Speaking on his personal blog, former games journalist and current Activision man Dan Amrich has launched a passionate defence of online racer Blur following widespread reports of low sales in the US.
I've seen sites call it a ‘failure' and one even went on to list a whole bunch of reasons why it failed, citing everything from the game's delay to the wrong platform to not giving gamers what they wanted,” he claimed.
For the record, I don't agree with any of that — the delay helped it immeasurably, the 360 and PS3 multiplayer audiences are loyal, and the game offers plenty for action racing fans like myself.
Blur came out a week after Split/Second and the same day as ModNation Racers. I'm not sure what your budget looks like, but I can rarely afford to buy three games in eight days — nor do I have the time to play all of them at once anyway. A three-way race was a bad thing, because two of those three games were going to ‘lose'.”
Amrich goes on to explain that Blur enjoyed a strong June in North America and could yet surprise with its sales numbers post-May.
Realising that gamers were strapped for cash in that three-way grab for the racing dollar, Activision issued an official $20 coupon in June to encourage folks to check out Blur once their wallets had refilled. Best Buy and Kmart also put the game on sale in June, and some lucky people were able to stack those deals even though they probably weren't supposed to.
None of those people who came to Blur a few weeks late have been counted yet; that sales data released in July only covers May, and is very outdated.”
It's also important to note that over a month after it was first released Blur remains in the UK Top 20.
Amrich also references fellow Activision title DJ Hero. The publisher has openly admitted that its plan for new IP is a long-term one and that the brand shouldn't be judged on early sales of the first title.
DJ Hero was dubbed a flop on its release too, but what it needed was time for its audience to find it, a price break, and positive word from both friends and reviews to circulate. October and November were soft, but after the holiday, DJ Hero had hit about 800,000 units; today it's 1.2m units and counting, all of which come with a turntable controller.
That's not a flop; that's the long tail at work. So to suggest a game is a failure because it didn't sell hundreds of thousands of units in its first 168 hours is pretty ridiculous.”