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GTA: Chinatown Wars sales a 'disappointment'

Mature handheld game sells under 90,000 units, analysts slash full-year expectations for DS title

Rockstar and Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars sold under 89,000 units during March in the US, according to the latest investor note from Cowan and Company.

The firm had originally suggested the game could sell as many as 2 million units in if first year of sale in the US, but has now slashed forecasts to just 500,000 units.

"Despite a strong critical reception, Take-Two's GTA: Chinatown Wars sold a very disappointing 89,000 units in March, well below our more recent 200-250,000 estimate and far below the 400-450,000 we thought the title might sell upon its release," wrote Doug Creutz.

Although sales did not meet expectations, Cowan suggested it was an indication of the difficulties third-party publishers face in the Nintendo market, and not due to the quality of the title.

"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," detailed Creutz. "We knew there were some uphill challenges due to the demographics of the platform, but believed there were enough core gamers/adults owning a DS that the title could still perform very well.

"However, either the demographics are more challenging than we thought, or core gamers did not view the title as an essential purchase due to the nature of the platform.

"We believe the experiment was a worthwhile one for Take-Two, and still expect the title to be profitable (though likely marginally so). However, the disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers," he added.

US sales results from The NPD Group last night revealed that March software sales for the US were down 17 per cent to USD 792.83 million, comared to USD 952.14 million for the same period in 2008.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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