Fable 3's performance is great news for Microsoft, Xbox 360 division
On Monday we highlighted Fable 3 as one of the titles to watch this week, as I wrote: "Fable 3 sales will indicate the health of the Xbox 360 brand." The Lionhead-developed title is arguably more 'hardcore' than the audience the Kinect peripheral is aiming for, but it is still designed as a very accessible game. Considering that it is leading all video games for this week, that's good news when many Xbox 360 ownders will also be spending $150 next week on the Kinect.
As we've made clear, Fable 3 is number one. Rounding out the top 5 in North America are Just Dance 2 (Wii), Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board (Wii), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (Xbox 360), and Red Dead Redemption (PS3). The performance of LucasArts' The Force Unleashed 2 is worth nothing, especially since the game has met with some rather harsh reviews. In fact, together with the performance of Fallout: New Vegas last week, and the pattern so far this fall is that existing franchises are dominating the console space in the U.S. That said, the performance of Read Dead Redemption after being out for several months now is quite impressive, despite being attributed to a price cut.
Perusing the charts further, other games worth nothing are the dominance of first-party games on the Xbox 360. The standard edition of Fable 3 takes first place, obviously, but the limited edition also cracks the top 5. Also selling very well despite having been out for six weeks is Halo: Reach, at number 3. In Microsoft's earnings call yesterday, they stressed the importance of games like Reach to the bottom line of their Xbox 360 division, even with hardware sales continuing to be red hot.
It seems possible, without knowing exact unit numbers, that the Playstation Move may finally be picking up momentum in the U.S., as it now cracks the top 5 in PS3 sales. Sony would no doubt hope that a hardware peripheral would attract a high percentage of its install base to the platform, but as we noted some time ago, they also expected initial sales of the Move to be weak.
Also worth nothing is what doesn't appear: music games. We already know that sales of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and DJ Hero 2 have been disappointing. We asked the question "are music games dead?" The latest big release for 2010 is Rock Band 3 which is garnering rave reviews, yet it has failed to crack the charts on any platform. It's a little too early to dismiss the genre out of hand, partly because Rock Band 3 carries a hefty price tag for families who haven't purchase previous games in the series. Also worth nothing is that the "pro" instruments, which are designed to complement the extra level of accuracy in the game, have been plagued by shipping delays.
With the lack of availability of those peripherals, the high price tag, this game is positioned as a family Christmas present type of purchase. That noted, if Rock Band 3 fails to hit the charts at any point in the holiday season, then it might be fair to say that the music genre is indeed "dead". This is something worth watching, and we'll keep mentioning it as new chart data becomes available.