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Xenoblade Chronicles Excluded from April NPD Results

by Neal Ronaghan - May 13, 2012, 3:56 pm PDT
Total comments: 30 Source: (NPD)

Aside from that, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Mario Party 9, and the 3DS sold well in one of the worst gaming sales months in recent memory.

Xenoblade Chronicles, released exclusively through GameStop and Nintendo's website in early April, wasn't factored into this month's NPD sales because NPD does not release retailer-exclusive sales data. In general, due to very few major releases, the month of April was a slow sales month for the industry.

That didn't keep the 3DS down, though, as NPD Industry Analyst Anita Frazier said "One thing to keep in mind is that the 3DS has outsold the DS by about one million units in their respective first 14 months in the market, and the DS went on to become the best-selling gaming hardware system ever."

On the top-selling games list, Mario Party 9 was the only Nintendo-exclusive title to chart on the top 10, coming in at seventh. Other Nintendo releases to chart were Modern Warfare 3 (third), NBA 2K12 (fifth), and Just Dance 3 (ninth).

Kid Icarus: Uprising, which came out in late March, was among the top 10 individual releases for the month (NPD reports sales of all platforms a title comes out on as one number), selling around 83,000 units. Spirit Camera, which came out in mid-April, reportedly sold around 6,500 units.

The sales of points and subscription cards, however, were up 75% from last April, highlighting the industry's move to the digital marketplace. Also, Skylanders characters are still selling a whole bunch. "The three character pack SKU's have sold just under 10 million units in the U.S. since their launch into the market last October," Frazier said.

Overall, video game sales were down 32% compared to last April. Frazier said that part of the reason for the lackluster sales was because Easter was in the first week of April this year, compared to last year where it was later in the month. "We usually find that Easter-related purchases generate an extra 10 percent in revenue in the month they occur, so some of the softness compared to last April could be attributed to the shift in Easter timing."

Talkback

joshnickersonMay 13, 2012

I have heard that Xenoblade did something like 220K in April, but it would be nice to have some official word.

Vrgin XMay 13, 2012

Count me as 1 of the 6000+ that bought Spirit Camera... lol.

I also bought Xenoblade, but it would be nice if we got an official confirmation....

@joshnickerson - That makes sense, considering Xenoblade was rumored to be the #3 on the sales chart by an analyst.

Still, 220k for Xenoblade is pretty solid. I don't think it has a ton of legs, but I think a limited release of that game 300k+ is decently successful.

GoldenPhoenixMay 13, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal

@joshnickerson - That makes sense, considering Xenoblade was rumored to be the #3 on the sales chart by an analyst.

Still, 220k for Xenoblade is pretty solid. I don't think it has a ton of legs, but I think a limited release of that game 300k+ is decently successful.

Not to mention if it sold 220k, wouldn't this be the most successful territory for the game? I'd think if the rumored amount sold is true, the game is close to, if not profitable now (if it wasn't before).

Chozo GhostMay 13, 2012

220k for an unadvertised Gamestop exclusive isn't bad. Had it been given a full blown release at all retailers and with promotional support it might have done 10 times better. So maybe 2.2 million in sales.

nickmitchMay 13, 2012

Gamestop runs ads for exclusive preorder bonuses. The fact that there wasn't anything for Xenoblade would be even more of a testament to 220K sales.

NinSageMay 14, 2012

Nifty numbers.  Hope all this momentum keeps going through the summer!  Good writeup, Neal!

leahsdadMay 14, 2012

Quote from: nickmitch

Gamestop runs ads for exclusive preorder bonuses. The fact that there wasn't anything for Xenoblade would be even more of a testament to 220K sales.

But the thing is, Xenoblade DID have a preorder bonus.  It's a very nice artbook and not-too-thin full color stock.  Very attractive looking.

Of course, I wouldn't blame you for not knowing about the preorder bonus, because I also didn't know about it, and I preodered the freakin' thing.  I didn't know about the preorder bonus until I walked into my local gamestop a month ago, picked up my preordered copy, and the kid who worked there said "And here's your pre-order bonus."

broodwarsMay 14, 2012

Quote from: Chozo

220k for an unadvertised Gamestop exclusive isn't bad. Had it been given a full blown release at all retailers and with promotional support it might have done 10 times better. So maybe 2.2 million in sales.

Yeah, that never would have happened.  RPGs are still a very niche genre, JRPGs even more so, and Xenoblade (despite the "Xeno-" moniker) is still a new IP .  Being extremely late to the party on Wii after all the RPG fans have gone elsewhere certainly doesn't help as well.  I could see Xenoblade maybe crossing the million-seller threshold with a proper marketing campaign, but there isn't a chance in hell that Xenoblade could have sold 2.2 million copies this late in the Wii's life cycle.

The kind of people who would buy Xenoblade were aware of its release. I doubt a wider release and more significant marketing would have increased sales by that much.

I think 220k was the best possible launch it could have had at this stage in the Wii's life. I'd argue that it would have had a much higher ceiling if it came out last year, but for such a belated release, 220k in the first month is excellent.

And that game deserves it. Hopefully next time this happens, Nintendo of America doesn't dick around so much.

MagicCow64May 14, 2012

It doesn't really count as an ad campaign, but I went into a Gamestop to pick up Xenoblade Chronicles (a week too early, it turned out) and I saw a full segment about the game on the internal Gamestop promo channel they play constantly.

NinSageMay 14, 2012

What's the source on the 220k?

From looking at some numbers from the Top 10, or at least estimated numbers, Xenoblade could not have sold 220k. There was a comment saying last April's top 7 titles outsold this April's #1 title (Prototype 2). Apparently Crysis 2, last year's #6 title, sold about 236k, while NBA 2K11, at #10, sold like 190k. That means Prototype 2, which I think we can safely say from other estimates that Xenoblade sold less than it, at less than 236k.

It's still possible that Xenoblade could have sold 220k, but I think that's a high estimate.

In any case, anecdotally, somebody at Nintendo told me they wanted a guaranteed 100,000 sales, which works out to about 20 copies per GameStop location. If they're close to double that, which seems plausible, that is very good.

Luigi DudeMay 14, 2012

The source is VGChartzs so the 220k number is false.

100k would probably have been top 10 this month, if that's the case.

NintendoFanboyMay 14, 2012

The only way i knew Xeno blade was coming out was thru NWR.
The average person wouldnt have a clue and a nonNintendo fan (multiplatformer)
Would probably only know if they heard a Multiplatform Podcast/gaming site
do a review and say it looks ughly, after it came out.
The kid at my Gamestop seemed to be unaware it was a GS exclusive and may indeed be
a limited Run.
i wasnt going to get Xenoblade but as it would have a limited run and may be next to
impossible to get after launch , i preordered.
FYI  At my GS i was the first to pick up my preoreder, and he brought out a box with what
looked like 7 copies. Sad really.
Great Game!

TJ SpykeMay 14, 2012

Quote from: NintendoFanboy

The only way i knew Xeno blade was coming out was thru NWR.
The average person wouldnt have a clue and a nonNintendo fan (multiplatformer)
Would probably only know if they heard a Multiplatform Podcast/gaming site

I saw multiple commercials for the game in the weeks leading up to and after the release, more than even other first party Wii games like Kirby's Return to Dream Land got.

ToraMay 14, 2012

The worst thing ever happen when I got my purchase from GameStop.  First, the game came in one week late, and when I went to pick up my copy, it had no Club Nintendo insert, and to top it all off, the cashier wouldn't give me a new code, even though he knew the copy was jacked.  I really, hate gamestop. 

Back on topic: I'm was sure this game was going to make it in the top five.  I could have sworn there was a rumor about Xenoblade being number three for the April NPD charts.  It's that true?

BeautifulShyMay 14, 2012

Tora that was an analyst prediction that it would be number 3. As far as the validity of that prediction not really sure. Best thing to do is to just wait till Nintendo releases numbers for it.

ToraMay 14, 2012

@Maxi:

Yeah, I hope Nintendo releases the numbers soon.  I read on VGchartz (not the most legit website) That it sold over 200k in April.  I hope those numbers are true, because then NoA would look pretty idiotic if they are.  Considering that would be well over the sales for the Europe and Japan regions, in lifetime sales. 

TJ SpykeMay 16, 2012

Quote from: Tora

The worst thing ever happen when I got my purchase from GameStop.  First, the game came in one week late, and when I went to pick up my copy, it had no Club Nintendo insert, and to top it all off, the cashier wouldn't give me a new code, even though he knew the copy was jacked.  I really, hate gamestop. 

The only way they could have given you a new code is if they took one from another copy of the game (screwing someone else), since Nintendo packs one copy with each game. You don't know he knows someone stole the game or anything.

nickmitchMay 16, 2012

Quote from: leahsdad

Quote from: nickmitch

Gamestop runs ads for exclusive preorder bonuses. The fact that there wasn't anything for Xenoblade would be even more of a testament to 220K sales.

But the thing is, Xenoblade DID have a preorder bonus.  It's a very nice artbook and not-too-thin full color stock.  Very attractive looking.

Of course, I wouldn't blame you for not knowing about the preorder bonus, because I also didn't know about it, and I preodered the freakin' thing.  I didn't know about the preorder bonus until I walked into my local gamestop a month ago, picked up my preordered copy, and the kid who worked there said "And here's your pre-order bonus."

I knew about the preoder bonus, but I was just saying that if exclusive DLC is worth a commercial, then why not an exclusive game?

EDIT:

Quote from: TJ

I saw multiple commercials for the game in the weeks leading up to and after the release, more than even other first party Wii games like Kirby's Return to Dream Land got.

Really? I didn't even know there were commercials for Xenoblade. I must be watching the wrong shows.

Chozo GhostMay 16, 2012

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: Chozo

220k for an unadvertised Gamestop exclusive isn't bad. Had it been given a full blown release at all retailers and with promotional support it might have done 10 times better. So maybe 2.2 million in sales.

Yeah, that never would have happened.  RPGs are still a very niche genre, JRPGs even more so, and Xenoblade (despite the "Xeno-" moniker) is still a new IP .  Being extremely late to the party on Wii after all the RPG fans have gone elsewhere certainly doesn't help as well.  I could see Xenoblade maybe crossing the million-seller threshold with a proper marketing campaign, but there isn't a chance in hell that Xenoblade could have sold 2.2 million copies this late in the Wii's life cycle.

I think we would all agree that Reggie should have released this game a year ago. Whatever it did now, a year ago it would have done much better. So this is Reggie's fault... that, and the delay in bringing over Pikmin 2 as well. Still, better late than never, but he still deserves criticism for being so slow in delivering the fans what they want. It is his job, after all.

nickmitchMay 16, 2012

Does Reggie actually have the final say for which games come out in the US? And the time difference only really affected the number of import sales. This game wasn't destined to be a million seller in the US. That's just a fact.

Most of what NoA has done different this generation (not releasing Disaster/Another Code/Last Window, the OpRainfall debacle) appears to have been because Reggie has more control.

It could be that he has no say at all, but if that were true, we'd see NoA being a lot more like NoE.

Ian SaneMay 17, 2012

NOA didn't get any negative reputation for not localizing titles until Reggie was in charge.  It's just logical to assume that he is involved in this somehow.

I really like Xenoblade but I can't give NOA pretty much any praise for localizing it.  It took a fan driven campaign and another company to step in before they released it and this was after a very lean year for the Wii where the fans were begging for anything to play and they could easily slotted this in.  Begrudgingly doing what you should done a year ago only after getting nagged and having someone volunteer to help is not worth any sort of pat on the back.

Chozo GhostMay 17, 2012

I have a bad feeling that when we get well into the next generation there are going to be some really awesome Wii U games coming out in Japan and Europe but because Reggie will still be running the show it will just be the same bullshit all over again and NA fans will have to fight tooth and nail and wait a year or two to get what the other regions already got.

nickmitchMay 17, 2012

If it was all Reggie, then he clearly fucked up and probably knows he fucked up. I doubt he would make the same mistakes in two gens.

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