March NPD: Chinatown Wars likely to be “marginally” profitable

Friday, 17th April 2009 09:48 GMT By Patrick Garratt


This has got to go down as one of the biggest “whoopses” in recent memory. Cowan analyst Doug Creutz has predicted GTA: Chinatown Wars will only be “marginally” profitable, after the game – the highest rated in GTA’s history – managed to secure only a woeful 89,000 sales in the US last month.

“We believe the experiment was a worthwhile one for Take-Two, and still expect the title to be profitable (though likely marginally so),” he said.

“However, the disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers.”

Creutz added that the game had heavily failed to meet expectation.

“Despite a strong critical reception, Take-Two’s GTA: Chinatown Wars sold a very disappointing 89,000 units in March, well below our more recent 200-250,000 estimate and far below the 400-450,000 we thought the title might sell upon its release,” he said.

“Take-Two exported their most valuable IP onto the most widely distributed gaming platform, and created the most highly-rated title in the history of that platform. We knew there were some uphill challenges due to the demographics of the platform, but believed there were enough core gamers/adults owning a DS that the title could still perform very well.

“However, either the demographics are more challenging than we thought, or core gamers did not view the title as an essential purchase due to the nature of the platform.

It’s almost as if all that growth came from “non-gamers,” or something.

Thanks, GI.



  1. Blerk

    Will the performance here effectively kill off any hopes that Wii owners ever had of getting a version for their machine?

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    If I were Johnny third-party bean counter, I wouldn’t be going near Wii or DS with a bargepole. As I said when it first looked as though it had tanked, if GTA can’t do it, nothing can.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Blerk

    Quite. I have to say, I’m surprised. I can only presume that the people who usually buy GTAs are also the people who are most likely to have R4s.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    I’m just not sure the market exists for this style of product on this platform, to be honest. Although I’m sure R4 didn’t exactly help matters.

    #4 6 years ago

    Another thing to consider is that a large number of DS’s are probably bought for children by their parents, most of whom probably have no interest in buying their kids 18/Mature rated games.

    Then there’s the people who only buy DS’s for Brain Training and the like. I doubt they’d be interested in GTA…

    #5 6 years ago
  6. trav

    R4 may not have hit it as bad as you think. The ROM didn’t work on R4′s (and similar) for a good while after it appeared on the net. Think it was something to do with the save system being coded differently to a normal DS game. Not sure.

    But I think it only got fixed in the last couple of weeks, so it shouldn’t of made a large difference on first weekend sales.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Shatner

    Trav, the issue was with the save-file size. The issue got hacked through in mere hours. And all done a couple of days before the release. Look at for details.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. deftangel

    The first month results for this title are disappointing, so downgrading expectations is fine but don’t we think we could wait and see a few months to see if this adopts a different sales curve before writing it off completely?

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Robster1979

    Indeed, I had a working copy on my R4 before official release. I think that DS gamers most likely to play GTA are the ones most likely to own an R4 also.
    (I knew buying the GF a DS would pay off one day)

    #9 6 years ago
  10. deftangel

    Since when did admitting you’ve pirated one of the most critically acclaimed DS games on a video game news site frequented by gaming fans become cool?

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Rock_Me_Amadeus

    “don’t we think we could wait and see a few months to see if this adopts a different sales curve before writing it off completely”

    Second sales will destroy any hope of a ‘positive’ curve.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. BillyBatts

    A real shame. I’ve got more out of this GTA than any other version.

    If the R4 brigade have scuppered sales there is a strong whiff of irony there.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Cort

    Proving once again that your average DS owner is a 10 year old girl or bored housewife, neither of whom care about GTA, only about petz and cooking with mother.

    This is the new gaming.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. LeslieLu

    I have a hunch some people are waiting for the DSi to be released before they buy GTA: Chinatown Wars. The game is really, really awesome though, in my humble opinion.

    And heads up, GameStop’s got a Chinatown Wars contest to win a “mob boss experience” on their site, Airfare for 4 to New York, private limo, hotel, model entourage, VIP room at a club, bodyguard and $5000 in cash. It’d be a pretty sweet deal, especially in this recession. Free to enter.

    #14 6 years ago

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