Rampant piracy is the real reason for GTA: Chinatown Wars’ slow sales according to Take-Two CEO Ben Feder.
On paper, Chinatown Wars should have been a massive success when it launched on the Nintendo DS a year ago.
GTA remains one of the most successful game franchises of all time, while DS is the biggest selling games console every released.
Chinatown Wars was a critical hit – on Metacritic it is currently the highest-rated Nintendo DS game to date and the second-highest rated PSP game.
However, this potential didn’t translate to sales over the last 12 months – leading many to speculate about whether mature-rated games can succeed on the DS.
But speaking to MCV, Take-Two boss Feder has cited piracy and the weak demand for handheld software as the reasons behind the game’s disappointing performance.
“I am very proud of Chinatown Wars,” said Feder.
“As of February 2010, Chinatown Wars’ unit sales in the US represented nearly 50 per cent of the unit sales of all M-rated DS titles in the history of the platform.
“At the same time, the handheld market is currently challenged by weak demand and by piracy. Piracy is a real and present danger for our industry and must be addressed, especially in the handheld market. The commercial performance of Chinatown Wars has certainly suffered at the hands of piracy.”
However, it isn’t all bad news for Chinatown Wars.
The game has flourished on direct download channels. It recently launched on iPhone and iPod Touch and became the top grossing game on the App Store. And a version for Apple’s iPad – which launches this month – seems a given.