GTA Chinatown Wars Sales Are a Major Disappointment

April 17, 2009 -

Sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars have been a major disappointment, according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Citing data released yesterday by NPD group, SAI reports that only 88,704 units of the critically-acclaimed DS game were purchased in March. Published estimates by video game industry analysts had suggested that GTA: Chinatown Wars would sell in the 200,000 - 450,000 range:

So how did Take-Two flub a sure thing? Chinatown Wars was built for the wrong console. The title -- whose gameplay centers around drug dealing, cold-blooded murder, and sex -- is only available on the Nintendo DS, who's primary audience is children. Parents refused to let their kids play, and the adult DS audience just isn't that big...

 

Chinatown Wars may yet find life down the road, but all in all a rare misstep from Take-Two. And the winner here might actually be Sony (SNE): The Chinatown Wars disaster will likely scare other publishers away from making new adult-themed games for the Nintendo DS. Some may redirect efforts towards Sony's PSP, which targets a somewhat older crowd.

Reacting to the poor numbers put up by GTA:CW, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz reduced earnings estimates for Publisher Take-Two Interactive:

What Happened? Take-Two exported their most valuable IP onto the most widely distributed gaming platform, and created the most highly-rated title in the history of that platform...

 

The disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers.

Comments

Re: Sales of GTA Chinatown Wars Are a Major Disappointment

I don't own a DS, but if I did, it would be to enjoy the sort of fun, light-hearted games for which it's known. I like hardcore games as much as anyone else, but I also enjoy the sort of relaxing ones that Nintendo is famous for. I simply love Lego Star Wars on my Cube, for instance. So if I owned a DS, that would be the sort of game I'd be looking for, especially given the DS's limitations; when I want to play an "adult" game, I'll do it on my comp with its big monitor and controls I can use without having to move the screen around when I react to the action.

So while I applaud Rockstar's attempt to bring more grown-up games to the DS, which I think it needs, they shouldn't be disappointed when they miss their target audience, who prefer serious games on serious systems.

 

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Re: Sales of GTA Chinatown Wars Are a Major Disappointment

The DS has a large adult audience but perhaps as a lot of those adults were buying it for titles like Brain Training, it maybe the wrong adult audience for this game.

As a 26 year old, DS owner and fan of the GTA series I've just got no interest at all in this game and honestly I couldn't think of any reason for that other than I'm simply not interested in that type of game for my DS, I would much rather have the next Phoenix Wright or Professor Layton game, and yet I know if it had been on the PSP and geared towards that system I would have bought a copy by now.

 
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