Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boom Blox or Bust

According to Game Daily, Steven Spielberg and EA's recent Wii game Boom Blox sold only 60,000 units in May. With an installed base of over 10 million in North America, that's not a whole lot of sales. This is just another piece of evidence that third party games on the Wii do not sell well in general.

I don't fully understand the reasons for this. I personally love Boom Blox, and I'm not even the target demographic. My best guess is that by expanding the market, Nintendo has hit a lot more people who aren't affected by advertising in the traditional matter. They will hear and trust Nintendo products, but third parties don't get the same benefit of the doubt. If Boom Blox was the exact same game, but published by Nintendo, I would bet the sales would be significantly better.

A game like Boom Blox should be a success in the marketplace, not an afterthought. Hopefully, publishers will start to find new ways to reach people with marketing and sell to the more casual crowd who doesn't read gaming websites and magazines. This is the only way a console like the Wii will become the normal, instead of powerhouses like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 being how consoles are developed each generation.

The third-party publishers have to be on board for this, and as of now, it doesn't seem like they have a huge reason to.


  1. I think that the core problem here is that 3rd parties don't know how to develop and communicate games towards this "casual" market. While Boom Blox was well developed I don't think that the message was communcated properly.

    I think that a large part of this is because the game seems to face this image problem. While it is a great game for a general market, the game appears kiddy on the outset. This in a way restrains the marketing message.

    In converse to this, 3rd party games like Carnival Games have been successful and well marketed.

  2. I'm sure people will discover the game long after it's gone out of production, and it'll become one of those "it's cool now that it's gone" cult games like Beyond Good & Evil.

    Personally, I feel the game is overpriced, and I'd pick it up in a heartbeat for $25 or lower. I'm just not out to pay $50 CDN for what's essentially a party game.

  3. It didn't sell well because most game system owners (and more Wii owners, on the average, than that) don't read gaming sites. They just buy what they see on the shelf. And Boom Blox looks terribly average resting on the rack at Wal-Mart.

    This isn't to say that packaging is everything, far from it. There are plenty of games with good packaging that are utter crap. But to get good word of mouth so that the quality of a game can translate into sales, it has to hit a critical mass of initial purchases.

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