Source: NeoGaf armchair analysts
Well the results came in from Japan:
Famitsu: The Wonderful 101: 6,663
Media Create: The Wonderful 101: 5,258
The game sold 5,258 copies in its first week in Japan.
The Wonderful 101 was believed by many to be a possible system seller, but actually managed to have the opposite effect, with Wii U console sales dropping week-on-week by 5,000 units to 7,030 units.
Consider the above with regards to Dave Cook's piece which asked Is The Wonderful 101 a pretty waste on Wii U?
Dave's concerns appear quite prophetic in light of the information summarised above.
For me, as a fan of Platinum Games, I have to wonder what impact this has on the developer's future prospects and stability.
Whilst the pedigree of their work is justifiably held in high regard, for a developer to keep securing financing for current and future projects they need to show they are bankable - that they are going to deliver ROI. Publishers want a good game. But they want reliable partners and profit far more.
Now, for Nintendo that ROI doesn't necessarily need to be financial. Nintendo aren't going to run out of capital any time soon and, I imagine, can easily bankroll the odd commercial failure here or there (not that I'm suggesting they go into a contract with such a mindset). The value of a Platinum Games title exclusive to your platform is more about showing your diversity of content and continued devotion to the more hardcore gamer demographic. Financial reward is probably secondary.
Does this game have the legs to run and keep people noticing it in a period when so much high profile activity is gearing up? New platform launches, AAA blockbusters prepping for 'holiday season' release?
Realistically, I think it's likely to disappear from the culture and media's radar amongst the noise. Despite it being a platform exclusive I don't get the impression that there's been enough of a marketing push as this title needs or deserves. Nintendo Direct broadcasts are not directed at the standard consumer but the Nintendo-aware gamer. In that regard they are preaching to the converted. So the Wonderful 101's Nintendo Direct won't have expanded this game's sphere of influence in a meaningful way.
Do Platinum care? Who knows.
Their portfolio is littlered with excellent games with lacklustre marketing shipping in depressingly modest numbers. This latest game doesn't appear to buck that trend.
Can Platinum afford to keep making wonderful commercial failures? Who knows.
I foresee three outcomes:
1) Yes, they can keep going as they are, somehow.
2) They gravitate towards platform manufacturers as their publisher. Nestling ever closer to the relative security of second party status whilst retaining high visibility, loyal fanbase and a large degree of creative freedom.
3) The go under just like Clover did.
I don't think option 3 is actually all doom and gloom. A developer going under or being dissolved isn't the end of the world. Talented individuals will still be able to find work within other teams. That talent will surface in other games. Clover died but Platinum rose from their ashes.