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.
2,5 million units sold: on February 7, Amy Hennig, creative director at Naughty Dog Studios was interviewed by Ben Fritz from Los Angeles Time and said that Uncharted 2 had crossed the 2,5 million sold mark. This means that during Christmas holiday the game was pretty stable in the charts even if in the NPD chart disappeared (but in the European ones it seemed it was better received).
3,5 million units sold: now the mystery begins. Just 12 days later Hennig’s interview, in the Playstation Blog, Scott Rohde (VP of Product Development at SCEA) wrote that Uncharted 2 had reached over 3,5 million units sold. Yes, it’s written just like that: “UNCHARTED 2: Among Thieves has also garnered more than 150 other industry awards, has over 1.5 million online users worldwide, and has surpassed 3.5 million copies sold worldwide.“
So, there’s a little problem. Someone wasn’t a good boy and has lied to us.
Assuming that the first number released (1 million) is correct thanks of the strong start of the game in all the charts that we know, there are two scenarios that we should consider:
1. Amy Hennig gave us some old numbers in an interview that wasn’t focused on the game itself, but on her work in the company. But is it likely that the game sold so many copies BEFORE Christmas? The end of December is the span of time where there are monstrous sales, but Uncharted 2 slipped down the charts very quickly though remaining in their mid-range.
2. Scott Rohde has kidded us and exagerated the numbers by a fairly large amount. Or maybe he made a mistake writing the number (3 instead of 2, they’re so close on the keyboard!)
If Uncharted was at 2,5 million copies in the beginning of February, how would it possible that in two weeks the game sold over one million copies? In particular, February (and January as well) is usually a slow month in terms of video games sales, and also the new and important releases have difficulty selling over one million copies… Much less a 5 months old game!
In my humble opinion, I believe more in the hypothesis number 2.
But it’s hard to say who is right and who is not until Sony won’t tell with an official PR (a financial report would be better) how the situation is for this game. Anyway, Uncharted 2 deserved every single unit that had sold.