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Catherine. Last February I tried to figure out the reason why Catherine had been so successful in Japan, the first Atlus HD title, far from the role-playing game genre thanks to which the company has built a solid reputation throughout the years. Last numbers from Japan say that the game went to sell 186.086 units on PS3 and 21.571 on 360, even if the latter are just data of the first week. Anyway, as expected, Catherine sold almost the entire LTD in the first period, because of its otaku-oriented nature (this target typically buys on day one). Time had passed soon and the game made its debut in North America reaching an important goal: it’s been Atlus USA biggest launch title ever, as IGN reported some days ago, surpassing the opening of titles as Demon’s Souls (150.000 copies during the first month), Trauma Center: Under the Knife and Trauma Center: Second Opinion (225.000 units sold for both as of January 2009) and Persona 4 (125.000 units sold in its first two months). Apparently, the weird puzzle-game featuring mature relationship with a hot chick who likes eating pizza has sold 200.000 copies in the first 7 days. To retailers, obviously. We’ll have the chance to see in the next NPD data how this number is effective. Sex sells, who knew?

The Idolm@ster 2. The raising simulation game developed by Namco Bandai was released on February 24, 2011 exclusively on 360, even if a PS3 porting has been announced to be on the way, coming in October (so I’ll have another chance to talk about the series). I put my sales expectations within the 50-100.000 range, since the brand had grown a lot and preorders were quite good at the time. Well, I was totally wrong: the idol game failed to surprise and debuted with just 34.621 copies in the Media Creat chart, slipping outside the top 30 the week after and then disappearing forever. It doesn’t appear in the top 100 of the first half of 2011 so it’s quite impossible it has topped the 100.000 mark. I’m sure that The Idolm@ster 2 will find more success on PS3, but I do still think that a PSP version could save the boat better…

Ni no Kuni. Level-5 x Studio Ghibli awesome goddess continued to sell quite well after the the 4th week which I reported along with the LTD until that time. Its last appearance in Media Create chart dates back to the end of March, weird for a role-playing game, even if a lot of price discounts were applied by retailers. Famitsu has recently reported that Ni no Kuni ends to sell 550.158 copies as of June 2011, close to the initial shipment of 600.000 units. Hence, it’s possible that the game has reached this mark so far. By the way, shops have been more reluctant to ask huge shipments from Level-5 when it came to big packages: Little Battlers Xperience, a new thin-mech jRPG targeted to a young audience released with a robot model, suffered shortages during the first weeks, but now it seems the demand has been matched and the game is on the way to reach the 300.000 copies sold. Good game Level-5!

999. I smelt the success of this very niche point-and-click adventure game in the United States more than 7 months ago, and recently Aksys confirmed my feeling. First, it had been almost impossible to find the Chunsoft title immediately after the release, so its price peaked absurd levels on Amazon and other websites, then the publisher overseas stated comforting fans who were worrying about it:

Haha, no, not discontinued, just sold out. We should be receiving our re-order any day now and retailers, such as Amazon, should receive their replenished copies sometime next week, if everything goes according to plan ;) Our online store will be restocked as well, so we’ll be offering the 999 bundle (game + watch) again on it :)

This clearly proves a good of performance of such a great game, praised by the critics and loved by videogamers.

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 Professional. Square Enix failed again to provide a fair shipment for one of its most important 2011  game (about which I was able to figure out a likely LTD), as what exactly happened with the first episode of this series on DS. Professional is just an expansion of the Joker 2, therefore the company didn’t believe in a great performance but the younger audience of the console has been happy to prove again the strength of own team of monsters, and the game went to sell almost 500.000 copies (again, Famitsu data of the first half of 2011, even if Media Create has the game at more than 550.000 copies as of the last track) starting from roughly 150.000 copies in the first week, and beahving particularly well during the Golden Week, even if some sold-outs were reported in April. The last effort of Square Enix on DS exceeds all expectations, now let’s how Rocket Slime 3 will perform on 3DS this Winter.

Atlus has been quite reluctant to jump over the present generation of home consoles, in particular PS3 and 360, relying on more confortable environments, such as the handheld consoles and PS2.
Did it get wrong? Watching the result of its first HD game, I would say so.
Catherine topped 160.000 units in the first week across the two console where it had been released, Ps3 and 360.
In particular, sales are split as following (Media Create data):
141.826 – PS3 version
21.936 – 360 version
Total: 163.762


According to the numbers Atlus expected, 150.000 units to be precise, that’s an incredible result and strange as well. Catherine is not a jRPG, it doesn’t properly fit in the classical Atlus line, consisting of series as Shin Megami Tensei, Persona and Etrian Odyssey, and it’s not even resembling stand-alone games like the Vanillaware titles. The game has some adventure components but as a matter of fact it’s composed of two different systems: during a portion of the day, the protagonist will be immersed in a novel, with dialogue to handle and relationship to cultivate, while during the night, a sort of puzzle game will take place; here he must climb up a huge staircases, made with blocks to push and pull and strange characters who impede the ascent. That is, not a conventional game.

But it sold as hell during the first days: why?

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