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There’s a new phenomenon in the Japanese charts. First clue: it has been charting for 38 weeks and it’s still there. Second clue: it’s a new IP. Third clue: it’s Nintendo. Well, reading the title, the solution is quite easy: I’m referring to Tomodachi Collection (i.e. トモダチコレクション or Friend Collection as I prefer), a sales monster that is showing us how a simple and smart idea could win over huge investment and famous brands.
Nintendo has collected a lot of cases like this. Most of its games have a similar chart history in Japan, becoming sleeper hits with million copies sold; Pokémon Green, Red and Blue, Brain Training, Rhythm Tengoku Gold, Wii Sports, Animal Crossing are all games that had started with moderate sales and had sold constantly every week an amount of copies to the point that they reached the “million seller” status and some of them sold over 3 or 4 million copies.
Tomodachi Collection is ready to cross the 3 million mark and this might happen the next week.
It was released on June 18, 2009 and the first week went to sell 100,373 copies; a good start for a game that was announced on the back foot by Nintendo during its October conference and that had been developed by a small team at Nintendo SPD Group N.1 (although it took over three years to be develop) producing by Yoshio Sakamoto… But the first week wasn’t the best week the game; Tomodachi Collection had a strong momentum during Christmas holiday: from mid-December until the end of the month, it was able to sell over 600,000 copies!
Chrono Trigger is usually referred as one of the most beautiful jRPG of all time. Developed by the so-called “Dream Team” (Sakaguchu-Horii-Toriyama-Uematsu-Mitsuda) from Squaresoft, the game was released on SNES only in Japan and United States in 1995 and was one of the last masterpiece of the 16-bit Nintendo console. It made its return on PS1 some years ago and on DS with an enhanced porting in 2008, arriving for the first time in Europe.
At the time, the game sold a huge amount of copies in Japan, overtaking episodes from famous brands such as Romancing SaGa 3 and Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and placing itself only behind Donkey Kong Country 2 and Final Fantasy VI. In North America it achieved a more moderate success, but it went to sell on average with other jRPG like Secret of Mana and Earthbound. Here the data from SNES and PS version:
Japan (SNES): 2,030,000 copies
Japan (PS1): 330,000 copies
North America (SNES/PS1): 290,000 copies
(total: 2,650,000 copies)
Although european data are not available, there are some numbers from the other territories concerning the DS version. The game was released on Novembre 2008, and these data are until December 2008, so they are surely not so updated, but they can give a good idea of the game sales:
Japan: 490,000 copies
North America: 220,000 copies
(total: 710,000 copies)
Square Enix spied out to see how many people were still interested in the game.
Such numbers are quite good for a porting of a 13 years old jRPG, and with the european sales, a million copies worldwide seems reasonable.
So, what will the plans concerning the brand Chrono be for the software house?
It might develop a porting of Chrono Cross (the sequel came out for PS1 in 2000) somewhere, maybe on DS itself and then start the creating of the third entry in the series (well, actually there’s already a third entry, and its name is Radical Dreamers, but it is usually considered a game apart because of its limitated release and its genre). Or maybe the DS porting was only an occasion to milk the name, well knowing that there are a lot of fans in the world attached to the adventures of Crono, Marle and co.
Time will tell (and in this case, it is a proper sentence).
Naughty Dog should be really happy to continue the development of successful series across all Sony consoles; in the mid-1990s it created Crash Bandicoot, a milky brand that has been selling million and million of copies for years. On PS2, it was Jak & Daxter’s turn to represent the platform genre, and it was success again even if some adventure features had been introduced by the programmers. With the most troubled PS3, it wasn’t simple to create a new IP for the masses because they weren’t on the console at all. But Naughty Dog had changed course of action and developed an action/adventure game which could have been liked to the different audience presented on the new console. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was a sleeper hit and thanks of a good word-of-mouth and smart bundles made was able to reach 2,6 million copies sold worldwide.
A sequel was not to be waited for. Among Thieves was released on October 2009 worldwide and it started with really strong sales in both North America and Europe. But even after many months have gone by there’s a mystery around the sales of this long-waited game among Playstation 3 users. So let’s go back over some facts that we have become acquainted with.
1 million units sold: according to the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sony Computer Entertainment, after one month of its release, Uncharted 2 sold 1 million copies, being the fastest selling first party game on PS3. It was Novembre 2009.
The new issue of Arcadia informs us which are the most popular games in Japanese video arcades. Fighting games have the lion’s share, with 9 to 10 titles in the chart and Tekken reconfirms its popularity month over month.
Whilst awaiting the new Gundam vs. Gundam, NEXT is pretty steady at number 2, while we should go down until the position nr. 9 to see a non-fighting game or, at least, a non-classical fighting game: the shooter Senko no Ronde DUO by G.Rev.
Here you can see the whole chart:
1. Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion (=)
2. Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam VS Gundam NEXT (=)
3. Blazblue: Continuum Shift (=)
4. Melty Blood: Actress Again (+1)
5. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core (-1)
6. Virtua Fighter 5R (+1)
7. Street Fighter IV (+2)
8. King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match (-2)
9. Senko no Ronde DUO (=)
10. Daemon Bride (NEW)
GamesIndustry.biz makes us laugh again. The new year has come and the year-end charts weren’t enough: a new flow of charts are arriving! But there’s always something wrong. Do you remember the highest budget games Top10 come out few weeks ago and disclosed completely wrong all the more that EDGE was forced to remove the article from its site? Well, it’s coming another flop10 on the same level.
Look at the expected biggest selling games of 2010 in Matt Martin’s opinion, a GameIndustry.biz editor:
Maybe has the ‘journalist’ thought that Nintendo would have stopped to selling games during 2010?
It’s really weird to think that Super Mario Galaxy 2, the new Legend of Zelda, Pokémon Heart Gold / Soul Silver and evergreens like NEW Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Sports Resort and Mario Kart Wii won’t sell anything, or an amount of copies that doesn’t permit them to enter in such that chart. Mr Martin might have eaten a very fatty tuna melt before writing this article.
And why should a 2,5 million copies series (God of War) sell more than a 10 million copies one as Gran Turismo when its last episode, a demo (5 Prologue), has sold more than every episode of the former?
Moreover, with the February NPD data it has become clear that Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect 2 won’t be 2010 best sellers even if they have seen a good amount of copies sold. Instead, Final Fantasy XIII has already sold almost 2 million copies in Japan, but most of them were in 2009; with 3 million copies sold to retailers in the other territories, how could it be at number 2 at the end of the year?
Affaire Starcraft 2. It’s hard to say if a PC game might see such high numbers (its position is the number 3), but if nor Spore or Crysis could reach good numbers, it’s not so likely that it will the RTS from Blizzard.
If you have had a really bad day, check here and start to laugh.
The “Iwata Asks” interviews have become famous showing how funny is the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo. In this episode concerning the new games out in store in a few days (March 13th in North America, March 26th in Europe), we can read that Iwata had some important roles during the establishment of Pokémon as a brand. He says: “Studying the program for the Pokémon battle system was part of my job.” In fact, Iwata-san was the director of HAL Laboratory, Inc. when Pokémon Stadium was in development and he was in charge to port the battle system over from Green and Red to a new Nintendo 64 game.
The thing that caught my attention is the development of the first games of Pokémon (Red and Green, followed by Blue 9 months later, and the second generation with Gold and Silver). Shigeki Morimoto from GameFreak says: “Actually, at that time (i.e. 1999) we had very few programmers. That wasn’t just the case for Gold and Silver but for Red and Green as well. There were only about four programmers.”
Well, four is a very small number for a game with such those contents. It’s impossible to think that Nintendo was conscious about the success the game would have had. Only some years later the release of Green and Red, Pokémon became a commercial phenomenon in all over the world and worthy of major efforts.
It’s interesting to read this brief excursus on Pokémon history. When Green and Red made their appearance on Japanese market in the February 1996, it seemed that Game Boy might have reached the end of its life. Fourteen years later, we could say that Pokémon was the third system seller (killer application is a so obsolete term) of the handheld Nintendo console after Tetris and Super Mario Land, and the game that made Game Boy popular again among video gamers.
I have only talked about some short topics in this post, for the entire interview, check here.
I’m starting to blog a bit.
The purpose of this blog is to inform all of you (well, most of all of you) about video games sales and other things related to the videogame world. The most important idea behind this little project is the truth.
I’ve realized that a lot of video games site and magazine considered authoritative are driven by the same type of people who write in video games forums and are named ‘fanboys’. There are no differences between them; well, the former represent a noisy minority: they are only a little part of the entire video games world but they own the most influential media within it. I think it’s a problem. And I firmly think people need someone that shades light on the problem.