Does Red Dead Redemption have mass appeal?

Rockstar has high hopes for the upcoming Red Dead Redemption, but US analyst Michael Pachter has questioned whether it will become the blockbuster that publisher 2K Games intends.

UK Rockstar boss Neil Stephen told MCV earlier this month: RDR is incredibly beautiful and on an unprecedented scale. This, combined with our most ambitious multiplayer offering to date, leaves us with very high expectations for what we think is our next blockbuster gaming franchise.”

However, speaking to Industry Gamers Pachter has questioned the appeal of the Wild West setting.

I’m sure that the quality of Red Dead Redemption is extraordinary, and I expect the game to garner review scores of around 90,” he conceded.

Whether the game is a blockbuster franchise will depend upon whether the game resonates with a large segment of the market. The trick in getting a game to sell a lot of units is not as simple as saying it will be a blockbuster. Rather, the game has to be great (likely), has to appeal to a large potential audience (questionable), and has to have solid marketing support (likely).

I am not sure that a game set in the late 19th century has tremendous mass appeal. I would have said the same for Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, God of War, Dante’s Inferno and any other period” pieces, yet most of these sold quite well.

My bias is that a game that is set in the US West will not be particularly appealing to European audiences, and a game where the most powerful weapon is a Gatling gun will not be particularly appealing to US audiences.

With that said, I suppose that the game could sell 2-3million units with a review score of 85 or more and solid marketing. I remain skeptical that the game will be considered a ‘blockbuster franchise’ and certainly do not expect sales to rival those of GTA.”

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