Thursday, 1 November 2012

5 Games that won't sell this Christmas

This time last year, I wrote a feature predicting what games I thought would get lost in the Christmas crowds. There are games released at this time of year which have success guaranteed: Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin's Creed. But then there are the lesser known games that are either good, but lose out on sales due to not being an established brand, or just plain fail to drum up much pre-release anticipation.

Sonic is just one of the heavy hitters on this year's list!
This year I found it a lot harder to make a list, and so I've chosen only 5 games that I think are destined to fail (as opposed to last year's 13). 
Without further delay, let's jump into this year's picks!

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

The original Epic Mickey was a much hyped Wii-Exclusive that came out in 2010. Pre-release people were excited about this new take on the famous mouse, with some interesting gameplay mechanics and impressive graphics 'for a Wii game.' This anticipation resulted in disappointment for many fans as, while Epic Mickey wasn't a bad game, it ended up getting mixed reviews.
The game also ended up selling less than expected so the fact that a sequel was announced was surprising for me. But here we are just weeks from release.

So why won't it sell? It has a number at the end of the title, surely that means it will be a success, right? Well, in this case, I think no. At the end of the day it is a sequel, but not to a significantly popular game. Plus, I still don't really know who it's trying to appeal to: Kids? Adults? Both? Kids like Mickey Mouse, sure. But I'm not sure if they're a fan of him in this setting. Plus, the kids game of choice right now seems to be (to my surprise) Skylanders.
So that leaves Adults, but I don't know many who have this at the top of their hyped games list. With a lot of quality titles coming out this year I think this one is really going to struggle to compete in the crowd. The only factor to keep this game from failure is the fact that unlike the original it is multi-platform.

UK Chart Prediction: A peak in the mid-20s, before the game leaves the Top 40 completely.
Sales Predictions: Around 500K max.

Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

This is a weird one. The game based on the popular Fox-animation was announced early this year, before completely fading away. Then BAM! A release date of November 23rd was announced. But strangely, we still have seen hardly any gameplay from this game bar a couple of screenshots. That's never a good sign.
So if it isn't enough that this game seems to be heading to critical disaster, there's also the bigger problem that does anyone really want a Family Guy videogame?

No Trailer for this one...
This game will release and just exist. I'm sure it will shift a few copies if just because it has the Family Guy name on it, but it won't be a big seller for sure.

UK Chart Prediction: A peak in the early-30s, if that.
Sales Predictions: Around 250K

Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth

Marvel's The Avengers came out this year to huge commercial success ($1.5 billion to be precise) and some great reviews as well. TEN ourselves gave the movie a perfect 10, being everything comic fans had hoped for while also being  a lot of fun by those who haven't followed these characters before.
Now I'm sure had a tie-in game been released at the same time as the movie it would have done fairly well sales-wise at least. But not only is this game being released at a time when the awesomeness of the film may have worn off for some, but also it is being released for Kinect and Wii U only. WTF?

The game is a fighting game (loosely) based on the Secret Invasion storyline that happened in comics a few years ago. A game where superhero's beat each other up - sounds pretty cool, right? Well, the fact that the game is being released on Kinect should be a warning sign straight away. The sensor's list of releases features very few actually good games, as it has been proven time and time again that it just isn't accurate enough to truly make players a part of the game. Now it's hard to say how the Wii U version will fair as that hardware is still very new, but I don't have high hopes.

But the really sad thing is that even if this game gets great reviews, the truth is that nearly no one is still using their Kinect, and the people buying a Wii U at launch aren't going to reach for this game first.

UK Chart Prediction: Perhaps an appearance in the late 30s before dropping out for good.
Sales Predictions: Around 200K

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed

Now while Sonic is still a force to be reckoned with to be sure, many of the so-called "All-Stars" in this game have been out of use for years and so, while remaining fan-favourites, very few of the current generation are going to know who they are. That may not be a huge problem if you just want a good racing game and don't care about characters. But then why not just play Mario Kart?

Comparisons to Nintendo's hugely popular racing series are unavoidable, but also mean that this game is going to have to be really good in order to justify existing - and while it might be kind of fun, I'm not sure if it's going to manage it. This game will come out and it will probably sell a few copies. After all, 2010s Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing did OK. But ultimately, I think when this game hits shelves, a huge "Meh." will be heard across the land, as people walk by the game and think, "Maybe I'll get it pre-owned one day."

UK Chart Prediction: Will probably peak at about 18/19
Sales Predictions: 600K max.


Let me make this really clear. I am not saying that the Wii U will be a complete failure. I am not saying that it will never sell. However, what I am predicting is that the launch isn't going to go very well.

The Wii U wasn't unveiled well. People left E3 2011 not knowing exactly whether it was a new controller for the Wii or a new console. Of course, since then all those issues have been cleared up, right? Well yes, for gamers and people who follow new console releases. But ask a member of the general public, perhaps a "casual" gamer who picked up a Wii to get fit, what a Wii U is and they might struggle to tell you. Nintendo has left it very late to enforce their advertising on those who don't know what a Wii U is, and the people who do know what it is are very much split down the middle.

Many fans are left doubting Nintendo for the first time in a while. Some fans think the console is doomed already. Some are simply waiting out to see how the first few months on sale go.
That being said, some fans had their pre-order booked a long time ago.

But generally, I think I can fairly say that many people are cautious about placing their hard-earned cash down for a Wii U, with a launch line-up failing to impress many with games that were available on other consoles months ago, and other new games that haven't quite got the blood pumping of those still sitting on the fence.

As I said before, I'm not saying the Wii U will fail. Although I have a bad feeling that the launch isn't going to be pretty.

So that's my list for 2012. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to be kept up to date on more of our features, as well as the latest news, and reviews. Thanks for reading!


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