Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So why did Tales of Graces fail?

Yes, its early, but given how frontloaded the Tales series tends to be, we can say right now that Graces is very disappointing. It sold less first week than Symphonia:KoR, a poorly received spinoff and sold over 80K worse than Vesperia PS3.

Why did it do so poorly?

A lot of potential reasons come to mind, some more valid than others

1- "Third Party games don't sell on Wii"

I think there is some validity to this statement, as there really are few 3rd party successes on the platform. I don't think its that simple though- what seems to me the likeliest possibility is that the PS2 audience has simply not moved to the Wii in any substantive numbers making most core PS2 franchises likely candidates for weak sales. Now, for Graces that excuse holds less weight given the presence of Symphonia on the GameCube and the spinoff on the Wii last year.

2- Final Fantasy 13

This is something I discounted early but it might have well played a factor. I think its possible FF13 completely overshadowed Graces to such an extent that normal RPG players that would buy Graces day 1 are instead waiting for FF13 and will buy Graces used in a month.

3- The Symphonia spinoff led to skepticism about Graces

From most accounts, the spinoff was not a quality product. Is it possible that this made it less likely that people would be interested in Graces even though it is the superior game? Possibly. How else do you explain a mainline entry selling less initially than the poorly received spinoff?

4- The market for RPG's on the Wii is very low and the Symphonia spinoff only did as well as it did because of the Symphonia name.

This seems possible as well. There really is no RPG market on the Wii, probably Nintendo's fault as well as 3rd parties. And yet Symphonia:KoR did decent, i.e over 200K. That led me and other to just assume a better effort would do better. But maybe the only reason KoR did that well was because of the Symphonia name and the true market for RPG's on the Wii is generally much lower.

Whatever the reason, Graces is a clear disappointment and no matter how valid some of these excuses may be, there comes a point where the exceptions swallow the rule- and in this case, I feel confident in saying Graces is an example of a game that has done better on other platforms, namely the PS3, and was hurt by being on the Wii.

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