Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image | June 14, 2024

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Why Do PS3 Exclusives Not Sell?

This question has been asked many times: Why do many PS3 games, such as Uncharted 2, get mediocre sales?

To be clear, the sales weren’t bad; I’m sure it recouped costs and turned a profit, and it sold well compared to other PS3 exclusives, but compared to the other sales hits of the year, it’s not close. And for a game that is of such universally praised quality and so seemingly mass-market friendly, it’s puzzling.

The infamous games industry financial analyst, Michael Pachter, said:

“I’m still completely baffled at Uncharted 2’s sales… I just don’t get it.”

Now, I expect a sales analyst like this to have bad taste and to be clueless about the games themselves, but for a sales analyst to be clueless about sales? What good are you?

Anecdotally, I recently met a few people socially who happened to mention that they were really into Modern Warfare 2. I was surprised that they said they had a PS3 (I expected an Xbox). I asked what they thought of Uncharted 2, and they never even heard of it. I mean literally, they had absolutely no clue what it was, nor any interest in doing so. I asked what else they played, and they named a few sports games, but basically weren’t familiar with anything outside of the real big names: Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, sports games, Wii games, and to a lesser extent GTA/Halo/Gears. And while this is only a small anecdote, it’s a good barometer that explains this larger trend in the U.S.

Ex Sun-CTO, Greg Papadopoulos, once said:

All technology ultimately becomes a fashion item. It was true for timekeeping, and it’s definitely true of computing and telecommunications.

I think that fashion mindset applies to games. You can attribute some of the fates of video game sales to clearly understandable issues such as pricing, product quality, and advertising, but almost any long-term observer will conclude that there is a large dose of unpredictable, unexplainable, seeming randomness to it all.