US: Chinatown Wars sales below expectations

US analyst Cowan and Company has stated that it believes Rockstar’s recently released Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars sold just 89,000 units on DS in the territory in March.

The firm had originally predicted that the game could sell as many as 450,000 units upon its release in North America. It later downsized its prediction to 250,000, but the final number falls far below even this.

Chinatown Wars is currently the highest rated DS game on Metacritic, and has garnered better reviews than GTA III and GTA: San Andreas.

Take 2 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,” Cowman and Company’s Doug Creutz explained.

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.

We believe the experiment was a worthwhile one for Take 2, and still expect the title to be profitable (though likely marginally so). 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.”

The sales of Chinatown Wars have lead many to question the viability of mature content on Nintendo’s portable machine – though some would argue that the rampant piracy troubling the handheld is more to blame.

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