Poor Sales Of 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' Killing Future Of M-Rated Games For DS?


Posted April 13, 2009 - By Raymond Padilla


Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review »

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was one of the most important releases for the Nintendo DS in years. Numerous publishers have been eyeing the game to see if a mature-rated title from a hugely successful franchise could succeed on Nintendo's handheld platform. Although the installed base of theDS is enormous, some publishers feel that it's almost entirely the domain of younger and casual gamers. Market research firm EEDAR has numbers that back up that way of thinking, predicting that Chinatown Wars sold only 200,000 units in March. In a recent interview with Gamasutra, EEDAR's Jesse Divnich said:

"It appears the industry may have been over-zealous with initial expectations on how GTA: Chinatown Wars would perform based upon the news it had received one of the highest quality scores for a Nintendo DS title. With the majority of publishers currently taking a risk-adverse stance, we expect this to slow the growth rate of future mature rated titles on theDS." 

If EEDAR's numbers are correct then Divnich's analysis is spot on, but some are questioning the accuracy of the company's estimates. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pacther believes that the game "might sell as many as 450,000 units for the five-week month of March". That's a significant difference.

Still, even 450,000 isn't that impressive when you consider the tremendous installed base of the DS and the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Perhaps it didn't sell because GTA fans want a visual experience that the DS can't offer. Or maybe the majority of DS owners aren't gamers that buy M-rated games (the aforementioned kids and casuals). I'm surprised and disappointed by EEDAR's numbers; I was hoping Chinatown Wars would sell like crazy so that publishers would grace the DS with more interesting M-rated titles. No offense to EEDAR, but I hope its estimate is wrong.

Did any of you buy Chinatown Wars? More importantly, are there any DS owners reading TheFeed that chose not to buy the game? If EEDAR's numbers are accurate, do you think this kills the future of M-rated games for the DS?


Poor Sales Of 'Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' Killing Future Of M-Rated Games For DS?


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