With his celestial voice, Freddy Mercury once belted the words, “Another one bites the dust.”
Nearly three decades later, the meaning of the prophetic lyric is clear. The latest NPD sales figures show Boom Blox, EA’s critically acclaimed collaboration with filmmaker Steven Spielberg, sold a paltry 60,000 copies in May.
As with Zack & Wiki, No More Heroes and Okami, it is disappointing to see quality third-party Wii efforts tank in the market. According to analyst firm Pacific Crest Securities’ Evan Wilson, Boom Blox’s failure is also indicative of a long-term trend for third-parties on Wii.
“Boom Blox was a true test of the potential for third-party success on Nintendo Wii. It appears that success on the Wii will remain difficult to achieve,” said Wilson during his NPD analysis for this month.
Difficult to achieve, at least, for publishers who release good games. The stylish graph below shows May’s top five best-selling third-party Wii games and their aggregate Metacritic review scores.
When Game Party outsells Boom Blox, something is wrong.
To be fair, gamers might be well-advised to take assessments from Pacific Crest with a hearty grain of salt. This is the same firm that had projected, according to MTV Multiplayer, Boom Blox would sell around 250,000 units in May, suggesting Wilson and Pacific Crest may be slightly disconnected from third-party realities on Wii.
Their point, however, is accurate. As Blake and David have pointed out consistently since its release, Boom Blox is one of the most enjoyable, quality third-party efforts available on Wii. But like many great third-party Wii titles before it, it seems destined for the dusty depths of Wal-Mart budget bins, its shiny white casing dented and dirtied and its riotous, family-friendly experiences unrecognized by the audience it was primarily created for.
EA is less pessimistic in regard to Boom Blox, however, and CEO John Riccitello painted a much brighter picture yesterday for investors attending the William Blair Investor Conference:
“(Boom Blox) has met our expectations internally. … It has continued to sell well. It did break into the top ten for the Wii, and the advertising is doing exactly what (our) team expected to: drive sales.”
It is worth noting that Capcom made similar statements about the lackluster sales performance of Zack & Wiki and that Riccitello was speaking to investors who, you know…want to hear good news.
Perhaps Boom Blox has proven it. Aside from “geeks and otaku,” no one cares about the collective opinion of the gaming media. And why should they? What would they know, those who make their living by playing and critiquing just about everything a system has to offer?
Excuse me while I go vomit disappointment.