Games based on movies show less than stellar sales.
It has become common that a video game will be released alongside a major motion picture. In addition to the usual critical malaise surrounding these games, an article from the New York Times reports that licensed games also sell poorly. The article mentions that of all the licensed games published last year, only Enter the Matrix reached the top 10 in NPD sales charts.
One of the major factors retarding the sales of such games is the tremendous negative history. Only a few have broken through to become huge successes. Dan Hsu, editor in chief of EGM, notes:
Generally, we feel that they stink. We've gone through entire generations of movie-based games that were just no good at all. They are certainly getting better. The Lord of the Rings games, for example, are more highly polished. But gamers are used to a lot of bad stuff in the past, and they are expecting more.
According to the New York Times, one reason the publishers continue to license is to reach the mainstream audience. Publishers can piggyback on the massive marketing already paid for by the movie studios giving the game an easily recognizable brand. Even so, hardcore gamers still drive the market. Acceptance within the serious gamer community will often garner mainstream support eventually. These gamers are like the kindling which can lead to the million seller mainstream fire. As Mr. Hsu puts it:
Everyone is trying to make gaming more mainstream, but it's still the hard-core gamers that get it started. Look at Halo. That's not a franchise sequel or a licensed property, but the word of mouth from the hard-core community really drove the larger market and made it the success that it is.
The link connects to the highly informative and detailed New York Times article. You’ll need to sign up for a free account, which is well worth it, especially considering their increasing coverage of gaming related issues.