Activision employee Dan Amrich has shared his thoughts (via Eurogamer) on the how some sites have labeled weapon-based racer Blur a failure. He states that the low from May’s NPDs isn’t an indication of quality or indeed the public’s interest in Blur. According to the NPDs, 31,000 copies of Blur were sold in May, something that Amrich puts down to over saturation of racers that month: “Blur came out a week after Split/Second and the same day as ModNation Racers. I’m not sure what your budget looks like, but I can rarely afford to buy three games in eight days.” He continued “It’s inevitable that three games in the same genre at the same time are going to make people say “Well, I’ll get this one first, and look into the others when I can afford it.” A three-way race was a bad thing, because two of those three games were going to ‘lose’.” Amrich points to DJ Hero as a title that shows how ongoing sales are more important than first week numbers “October and November were soft, but after the holiday, DJ Hero had hit about 800,000 units; today it’s 1.2 million units and counting, all of which come with a turntable controller. That’s not a flop; that’s the long tail at work.” He added how June’s report would be a better example of Blur‘s saleability what with Activision offering a $20 off coupon that month and how it would have had more than a single week to accumulate sales.
I agree that a game should be given at least a month to prove its worth but the video game industry has increasingly become more like film and music with first week/weekend sales effecting decisions and making headlines. Neither Blur, Split/Second or ModNation Racers sold in excess of 100,000 units in May yet all scored an average of 82% so critically, they’re ‘winners’. In these days of gigantic franchises selling millions of units in a matter of days, it’s easy to dismiss those that take a while to get going. Still, Activision can’t be pleased at such a low figure even if it manages to significantly increase over the coming months.