Has Lara lost her mojo? Shadow of the Tomb Raider comes off second best to Spider-Man

Spider-Man has the top spot in the UK physical charts well and truly wrapped up for a second week. That holds off Lara’s third reboot outing, which comes in at No.2, while NBA 2K19 makes it a livelier week at retail than we’ve seen for months, with a third-place launch.

What’s impressive is the way that Spidey has clung onto the top of the charts. Dropping just 42 per cent of sales from his record-setting debut, the single-format title shows that it has appeal well beyond die-hard fans who would have pre-ordered the title.

Even without such a stark comparison of fortunes, it’s hard not to feel that Shadow of the Tomb Raider should have performed better at retail. Yes, it outsold its predecessor in week one, but that title was an Xbox exclusive, selling mainly on Xbox One in the console’s early days of November 2015. Plus Rise of the Tomb Raider went head-to-head with Fallout 4 the week it launched, and just a week after Black Ops 3 too.

Despite all that, this new title failed to get anywhere near its predecessor in terms of Xbox sales alone. And if you think Spider-Man stole its thunder, then comparing Xbox One and PS4 sales doesn’t suggest that to be the case, with the split being fairly typical across the formats, even favouring PS4 slightly compared to the norm.

While we can’t quote actual numbers, the fact that Spider-Man in week two, on PS4 only, sold over twice what Tomb Raider did combined on both formats at launch tells a story: that Lara Croft may have lost her mojo.

Now these are only UK physical sales, and may not be entirely indicative of digital and global figures, but based on what we have to go on here I’d say that Tomb Raider is something of a spent force – especially given that the critical response has been largely positive; this isn’t simply a bad game and will likely do OK in the longer-term because of that. 

It’s hard not to look back at the exclusivity deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider as part of the problem here, disrupting PlayStation owners attachment to the franchise (which it had flown so high upon in earlier generations) by making them wait a year for the second game.

Coming back to the charts The other new releases were NBA 2K19, which almost exactly matched last year’s launch, a good effort given digital shift. However a measly two per cent of sales going to the new Switch version of the game potentially jeopardises future physical releases, at least, on that format. Though the US figures may tell a very different story. EA’s NHL 19 also launched to minimal sales at No.28.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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