Strong sales for New Vegas; helped by association with popular Fallout franchise
For those not familiar with the title, New Vegas continues in the style of last year's popular Fallout 3, lauded by many critics as their 'Game of the Year'. Both games feature a strong central narrative that draws players forward, but numerous side quests and free exploration that provide the meat of the game. Set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, players have the opportunity to explore freely and tackle the game at their own pace. Though the slow pace and strong emphasis on RPG mechanics isn't for everyone, both titles offer gamers impressive bang for their buck: to complete the entirety of the game, players should expect to invest 80-100 hours.
New Vegas is developed by third-party developer Obsidian, known for follow-ups such as Knights of the Old Republic 2 as well as original games such as this year's poorly received Alpha Protocol. Known for strong storytelling, their games are also typically plagued by numerous technical issues and poor performance, especially on consoles. As evidenced in press reviews and my own experience, this title is no different: frame-rates frequently stutter, and gamers should save frequently to avoid losing data when they run into inevitable hard crashes of the game. Nonetheless, the game has debuted to strong sales, and its most popular version is the one for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.
According to data reported by Gamasutra, New Vegas leads multi-platform charts in both the U.S. and U.K. markets. Moreover, of the games in the top 5, it was the only game released that week--an indicator of strong pre-order and launch-day sales.
The fact that the game sold strongly on pre-orders and its release day despite reviews docking it for its excessive technical issues can be interpreted as gamers giving it the benefit of the doubt because it continues the Fallout franchise. Moreover, while the game is very similar to Fallout 3, that previous title was very popular--and many gamers are more than happy to pay money to get more of a good thing. Obsidian has tweaked gameplay and added features but, by and large, it feels very similar.
It remains to be seen exactly how many units the title has sold, but sales should be in excess of two million because all indicators point to it outselling EA's Medal of Honor released last week, which sold closer to 1.5 million units in its launch week. The fact that a new game in an existing franchise sold strongly on the franchise brand is also good news for Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops, due to November 9th. We're predicting strong launch sales for that game, which is also a title produced by a developer known for making the weaker titles of the franchise.
We'll post an update when hard unit sales results become available, as this will help give context to what being number one on the charts really means for Fallout: New Vegas.