One million UK sales. 13 No.1 chart positions this year alone. 10m fans worldwide. No, the game we’re talking about isn’t a Mario or a Zelda. Nor is it Call of Duty or FIFA. It’s not even from a Top Five publisher.
This year’s best-selling Wii title was Zumba Fitness from 505 Games. A release with a truly distinctive selling point that surprised as much as it succeeded, and one that proved there is plenty of life left in the ever-competitive fitness and dancing game genres.
“Zumba Fitness differs to other games on the market,” says 505’s general manager for UK and Export Ralph Pitt-Stanley. “It isn’t just a dance game, it’s a fun, interactive, social exercise experience that fuses contagious Latin and international rhythms together. This fun element has been captured in the game which resonates with the consumer and is the key reason for its success.”
It wasn’t just a single-format success either. The game regularly reached the Top Five in the separate Xbox 360 and PS3 games charts throughout the summer – a fact 505 is quick to point out. Not only did Zumba perform strongly, it dominated at a time when new releases are scarce, taking full advantage of the summer games lull with a point of difference perfect for non-gamers and Zumba fans.
Not content with one success, 505 is springing Zumba Fitness 2 onto store shelves today (Friday, November 25th), to capitalise on the Christmas and New Year period – a time that typically sees sales of fitness games and DVDs rocket.
A Kinect version of the game is also due early next year.
Pitt-Stanley adds: “Given the fact Zumba Fitness has been the No.1 selling Wii title of 2011, there is massive excitement at retail about the prospect of a second version
.“Zumba has sold the best part of 1m units and now the brand is back bigger and better than before. It has already proven itself an evergreen product that sells each and every week. This kind of excitement creates a fantastic prospect for the second game.”
Survival of the fittest
Of course, the success of Zumba Fitness partly comes down to the real life dancing phenomenon that has swept the globe, and 505 is happy to admit this.
The program, set up in the ‘90s, mixes easy-to-follow choreographies with international rhythms. By allowing class goers to party themselves into shape, Zumba has fast become a craze in recent years. It’s no longer only a type of dance class; it’s now its own brand. 12m people attend Zumba classes in 110,000 locations across 125 different countries. There’s probably one in your local gym.
“It’s a huge phenomenon which has taken the world by storm,” says Pitt-Stanley. “Already in the hearts and minds of thousands of women, the game was a natural progression and it too has grown as the brand itself has become even more popular. It perfectly complements a Zumba class.
“Zumba has such a wide appeal, ranging from kids, teenagers, mums and grandmothers. It has been these fans that have created the momentum for Zumba Fitness. They are amongst the most avid and loyal fans out there, wanting to consume all things Zumba starting with the class itself to the clothing through to the video game. The success of the game is down to the fans’ enthusiasm for the brand.
”These fans are obviously not your usual gamers. By this notion they may not face the decision of choosing one or two £40 games from 20 Christmas blockbusters – if they want more Zumba, they’ll opt for Fitness 2. And with its budget price tag they’ll be more likely to.
X Factor ads
505 officially announced the sequel in an X Factor TV advertisement last month to highlight the November 25th release date and the success of the original. It’s following this up with online activity throughout Christmas and beyond, with what Pitt-Stanley describes as a “highly targeted multimedia approach” and “high-profile TV commitment”.
He adds: “Zumba Fitness resonates with the lifestyle of the Zumba fans, so keeping fit during Christmas and beyond will be an important element for our campaign. You’ll see Zumba Fitness 2 in all of the must-have lists for Christmas across key women’s and mainstream publications. It really is the perfect Christmas stocking present.”
But if the original Zumba Fitness is anything to go by, 505’s new fitness title will be dancing up the charts well beyond Christmas and into the New Year.
MCV asks several top UK retailers how they expect Zumba Fitness 2 to perform
Andrew Thompson – Head of games, Asda
“Zumba Fitness has been a fantastic success for Asda in 2011, and has helped drive sales throughout the summer period. Zumba Fitness 2 is set to sell by the bucketload this Christmas and is the perfect product for the core Asda shopper – mums.”
Richard Thompson – Games buyer, HMV
“It’s great news and excellent timing that Zumba Fitness 2, successor to one of the best-selling Wii games of 2011, will be out before Christmas. The Zumba craze is getting bigger all the time, which should help provide a real commercial opportunity for the market as it enters peak trading.”
Nick Elliott – Owner, Barkman Computers
“We’re really looking forward to the release of Zumba Fitness 2. The first one performed incredibly well for us and the brand awareness is fantastic. We have a lot of real life Zumba classes running in our local area so adverts and flyers are all over town. I’m sure the second game will do equally well for us.”
Gurdeep Hunjan – Games buying manager, Sainsbury’s
“We are delighted that Zumba Fitness 2 is on the calendar this side of Christmas. After the tremendous success of the first this has to be a long-term banker. Fitness games this January should also be stronger than ever.”