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Retail

Darksiders II sells just 247,000 copies in US

Darksiders II sells just 247,000 copies in US

Fri 07 Sep 2012 8:28pm GMT / 4:28pm EDT / 1:28pm PDT
RetailGames

Michael Pachter estimates that globally it's "probably over 1 million" by now

The NPD Group has informed GamesIndustry International that THQ's Darksiders II sold just 247,000 units for the August reporting period - that's despite placing first on NPD's top 10 chart, which shows just how weak retail software sales have been.

THQ was actually back in the black in the company's first fiscal quarter, and new president Jason Rubin has made it clear that THQ is narrowing its product slate to focus only on the games with the greatest potential.

Reshaping THQ to be lean and mean and profitable will take some time, and it's hard to say whether Darksiders will last as a franchise.

"I think that the sales are below what they had hoped for. I presume it sold around 500,000 globally in the first two weeks (the NPD cutoff was Aug 25), so it's probably over 1 million now, but my understanding is that breakeven is greater than 2 million units, so it's not likely to get much higher than that," Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter told us, adding, "We should probably give it another month and see if it's tracking better."

Developer Vigil is enormously talented and Darksiders II was received well critically (84 on Metacritic), but will this slower than expected start mean Darksiders is done? Rubin told GamesIndustry International back at E3 that "Vigil is an incredible talent. I think we have to look at the products they're doing and see if we can make something that perhaps hits the market more directly."

THQ was not available to comment on the sales and future of the franchise as of press time.

16 Comments

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
Darksiders II will easily surpass its required target sales in the long run.


Looking at week 1 retail and calling it at that is simply...to be kind, stupid.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

968 1,161 1.2
@ Jim No, it probably won't. I doubt a game like that will ever do much more than 2 million units, which as Pachter said is their breakeven point. This wasn't cheap to make and was heavily advertised, and it's really not that stupid to look at week 1 in retail and make a call on a hardcore game. Other than a select few "big dogs" core games stop selling after 60 days on the market. People have lost interest and moved on to something else.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Jason Sartor
Copy editor/Videographer

105 33 0.3
I eventually will get this game, but games drop in price quickly and steeply, not to mention GOTY editions with all the DLC at two-thirds the original price come out six months later making purchasing new games at release a waste for me.

As examples: Using the $30 off coupon in Gamer magazine (the Best Buy pub that cost $15 for a yearly subscription) I picked up Batman Arkham City for $9.99. I did the same with the $30 off coupon for Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur last Saturday for $9.99 and Walmart dropped the price of Uncharted 3 and Infamous 2 to $19.99 each. So I picked up all four games in the past two months - brand new - for a total of $60. Knowing that Darksiders 2 is going to see a price drop to $39.99, then $29.99 in the first six to eight months make justifying paying $60 on day one out of the question for me. Most likely it will drop to $19.99 at some point and may be a coupon special at some point, too.

I learned my lesson with Borderlands - as great as a game as it is and I played many, many hours and enjoyed it and the DLC and found the game to be worth full price and full price for the DLC - it still stung seeing the GOTY edition with all the DLC go for $29.99 and then a special to $19.99 after I spent $100 for it all. Patience is very often a virtue.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jason Sartor on 8th September 2012 5:23am

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
Nicholas, I suspect this game will have some longer legs than the average core game will. First, you have the Wii U effect. That alone will boost some sales. If, IF, it's already at 1 million sales as Pachter claims (Could also mean it sold 100,000 or 10,000,000) then I don't think it will be too hard picking up the remaining million to hit the breakeven point which is what my post was referring to.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
I really hope it's not the end of Darksiders, really liking the game, the first one was also really good once you got into it, and I love the Darksiders Universe. It would be a shame not to see more of Strife and Fury.
I'm guessing those NPD numbers don't include Steam sales. It probably is a more console-centric game, but without full sales, how can you comment on sales?

Posted:A year ago

#5

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
I picked it up on day one. Something I hardly ever do. I have no regrets. Its a good game. I really hope this is not the end of darksiders.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
The industry needs to DROP the "weekend box office" nonsense and let games find their niches over a longer period of time. Especially in such a crappy economy where people are looking for bargains, hating on pre-order and DLC schemes and in general, not pleased with a lot of what's going on with game prices. I'm holding out for a price drop on Darksiders II myself, as I'm not able to run out and snap up all the games I'd like these days and yup, I don't mind waiting a few months.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Matt Walker
Production Coordinator

41 23 0.6
Perhaps the problem is that, in order to keep gaming as a financially viable industry, we have to accept the idea that games need to be cheaper to hit a wider audience, and that dev costs need to be reduced. 2 million is a high bar to hit to break even. Perhaps we need to scale down the content provided per purchase to make the game within a more reasonable budget.

I think the way Journey was made is interesting: small team over a long period of time, focusing on creating a small, high quality game for a relatively cheap price.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

517 731 1.4
@Greg - And how do you expect they can magically just do that? Once a game's been out more than a week retailers are already burying new copies of the game behind second hand copies they can recycle over and over for larger profit margins. New sales only get shelf life in the first few weeks after release.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

458 254 0.6
Not suprised at all. I have the 360 version that keeps freezing at regular intervals during play. Overall, despite the reviews, I found this less enjoyable than the first one ironically because there was no block and the buttons seem to have been laid out with an octopus in mind (just try locking onto a creature while also selecting which magic or skill to use!) What the hell happened to a simple and obvious inclusion like pull right trigger to initiate lock on and pull again to break? Why the hell am I having to hold it down?

I doubt many who got this game recommended it to friends as a must buy.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

542 528 1.0
Probably one of the games of the year for me. Day one purchase. Darksiders 1 was a bit of a sleeper hit, i honestly hope the second installment (which is fantastic by the way) will break even and ensure the continuation of the franchise.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Andy Samson
QA Supervisor

223 170 0.8
Just 247K? And this is what, XBOX360, PS3 and PC combined? During the same time, New Super Mario Brothers 2 sold 240,000. Considering there are much less 3DS' in the US than all those 3 systems combined, it's rather selling really poorly. Maybe some people are holding out to get it for the Wii U to build up their library.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,374 1,021 0.7
Once again, these figures don't include digital sales. Not from Steam, not from Amazon.com, not from GMG. So, whilst they may indeed be multi-format sales figures, they mostly reflect 360/PS3 sales.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Hugo Dubs

164 24 0.1
Even if the game is good, I won't say it's a must have. I didn't finish it yet, and it remains beside the ps3 for at least a week now.
I agree with the target lock thing, but this is not what disappointed me. They kept saying that they implented an exploration and RPG way of playing, but in fact this is just bullshit. You keep finding better weapons and armors kill after kill, without having to make any strategic decision about it. This is just no sense...

But buy it guys, cause it's a good game in front of what we have on the market. Good mix between a god of war and a zelda.

Posted:A year ago

#14
Looking forward to this but it will probably be about 6-9 months before I pick it up. Simply because my cost of gaming is time and not really the money. I could afford to get it but there seems no point when it will be this long before I pick it up.

Which leads me to ask if many analysts, publishers or even retailers seriously consider this and that the long term treatment of games sales will allow most titles to turn a profit even if it does not become a break out hit.
Word of mouth lead to slower but steady sales of the 1st game which was initially outsold by Bayonetta (it's primary competition in Jan 2010).

Surely there must be some reconsiderations of how to continually market a game and provide roads and reminders to customers about the product?

Steam has been a great way to repromote many games that have perhaps been pushed to the side at retail, but many of their promotional methods could be implemented by many major online retailers like Amazon, etc.

And what happened to bundles for game packs that can help rebuild franchises and generate revenues? Ubisoft have done this recently both in retail and online such as a pack that contains Assassins Creed, Beyond good and evil, the latest POP and splinter Cell among others. All these revenue streams and efforts are heavily employed in other creative industries - surely it should be done to a greater degree in games (since we technically have those models already).

I say all this as I wonder how many other gamers are like me, and may seek to pick this up in late 2012 or early 2013 - but we may forget about the title?
Strong word of mouth and online promotions (which are very cost effective) work wonders and the recent admission regarding Amnesia proves that. Sure that's a much cheaper title to produce and is at a more attractive price point but these methods could still work for almost true AAA releases like this.

Thoughts?

Posted:A year ago

#15

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