UFC 2010 Takes Huge Tumble in Sales

Posted July 2nd, 2010 at 8:20 am

Last month it was reported that UFC 2010 Undisputed was selling below expectations. Even considering that no one could have imagined just how severely sales had dropped off from the series debut of UFC 2009. Now the official sales numbers from NPD have come through to make it apparent that not only did it sell below expectations but relatively speaking it bombed.

In May UFC 2010 sold 222,100 copies on the 360 and 192,300 on the PS3 for a total of 414,400 coming in 4th and 5th place respectively. Not terrible numbers at first glance but they are shockingly low when compared with the previous iteration. UFC 2009 sold 679,600 on the 360 and 334,400 on the PS3 for a total of 1,014,000 in its first month.

THQ saw a year-over-year drop of 59% for the first month of UFC. Granted 2009 did have a few extra days of reporting but that would not account for anything near the difference between the two. Being generous 50% might be a better drop-off number to use considering that. No sports game, not even the MLB 2K series, has seen anything even close to such a significant drop off from one iteration to the next. UFC 2010’s combined sales of the 360 and PS3 were only 61% of what UFC 2009 opened with on the 360 alone. This is truly an unprecedented drop and does not bode well for the future of the franchise at least in the way it is currently being developed.

This is a stunning turn of events for a franchise that broke out with such a big hit. One has to examine the circumstances involved as there doesn’t appear to be one central reason this happened. It certainly wasn’t a problem with quality of the previous iteration, for the most part it got great reviews and consumer response. Generally when sales for a yearly franchise start to slip it is due to backlash from the previous version. UFC 2010 came out of the gate with sterling reviews but gamers didn’t seem to buy into them for whatever reason and there was never near the same level of excitement that surrounded the release the year before. The demo didn’t seem to blow anyone away either with many people feeling as though the improvements were only subtle and that it largely felt like much of the same.

UFC 2010 was plagued with problems around release, some of which have been fixed and others not, but even so any game issues post-release typically don’t affect early sales to a significant extent. Did the online pass setup, which was introduced late and admitted to only after being reported here, turn some gamers away? That could be considered as a factor however the thought would be that the way the situation was handled and its very poor implementation would have damaged consumer relations going forward and not so much this year. There has also been talk about the competition for dollars being heavier this year facing high profile releases such as Red Dead Redemption and Alan Wake.

My personal take is that the annual roster update has been overlooked and is actually the biggest driving factor behind yearly sports game releases. While UFC 2010 did add a few fighters for the most part it wasn’t much of a change. There is no large roster turnover such as would be had in other sports games. A fan of a particular team will always be looking forward to playing with a new roster. However that anticipation just does not reside in a game which ends up carrying over largely the same roster of individuals from one year to the next.

It could very well be that a game of this nature is best served releasing every other year. That is the current strategy with EA Sports MMA and Fight Night. EA MMA is without the UFC license which means they grabbed most of the name guys that weren’t under that umbrella. Again outside of a few changes they wouldn’t be able to present a fresh experience every single year because of that. So EA MMA may be better positioned because they are bi-yearly and have less reliance on the roster as a selling point than UFC. They won’t however have that built-in group of consumers who will buy the game just for the license, which apparently that number of fans was overestimated following last year’s sales.

The dramatic drop in sales will surely put THQ on notice which will hopefully pay off with a stronger effort in 2011. Whether the fall in sales can be attributed to a general feeling that the game hadn’t advanced enough from the previous version or mistreatment due to big issues, exclusive content for the PS3, or the online pass, it is clear that something went terribly wrong. Don’t expect THQ to go to the bi-yearly release schedule though. They have faced similar complaints with their WWE franchise and have continued to churn them out on a yearly basis.

UFC 2010 fell to $40 at some outlets such as Amazon within days after release. It’ll be interesting to see how sales were in June but indications are that it did most of its sales on preorders. June’s numbers should be reported in two weeks.

  • Amen Ra

    MAn I told you all this game would be wack. I'm glad the peopl;e saw the trith. Stop buying this bullshit!!! Speak through the dollar. I bet Ea MMA delivers or these cats work they ass for UFC nest year. Dana will put a fire under their asses, and I don't even like the guy.

  • KA1Z3R

    i agree but i feel like Madden took a step back with 2010 because nothing felt improved. i say felt because maybe something was and I haven't really noticed.

    If anything, it seems worse. zone coverage got worse because players will just stand in their zones and don't even see the receiver in front of them going for the jump ball.

    Nothing was done to fix the blocking, the tackling, or to distinguish 70's from 90's. Why does Joey Galloway still beat Nnamdi in man coverage? How does Charles Woodson not make plays on a QB with 78 accuracy? How does Ray Lewis feel the exact same as Kirk Morrison? Why does my run defense do just as well with Tommy Kelly at DT as it does with Pat Williams at DT?

    And franchise is still rotten

  • daley7199

    Really CLE. and I guess one could surmise by your forum name that you are prone to suck'n them balls on Lebron James.

    Its my opinion and at least I have one and can present an argument while you and your juvenile homo erotic fantasies of men sucking balls can't.

    Question CLE, do you often resort to images of homosexual activity when you are frustrated or angry with someone. Perhaps you should just let it go and admit who you really are. This is the year for coming out CLE. Its OK, just get it over with. You will be happier with your self as a person.

  • daley7199

    Hey its not CLE's fault. He is dealing with some repressed homosexual feelings that he doesn't know how to deal with. When he finally stops denying who he really is he will be better for it.

  • daley7199

    In game saves. Good point keith. There has been people asking for in game saves. All of like 10 people I think. In game saves isn't important enough to waste time on. If you don't have the freaking time to sit down and play a game of madden then dont play the damn game. We dont need to add a feature to a game because Keith cant manage his time properly.

    Besides, Madden did you one better. They did address the issue of the length of time it takes to play a game of Madden and they cut in half and they did it in such a way that is meaning ful and fun.

    Just about every new thing you see in Madden in one way, shape, or form is inspired either directly or indirectly from the community. Ex ( return of chain gangs, Better presentation, towels on the players belts, visors on the helmet. etc.) All of these additions were inspired directly from fan input on the forums.

    So next time you want spew nonsense keith, try doing a little research and perhaps you wont come off so much like a tool.

  • daley7199

    Wow you must be a bafoon. You read the reviews, you read the boards, you see the videos, you play the demo, and you still bought the game and was disappointed.. You make no sense. If you couldn't tell from all that media that you wouldn't like the game then you must truly be a fool.

  • daley7199

    Lie or not keith you still played the demo or rented the game so there are no excuses.

  • Samkaveli

    Funny, because the Madden team “who listens to their fans” still can't out do a game that came out 7 years ago LMFAO… isn't that a shame?(why did I even ask your a EA dick rider) what a POS game Madden has become.

  • jbl72

    Oh if you can stop sucking 2K's dead dick long enough can you tell me where I can pick up that awesome game All Pro Football 2K11? Wh what's that…you can't because the game was so bad that it only lasted a year and most of that was in the discount bin.

    2K football was and is a bigger joke than you are junior so why don't you crank up that slightly used PS2 you got at Goodwill and maybe Carmen Electra will have finally challenged you to a game. All though I doubt even a virtual woman would want anything to do with you.

  • I love football…

    I do think that all games that have sequals, especially sports games are usually the same game with a few changes and I get that because that is to be expected. If the game is functional why mess with the core? I usually like the games I buy because I do take the time to do proper research, but with madden no matter how much research you do, you never know what to expect. I started playing madden in 06 and I remember that it sucked, but I bought it because it was football. I played it, won some games and then I bought 07 because of all the “improvements” it had and here you had to wait for 1 tackle animation to finish before you can tackle someone. You know how the story goes…Madden 10 is a better game that all of the previous games on 360 combined, but some how when I tackle a guy he sheds off 4 tacklers and I bounce off like he is superman and he just goes. Some how the guy is rolling and tumbling forward when tackled for 5 extra yards as he rolls right through people. Somehow the guy has someone on his back carrying him for 7yards even when someone in front or to the side of him are trying to tackle by standing and watching the play. Can you imagine how crazy that would drive you if you were watching a real game and anyof this happened? I play Madden online every day or so, 10 is my fav game to play online on 360, but it is extremely flawed in that way. I don't know if real physics would help, but I should be able to tackle people when they are being held up and fighting for yards…you know and not some bitch tackle, I want to clean his clock, no homo.

  • sheredia

    not much of a roster change…..not many (if any..) drastic changes at all plus the online pass didn't help either. i would go every other year like fight night. i mean, you can just download new fighters in the meantime until the new one comes out. a fighter share mode (like fight night's boxer share) may help as well….

  • MoneyMayweather

    The death of online passes.

  • KrodMandoon

    Why,if you buy the game new,then you don't have anything to worry about with the online pass. The only people who lose in that are people who buy it used. I don't really understand peoples logic behind buying a game used most of the time. I can see it when it's an older title. But,I tell you people that play that,”I'm gonna wait and get a used copy”line. Especially when you can throw in a couple of more dollars and get the game new.

  • KrodMandoon

    “you know and not some bitch tackle, I want to clean his clock, no homo. “

    I'm still waiting for Tyler Perrys reaction to that episode. Word through the grapevine is that he's some kind of pissed

  • K_cin

    Tonights fight is an exciting fight, but common man, you have two guys who haven't even been competing for 5 years at the top of the heaviest division. You have the best heavyweights in another promotion so we can seet he best fights. Brock is by far the biggest draw in UFC (due to his WWF career, not his mma career) and he is only getting 1 mil…where is the rest of the money going? THink about it. Manny and Mayweather will make 30 mil each to fight. NOw that is absurd, but I would rather see the fighters get the lion share of the money than a companies executives. UFC has not stooped to signing a former middleweight champ in James Toney in his 40's who can't even get a boxing fight anymore. I like both sports, but MMA is in trouble you can believe that. They are heading down the same path Boxing is, currupt from top to bottome.

  • Rich

    Undisputed 2009 had two things going for it: It was the first MMA game for several years and it was released in the build-up to UFC 100, the largest MMA event in western history. All natural hype factors.

    Another very relevant point is that 2009 drew a lot of curiosity buys. People who were only vaguely familiar with MMA/UFC bought the game in order to dip their toe into the sport. In 2010 with few immediately apparent changes, these casual fans don't see the need to purchase the game.

    Releasing a version every year was always going to be a stretch so it's not at all surprising that it hasn't sold as well. It IS a better game though, and improvements have been made throughout.

    The real litmus test will be how EA MMA sells. If it sells well it might suggest fans didn't like the 2010 update, if it sells badly it would indicate Undisputed soaked up all the interest from casual and curious gamers in 2009, and as a result MMA games released every year will only appeal to the hardcore MMA fans.

  • RailHawk

    the controls are just too complicated …that's why people did not buy the new version..IMO

  • This should be an every other year release for sure. Good call on the lack of a roster turnover contributing to poor sales.

  • Turk

    UFC 2009 was a good game. But THQ shit the bed with 2010 in every way possible. Updates to the roster aren't that big a deal IMO because UFC's roster isn't that fluid to begin with. I think that a lot of people were simply in wait & see mode with this game…possibly because of other games they were playing at the time and ultimately soured on it as bad news began to trickle out about it. The over-abundance of instant KOs, difficulty of submissions, auto block transitions, unblockable takedowns, the omaplata glitch, online issues, every fighter being overly aggressive and not fighter like their real life counterpart, career issues, being able to spam power punches without noticeable loss of stamina, etc. No doubt this game took several steps back from what was a very good effort in 09. I will give them points for the game being more visually appealing and event mode is awesome but this game has so many issues that it makes the reviewers look like first class clowns for the amount of love they gave this abortion. Combine that with the poor customer relations and it's easy to see why the game bombed.

    I guess it's not too surprising if you look at how they let the SVR franchise get stale. At it's peak it was at least a fun game after No Mercy set the bar, but I left that alone once they became hell bent on removing moves and restricting CAWs.

  • I just called xbox today and i asked them why the took ufc 09 of the games on demand list they told me cause there getting ready too put ufc 10 on there. i was thinking why that trash for