Analyzing the college basketball game sales

Posted December 24th, 2007 at 5:25 am


Throughout the community I’ve seen questioning of why the College Hoops and March Madness franchises don’t get the same support that other sports titles do. This has been brought up in areas such as budgeting, feature sets, improvements from the previous year, and the differentiation from the NBA games.

However by looking over initial sales numbers for these two games it becomes obvious why that is. Below are the numbers from the Xbox 360 versions. College Hoops had nearly a three week head start so I’ve posted the first week sales along with CH’s total sales to date.

College Hoops 2K8: 26,280 first week. 56,280 to date.
March Madness 08: 15,266 first week.

In comparison those come out to about 25% of what the NBA titles sold in their first week. The PS3 sales fare even worse selling about 1/3 of the 360’s numbers.

The scariest thing is the lack of growth over the previous year. Where sales for other sports titles went up significantly on the 360, last year CH 2K7 opened with 20,234 amounting to an increase of 6,046. Meanwhile March Madness actually dropped as 07 kicked off with 22,411.

Interestingly MM 07 launched in mid-January. Maybe there was something to the idea of releasing it mid-season at a point when fans were starting to get more into college basketball. I wonder if they’ll go back to that for 09 after looking over the numbers. Despite having a two month head start CH 2K7 didn’t end up outselling MM 07 by much.

Why do these two sell so poorly? There are three big factors to consider. The first is that they come out 1-2 months after the NBA games do and most are satisfied with having just one basketball game. Along with that the majority of people don’t know the players in the game, with the exception of maybe their favorite team. That lack of being able to identify with the sport that the game is representing makes it less appealing. Finally college basketball doesn’t really get popular until tournament time. General sports fans don’t pay much attention to it until then.

So this actually brings up the thought of whether or not both college basketball games can survive. With numbers such as these it becomes a concern. There is always the possibility that Take Two/2K, which has struggled with their unprofitable sports division, could drop the game from their lineup. It appears they’ve already scraped any idea of another All-Pro Football for this year as the state of their affairs grows worse. When looking at the numbers and considering the circumstances it wouldn’t be totally surprising or unjustified if changes did extend to other games that were struggling.

Hopefully this gives a better understanding of why these two games don’t get quite the same attention as others do. It comes down to the bottom line. They just don’t sell well enough and the potential for growth is minimal.