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SCEE – LBP would have been number one outside the Holiday season

Wednesday, 19th November 2008 13:13 GMT By Patrick Garratt

littlebigplanet22.jpg

SCEE’s answered criticism of LittleBigPlanet’s apparently lacklustre performance at retail by saying the game has sold “really well” and would have charted higher if it wasn’t for such a crowded time of year.

The game debuted at number four in the UK chart than droppped out of the top ten in its second week.

“Our industry is littered with examples of brand new innovative titles that have been lauded by the critics but have sold dismally,” said SCEE PR boss David Wilson. “But Sony is delighted and honoured to be working with hugely talented developers who can create brilliantly creative original games.

“LittleBigPlanet has broken this stereotype by not only being brilliant and original but also by selling really well on a global basis. LittleBigPlanet is breaking many preconceptions. There are some games that are hardcore experiences that the kudos lies in getting it first.”

Wilson added: “We’re really pleased with the initial reaction to LittleBigPlanet – it has been our highest scoring game ever I believe with a Metacritic score of 95 and a huge list of 10/10s or 100 per cent scores.

“We are also pleased with its commercial performance. In other times of the year it would be a clear number one – so you have to put the chart in context. This is an incredibly volatile time of year and the chart reflects that – November 7 saw 47 titles released on that one day alone including many big hitters with Christmas number one aspirations. Look at the chart this week – the top four are all brand new entries.

“LittleBigPlanet has also sold well given that this is a brand new IP,” he said in reference to the game’s first week of sales which saw it coming in below three sequel titles, Microsoft’s exclusive Gears of War 2, FIFA 09 and Fallout 3.

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32 Comments

  1. Tonka

    If we had been number one we would have been number one.

    Great argument.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. ecu

    Then maybe they should have released it at a different time of year, eh?

    #2 6 years ago
  3. bloke

    I think there’s a little bit too much ‘protesting too much’ going on at Sony re LBP, TBH.

    Remember the first thing you’re supposed to do when you’re in a hole, chaps.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. JPickford

    I think he would have been better saying nothing. The game has quite obviously done less well than expected.

    It would have been better as a download title with less hype\pressure put on it. Level building is hard work and will *always* be a minority activity. A better approach would have been a more low-key launch and letting word of mouth do the promotion.

    Now we have a fantastic title being labelled as a bit of a disappointment instead of being celebrated.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Psychotext

    I’m not sure this is the best way to take the argument. “If nothing else that was good got released, we’d have totally won”. It’s like a 100m sprinter saying they wouldn’t have come third if the top guys hasn’t turned up.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. JPickford

    Indeed. He’s not fooling anyone with that line of argument.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Shatner

    He clearly saw my “sequel, sequel, peripheral, sequel, franchise” etc analysis of the top ten some time back.

    Still, a lot of comments are beautifully (and deliberately, I suspect) misinterpreting what was said in order to bang the usual drum.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. desiredtime

    I can see this as one of those game from now till then end of time sitting on the top 20 between 14-20 and ending up selling several million copies.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Blerk

    I think it’s a shame, but not unexpected. All the ‘new and/or different’ titles that have arrived in the last few weeks have underperformed, most likely because they’ve arrived at the same time as the latest instalments of everyone’s favourite yearly franchises.

    What on Earth possesses these companies to release new IPs in the run-up to Christmas when the briefest of glances at the previous years’ data would’ve shown them that it’s pretty much ‘sent to die’ season if you’re not an existing franchise?

    Nobody’s going to be buying LBP or Banjo or Mirror’s Edge when there’s FIFA and CoD to be had. They’ll all end up in the bargain bin by Boxing Day and then the companies will whine that nobody bought their game, whereas if they’d waited until January or February they’d have been pretty much the only new game around.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Truk

    Strangely, the Tesco I was in last night had Mirror’s Edge and LBP at 1 and 2 respectively. Scousers have excellent taste.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. JPickford

    Store charts aren’t based on sales.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. Michael O'Connor

    The game hardly sold badly, even if it wasn’t at the top of the list.

    How about we just enjoy it for the great game it is? Does it really matter where it was in the charts?

    #12 6 years ago
  13. fj

    This kind of thing needs to happen in order for there to be another “Top 50 most under-rated games” list in about five years time.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. Truk

    “Store charts aren’t based on sales.”

    Um, yeah, I realise that. I was just saying that they’re doing well in that single Tesco store. It was just a throwaway comment.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. patlike

    Blerk – Completely true.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Shatner

    True… or…?

    Look what happened when Ubisoft launched their new IP this time last year. It became the fastest selling new IP for years.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. sennasnit

    My wife bought me LBP for Christmas, so i’m one of the few, I think it will be a slow burner, also if the game is sold with a console bundle does that count as a sale? I’m sure sony will do a LBP bundle before xmas..

    #17 6 years ago
  18. G1GAHURTZ

    Gears of War was a new IP.

    I don’t buy this new IP excuse.

    Sure, sales suggest that sequels do well, and they do, but if a new IP is good enough, people will buy it.

    There are games that get amazing reviews and sell poorly because most of the public aren’t that interested, and there are games that get average reviews, but sell well because they capture the imagination of said public.

    Whether they are a sequel or not.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. Doomsayer

    You gotta love Sony for all those lovely and totaly insane PR Talk. LBP would be number one if there werent better games. Nice one Sony. Guess it would have been even worse without those lbp bundles.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Blerk

    There are always exceptions, of course. But your chances are success are much reduced if you launch in the run-up to Christmas. Why take the risk?

    #20 6 years ago
  21. GordonR

    Will EA now be putting out a press statement saying they’re really happy with Mirror’s Edge’s release performance, and that it would definitely have been No. 1 if it wasn’t for all those 19 games that are selling more?

    #21 6 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    But your chances are success are much reduced if you launch in the run-up to Christmas. Why take the risk?

    You won’t necessarily sell less though.

    Even if you take a much smaller percentage of overall games sold, you very well may end up still selling a higher number of units than if you released at another time in the year.

    So you could get 60% of game sales in February and sell 5000 units

    or

    Get 4% of game sales in December and sell 8000 units.

    #22 6 years ago
  23. airdom

    ”would have charted higher if it wasn’t for such a crowded time of year”
    -Not really.

    and now Sony is basing themselves on METACRITIC scores? what has this world come to? they are trying to make it look good for the holidays as they say its suposed to be number 1? ;)

    #23 6 years ago
  24. ElfShotTheFood

    Is this game bigger than YouTube yet?

    #24 6 years ago
  25. Esha

    @Blerk

    I can’t agree with you more, and I do get the feeling that this is primarily Sony’s fault. I tend to say this a lot, but it bears reiterating: The human condition is flawed, and whilst tedium never gets tedious, the majority of humanity will pine for boredom and familiar surroundings. Put a human being in a World of infinite novelty, and within five minutes they’ll want to be back in the hellhole of a cul-de-sac they grew up in.

    The moral of this story: Ingenuity cannot compete with familiar blandness, it never could. There’s a divide between the people who welcome ingenuity, and those who would simply opt for something they’ve seen and done before. The crowd that desires ingenuity is a minority, a vocal minority but a minority nonetheless. And as we can see here, money speaks. It means that after this year, the industry will probably stray away from ingenious gaming efforts and back towards franchises, IPs, and amazingly unimaginative scenarios.

    No more Mirror’s Edge, no more LittleBigPlanet, just Worlds of grey filled with guns and explosions. I even worry that Resistance 2 will be taken unfavourably simply because it broke from the ubiquitous greyness template, thus breaking the minds of many people to the point where they simply couldn’t conceive it and didn’t know what to make of it. Resistance is men with guns again, but at least it’s a bit colourful. That colour will drain away soon enough though, and I’ll be left wondering why I bothered to get a HDTV in the first place.

    @Gigs – “I don’t buy this new IP excuse.”

    It’s not just generally IPs. I’ve played Gears of War, I played the PC version back before I had an XBox. And I’m sorry if it offends you but I found it to be bland and unimaginative pap. The more brave PC magazines out there actually admitted it too, because the PC is still the occasional bastion of inventive gaming (thank goodness for indie stuff).

    Look, here’s the checklist:

    - Very Grey: Check.
    - Preschool/Basic Dialogue: Check.
    - Big Guns/Guns as a Symbol of Power: Check.
    - Power Fantasy: Check. (almost forgot that one)
    - Manly Steroid-Men/Super-Women: Check.
    - Familiar Setting: Check.
    - Familiar Play: Almost.

    The point with Gears of War is this: Whilst it might have been fun, it was so familiar that it might very well have been an IP, it actually felt like an IP to play because it fell so well into the feeling of having been there, and done that. It was a round peg for a round hole, it was the quintessential “What the masses want.” game, and there was nothing really special at all about it beyond some new play mechanics.

    And play mechanics are what Epic does well, one has to admit. Looking at their previous games, it seems to be the thing their success has hinged upon… but I won’t get into that now.

    LittleBigPlanet and Mirror’s Edge on the other hand didn’t meet that checklist. They were alien, and that’s why they didn’t sell.

    So it’s not really just an IP thing. It’s a deja vu thing.

    #25 6 years ago
  26. Gekidami

    Indeed, its funny how you can get so many people say that a game is bad, or atleast not of interest because its ‘generic’ yet in the end, anything that isnt simpley wont interest them. Fact is, put enough gore, guns, and exsplosions into anything and it’ll sell well, even if its nearly a clone of the last game featuring gore, guns, and explosions.

    #26 6 years ago
  27. morriss

    Just saw an LBP ad on Danish TV. So it’s bus stops and TV ads now. Sony are pushing it over here at least.

    #27 6 years ago
  28. morriss

    However, it’s gone from 4th to 11th inside a week according to Charttrack. So it seems even with maximum visibility, it isn’t selling well.

    Danish top ten – all format – (if anyone cares)

    WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF LICH KING
    FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009
    GUITAR HERO: AEROSMITH
    CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR
    FIFA 09
    LEGO BATMAN
    FALLOUT 3
    GEARS OF WAR 2
    COMMAND AND CONQUER: RED ALERT 3
    QUANTUM OF SOLACE

    ———–

    LBP

    #28 6 years ago
  29. Michael O'Connor

    “No more Mirror’s Edge, no more LittleBigPlanet, just Worlds of grey filled with guns and explosions.”

    Lets repeat the fact that LittleBigPlanet sold perfectly well, even though it wasn’t at the top of the charts.

    Does it *have* to sell more than the latest blockbuster-game to be a justifiable hit? There are plenty of creative games out there, and plenty more on the horizon.

    To say you’re being fatalistic in regard to the gaming industry would be an understatement.

    …as for Resistance 2, that just replaced grey with brown.

    #29 6 years ago
  30. morriss

    Gears 2 isn’t grey either. He’d know if he’d played it, or even seen it.

    #30 6 years ago
  31. Michael O'Connor

    Well it certainly ain’t pink, that’s for sure.

    #31 6 years ago
  32. G1GAHURTZ

    Sorry Esha, but I fail to see how LBP is so apparently amazingly new and alien.

    At the end of the day it’s just a Mario type platformer with an online level editor.

    Your checklist works in the same way:

    - Highly saturated: Check.
    - No dialogue, just like Mario: Check.
    - Jumping from platform to platform: Check.
    - Child like Fantasy: Check. (almost forgot that one)
    - Cute, ‘loveable’ character: Check.
    - Familiar Setting: Check.
    - Familiar Play: 100%.

    The only ‘new’ feature is the ability to build and upload and share your own levels, but people have been doing that with other games for years.

    At the end of the day, people are not buying the game as we all thought that they would not because it’s an alien, totally original game, which it isn’t, but for some other reason.

    Probably because 2D platform games are just not as exciting as they used to be.

    As for Gears, then I have no problem if you don’t like it at all. I’m sure that many people don’t. But I don’t think that it sold in such huge numbers because it was familiar, but because it was one of the best looking games ever when it got released.

    Up until then, nothing even came close in terms of visuals, whether it’s desaturated or not.

    It was straight forward, easy to play, and it had one of the best multiplayer modes on console.

    Then on top of that it had the guns and the gore.

    Many clones (Army of Two, Dark Sector et al) have tried to copy what Gears did since then, but haven’t managed to achieve it, so I don’t think that the familiarity sells arguement works here either.

    #32 6 years ago

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