Will Chinatown Wars Hurt M-Rated Games on the DS?


The softer-than-expected sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS have at least one industry analyst suggesting that developers will be more “cautious” about releasing M-rated games for the system in the future.

Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich estimates Chinatown Wars sold 200,000 copies in March, a figure which would make it the tenth-best-selling game for the month. But that number comes in considerably lower than expectations, particularly since the game has received very high review scores and currently carries a Metacritic score of 94.

“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,” Divnich said. “It is important to note that there have been many other titles that achieved a quality score above 90 on the Nintendo DS and have failed to sell more than 300,000 units within three months in North America (irrespective of ESRB rating). “

Divnich expects the game to turn a profit for Take Two but said that high review scores don’t necessarily translate into high levels of sales on the DS, adding that the performance of Chinatown Wars could result in more “caution” among publishers considering M-rated games for the system. “The results from Chinatown are an important benchmark for the industry as it will be the best performing mature-rated title on the Nintendo DS to date coupled with one of the strongest mature-rated game brands,” he said.

“EEDAR believes the results of GTA: Chinatown Wars confirms that attempting to release a major AAA title on the Nintendo DS, targeted at a mature demographic, carries significantly elevated risk,” Divnich continued. “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 the DS.”

Source: Edge Online

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