NBA 2K11 Beats All Sports Releases in March

Posted April 14th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

In its sixth month of release NBA 2K11 continued its sales dominance by topping all of the high profile new sports titles that arrived in March. That is a departure from the past few years where the MLB The Show franchise carried the month with relative ease. Last year NBA 2K10 did not even make the top 20 for the month to put it in context. In total there were eight different sports themed titles to release last month and that competition appears to have eaten away at the potential of each individual one to deliver better numbers. 

NBA 2K11 settled into eight place in March and immediately following it were MLB 11: The Show and Fight Night Champion to round out the top ten. Top Spin 4, WWE All-Stars, Nascar 2011, NFS Shift 2 Unleashed, and Tiger Woods 12 did not chart for the month.

MLB 11: The Show reportedly has seen a drop in sales this year but the exact numbers have not been provided. That might be a warning sign for the series, though it has grown so much in the past two iterations (66% from MLB 08 to MLB 10) it was due to stall or even fall off somewhat eventually. MLB 2K11 couldn’t even drum up interest with the $1 million challenge and also sold less in its first month than last year though being outside of the top ten means exacts aren’t available. That series has dropped 39% from MLB 2K8 to MLB 2K10 and figures to be down another 20% or so this year.

Fight Night Champion took the gamble of primarily marketing the single-player story mode, which while intriguing ultimately was found to be too short and cliche-ridden to build the buzz EA Sports was hoping to achieve. They needed to try something different though after Fight Night Round 4 underperformed. Indications are FNC is down heavily from FNR4 when considering its placement in tenth and falling behind 2K11 (and six months worth of data to track) and The Show (which even at its peak was less than what FNR4 sold).

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters has received a strong bump in sales relative to last year, with EA Sports’ estimates putting it at 225,000 copies for the first week. This NPD period only covered the first five days however and understandably the company has put some PR spin on the numbers. Regardless it seems the game has reestablished credibility and stability and the company is raking in the digital revenue which reportedly is up 200% over Tiger 11.

WWE All-Stars, Nascar 2011, and Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed also fell into that five day reporting period. Need for Speed was really the only one of them that would have had a shot at making the top ten anyway. All-Stars and Nascar certainly had lower expectations in terms of sales so they wouldn’t need to finish that high to still be considered successes. Unfortunately that makes it nearly impossible to judge how well they have performed and their prospects for sequels. Top Spin 4, which released in the middle of the month, has not gained traction even with the tacky but attention-getting Serena Williams publicity stunt that 2K Sports crafted.

A while back I wrote that the month was simply too crowded and there would be casualties. Fight Night Champion was delivered a week before the two baseball games, Top Spin settled in the middle of the month, and then a bunch of titles were dumped at the end of the month in order to ship before the end of the fiscal quarter. That initial concern looks to have been realized. Though obviously individual quality and marketing efforts could be partially to blame, the marketplace was just too crowded to allow for a game to break-out and deteriorated the consumer based to where the regular/semi-regular titles also experienced declines.