God of War and Gears of War have a lot in common. Both use GoW as their acronym, both are console exclusives, and both released a non-numbered prequel this March: God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment. And both titles performed relatively poorly during their first month of sales.
To be fair, both ‘Of War’ games had some pretty stiff competition in March. As March typically ends a quarter for publishers, many developers are encouraged to get their product out by then. Moreover, with a new console cycle looming in the horizon developers likely want to get their games out before they get lost in the next-gen shuffle.
Either way, Gears of War: Judgment and God of War: Ascension had to contend with the likes of BioShock Infinite, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, and SimCity for a share of the March sales pie. Square Enix’s Tomb Raider (a February release) also fared quite well in the month, piggybacking off a strong critical response.
Up against some stiff competition, Gears of War: Judgment sold 425,000 units during its first month while God of War: Ascension sold only 360,000 units. For comparison, Gears of War 3 sold 2 million units in its first month, and God of War 3 sold 1.1 million.
The real question, though, is what might have led to poor sales for these flagship franchises. As was mentioned, both are console exclusives so their sales numbers won’t necessarily reach the heights of, say, BioShock or Tomb Raider — which are available on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Additionally, both games were prequels — side stories told apart from the main narrative — and were followups to the satisfying conclusions to their respective trilogies. Gamers had already experienced the catharsis that comes with completing an epic journey, and perhaps they were not yet ready to jump back into these universes. Judgment, for that matter, didn’t feature the series’ chief protagonist, Marcus Fenix, but instead focused on Baird and Cole.
While sales were “weak” for both franchises, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that both Gears of War and God of War will return for the next-gen. And fans will likely be chomping at the bit to see what each franchise’s respective developer can do with new hardware.
Why do you think sales were “weak” for the latest God of War and Gears of War franchise entries? Did you think, quality-wise, that either game was up to par?
Source: Games Industry