UFC 2010 Selling Below Expectations

Posted June 4th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Last year UFC 2009 broke onto the scene with huge sales numbers exceeding even the most optimistic of expectations. The game went on to be the highest selling sports title in the US behind only Madden 10. UFC 2009 seemed to catch gamers by surprise with its demo and then an impressive final product (particularly for a first attempt) which and in turn led to fantastic word-of-mouth carrying it beyond just hardcore UFC fans. UFC 2010 Undisputed arrived without the benefit of that surprise factor and early reports have the game performing below expectations.

Gamasutra has posted an article discussing the disappointing sales for UFC 2010. Major issues with the game spurred initial backlash from gamers and a perception that THQ was deceptive with their implementation of a code to access online play clearly has damaged the continued sales of the game and its image. I noted on Twitter a few days ago that Amazon had dropped the price to $40. That simply is not typical for such a high profile game and just a week after it hit stores.

Heading into UFC 2010’s release there was a sense that the excitement level wasn’t quite there in the same way it was last year. It seems as though there are a number of factors to consider on why that was now looking back on it. It may largely be due to having entered the typical yearly cycle where the improvements are naturally more subtle. The marketing seemed to project the game as more of the same and review wise 2010 scored almost the same as 2009 so there wasn’t anything terribly compelling about it to push more sales. Despite the good word-of-mouth from last year the game remains really difficult to catch on with and that may have turned off some. The controls are confusing and it takes a big investment to get comfortable with them see improvement. There also seemed to be more competition in the marketplace this year, not necessarily from sports games but from other big releases vying for consumer dollars.

Unfortunately we won’t know the official sales numbers until July as NPD has delayed the release of May’s numbers until then. When those are released it will be really interesting to compare them to last year. UFC was thought to have the potential for growth as a franchise and going backwards in the second year would be a big warning sign especially with a competing product entering the market later this year.