NPD results show fall in film tie-in sales

Movie-based games see unexpected decline in latest US chart figures

Sales of videogame film tie-ins have seen a sharp decrease this year, according to new data derived from the recent NPD Group sales results in the US.

As revealed in an article from the Los Angeles Times, all five of the most prominent movie licensed titles in April underperformed in the US. Purposefully delayed from launch alongside both the film and DVD, in order to try and ensure quality, Grin's Wanted: Weapons of Fate has sold only 100,000 units since its launch on March 24.

The critically acclaimed The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena also sold only around 100,000 units. Released on March 17 the game was famously dropped, alongside fellow film license Ghostbusters and others, during the Activision Blizzard merger - before being picked up by Atari.

Even high profile tie-in Monsters vs. Aliens, published by Activision as part of its ongoing partnership with DreamWorks Animation, sold just 161,000 units since March 2. Meanwhile, Disney's Hannah Montana: The Movie sold just 65,000 units in its initial three weeks on sale.

A relative success in comparison, Electronic Arts' The Godfather II - which is only loosely based on the second The Godfather movie - sold 241,000 units, with the Xbox 360 version debuting at number five in the April top ten. However, the first game sold 4 million units worldwide and the second now seems unlikely to match this figure.

Although film tie-ins have for decades been criticised for their low quality, due to rushed releases schedules and the cost of obtaining the license, they have always been a reliable driver of sales. The relative failure of the most recent titles has also been mirrored in European sales charts, but it remains unclear whether this is a long term trend.

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Latest comments (1)

Now they're taking the time to make quality movie game tie-ins? I think the publishers think the consumer doesn't have a memory. If you make a bad game that sells well, the sequel is likely to fail. It doesn't matter if you spent more time, you've already conned the consumer once.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Maxwell Scott-Slade on 20th May 2009 1:18pm

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