PlayStation 3’s next lot of heavy hitters may not be arriving until 2013, but that doesn’t mean this holiday season is entirely devoid of big exclusives. Aside from the ambitious Wonderbook, platform holder Sony’s big gun this year is the Santa Monica-developed beat-‘em-up PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Unlike Wonderbook – which is predominantly aimed at kids and goes down the augmented reality route – PlayStation All-Stars caters more to your hardcore gamer, and is exactly the type of game you’d expect to be sold on the back of a massive marketing push. Why is it, then, that Sony’s flagship fighter seems to be taking such a battering at retail for in the U.K.?
We won’t sugar coat this; early signs for Battle Royale are not pretty in the slightest. For such a significant release, Battle Royale limped into the charts at 38 -- a disappointing showcase no matter how you slice it. To be more specific, a trusted PSU.com source puts first week retail sales of the game at just 6,121 in the U.K. And, while you could attribute the poor performance to competitive marketing conditions (after all, with Call of Duty gobbling up the market share, even the likes of Hitman can’t get a look-in), you have to wonder whether or not Sony has put enough marketing muscle behind the game.
Wonderbook has benefited from an extensive marketing campaign, with frequent TV spots doing the rounds, which managed to push it up five places since launch. However, Battle Royale has seen little to no push whatsoever. Reading around online forums it is obvious consumer awareness for the game is at a low – even some of my mates don’t even know the game is coming out this year. The lack of marketing is incomprehensible. PlayStation All-Stars is a major release; it’s a celebration of 15 years of PlayStation icons, and a love letter to the fans who have been investing in the franchises that make up the game’s roster over the years. True, a console exclusive isn’t going to pull in as many punters as a multiplatform juggernaut like CoD or Assassin’s Creed III, but that didn’t stop Uncharted 3 from topping the charts last November.
In the case of Battle Royale, it seems that Sony may have also shot itself in the foot by pricing the game too high. Various U.K. outlets have the game priced at around £45-50, whereas if you pop down to your local supermarket, you’ll find the likes of Hitman and LEGO: Lord of the Rings for at least ten quid cheaper. Really, you have to wonder why Sony is selling such a major exclusive short, especially during such a competitive time of year – which is a crying shame, as it’s actually a bloody good game.
Has Sony tripped itself up with PS All-Stars? Do you think the game never stood a chance due to the proximity of its release to triple-A sequels? Let us know in the comments section below.