Which Games Will Flop This Holiday Season?
Every year around this time, the video game industry goes into overdrive, hammering the public with glossy advertisements for the hottest new games. The weather is getting colder and winter holidays are coming up, meaning that gamers have more time to spend indoors with their favorite pursuit. World-renowned bookmaker Ladbroke even hosts betting on the outcome of the Christmas sales rush. There are inevitably big winners every year – the games and systems that sell in the millions because of their quality or the strength of their marketing. But where there are winners, there are inevitably losers.
Which games of 2008 are destined to disappoint at retail? We’ve already seen a few flops so far, but there are bound to be more. Industry analysts have been busy speculating on which titles will end up selling fewer than expected numbers this holiday. Here are some of their picks:
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe – An awesome fighting game with a small and easily-distracted core audience. Lots of other arcade fighters compete for scarce cash this year as well, meaning that this game could get lost in the sea of “I’ll pick it up later”.
We can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to play this.
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Need for Speed Undercover – This comes as somewhat of a surprise, given the performance of the franchise in the past. Weak reviews and lack of fan interest have dampened sales.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts – A colorful and fun game that will probably sell well on the Xbox 360. However, poor reviews, repetitive gameplay and the lack of a strong casual audience on the system means the game won’t be a blockbuster.
There is a heavy emphasis on vehicle building in Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows – What? A game that has been lost in the marketing noise leading up to the holidays.
Midnight Club: Los Angeles – Got off to a slow start but is showing signs of a late-stage comeback. Strong reviews have helped push this title into the disk trays of arcade racing fanatics.
LittleBigPlanet -- This social/physics/platformer has struggled to carve out a new niche for itself amidst lots of more typical releases. It has been selling fairly well (250,000 in North America) but not at the level that many analysts had initially hoped.
Wii Music -- Very disappointing sales across the board have prevented this casual rhythm game from capturing mass appeal. Reasons for its failure include the lack of licensed music tracks and the simplicity of gameplay.
Shaun White Snowboarding -- Fans are hungry for a current-get snowboarding title, but the marketing effort behind this game has been weak. Without a strong advertising campaign, the title could be forgotten amidst a buffet of other games.