Dead Space Sales Surge Thanks To High Review Scores
The video game industry, like many other entertainment industries, is driven by name and brand recognition. This is why it can be extraordinarily difficult for an IP to compete with established software franchises. But even so, EA appears to have beaten the odds with Dead Space, as the project sales numbers may even outstrip EA's own expectations.
According to Edge Online, Electronic Entertainment Design and Research's Jesse Divnich thinks the stellar survival/horror title sold 470,000 copies in its first week of availability last month. And if any of you are still wondering about the power of video game reviews, Divnich says there's a definite positive correlation between the high sales and the high review scores.
"Based on our data, both retailers and EA were likely expecting sales in 400,000 range for the first month in the U.S. We believe all of the upside came from the high quality scores. This situation is identical to last year's big hit, BioShock, which didn't really pop onto a lot of consumers radar until the quality scores came in."
Perhaps surprisingly, Divnich goes on to say that a publisher "never" expect their game to break into the coveted 9+ range, but if it happens, they're almost guaranteed of having excellent sales. In fact, the difference between a game that scores a 8.5 and a 9.5 is quite substantial. He says-
"...No publisher ever expects a game to achieve review scores above 90 percent. Typically, games that achieve a quality score above 90 percent sell three times more than games in the 80 to 89 percent range. It is simply just way too risky for a publisher to assume that quality scores will surpass that mark, and because of that, they cannot assume they will get a sales lift either."
In the case of Dead Space, the average review scores hover right around that exemplary mark of 9.0, but before the glowing feedback arrived, supplies ran low in stores throughout the world during the game's launch week. Divnich says this suggests that either EA or retailers (or both) "were conservative with their supply figures." But once the reviews started pouring in, the vast majority of which recommending a purchase, sales skyrocketed. The only small downside is that due to the game's short length (it may only take 6-8 hours to complete), there have been lots of trade-ins. But that doesn't really affect EA; the game has already been purchased, and although they don't benefit from the used resale, it's unlikely they'll complain about Dead Space's fine sales performance.
Related Game(s): Dead Space
11/11/2008 Ben Dutka