews was negative. Perhaps a turnaround will in fact occur.
Infinity Ward “Over” Its Previous Problems
While praising developer Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops’ record-breaking $650-million-in-five-days sales, Activision parent Vivendi’s chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy acknowledged that Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward (the same game and developer who previously held the 5-day sales record) has “got over” the fallout that resulted from its founders and a large swath of other employees quitting the company earlier this year. Levy elaborated, “We have reconstructed Infinity Ward, [and] we are very happy with the way we have been able to reconstruct it.”
We’ll have to wait and see if this restructuring means that Infinity Ward will actually remember Nintendo hardware when its next game in the franchise comes out (which should be Modern Warfare 3). Previous Infinity Ward Call of Duty titles Modern Warfare 1 and 2 either skipped Nintendo hardware altogether or required Treyarch to come up with a port years later, as was the case with Modern Wafare: Reflex Edition.
Treyarch has always been a Nintendo hardware supporter and simultaneously released Wii and DS versions of its Call of Duty titles alongside the 360 and PS3 versions. Sledgehammer Games, a new developer under the leadership of ex-Dead Space developers, has not had its upcoming spin-off on Call of Duty revealed, so we don’t know if that developer’s title will show up on Nintendo hardware.
Controversial Black Ops Ad Scores Highly, But Not With Women
Ace Metrix, a company that quantifiably measures the effectiveness of television advertisements, has stated that the controversial Call of Duty: Black Ops commercial, which shows men and women (and apparently a “little girl“) of all backgrounds wantonly shooting and bombing each other without mortal repercussions, has “one of the highest attention scores that we’ve seen.”
Boom goes the dynamite. “Little Girl” is on far right.
Yet digging into the demographics, the atypically appealing video game commercial resonates most with young males age 16 – 20, but is apparently offensive to older women age 36 – 49.
“Women thirty-five and older did not like the ad, with many commenting about the violence, but then again they aren’t likely to be in the market for war-based video games,” Ace Metrix Chief Executive Peter Daboll said.
Love it or hate it, the commercial is definitely getting the most talk amongst us– at least since the great Metroid: Other M ad.