Nintendo’s Cammie Dunaway says the company is “frustrated” by the fact that in spite of stellar ratings, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars remains a relatively poor seller on the Nintendo DS.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is an odd little game. It received almost universal critical acclaim when it was released and packs a Metacritic rating of 93; it also sold terribly, banging out only 89,000 in its release month, less than half the sales predicted by analysts, which were themselves well below Nintendo’s expectations. Many observers saw the disappointing numbers as the most convincing evidence yet that core games just don’t sell on Nintendo platforms; after all, if a new, highly-rated GTA title won’t move units, there’s not much hope for anything else.
“It’s frustrating, quite frankly,” Dunaway, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo of America, admitted during an interview with MTV. “There have been mature titles – Resident Evil, the first Call of Duty – that have sold over a million units and with something like GTA, there’s great content there.”
One of the biggest problems, she said, has been a lack of marketing support for the title. Nintendo expects the game to have a “long tail” but she said the company needs to continue to support the title into the future in order to attract new gamers and build a following. “Part of what’s needed is, you have to continue to put marketing support behind these titles,” she said. “It’s one of the things that we’ve really learned over the past few years.”
“The old dynamic of, ‘throw it on television for a few weeks and then move on and forget it,’ just doesn’t work, because consumers are out there, new consumers [are] coming in all the time who are interested, so you’ve got to keep coming up with ways to expose it,” she continued. “So I hope that that’s something that they will do with GTA.”