Watch Dogs 2's sales are massively down compared to the original, though Ubisoft expects the game's second and third week sales to be above 'traditional sales patterns.'
Ubisoft's San Francsico-set cyber sandbox, Watch Dogs 2, has been released to incredibly positive reviews. Game Rant's own Watch Dogs 2 review praised its "immersive environment," as well as its characters and even its approach to humor. However, while the critical reception to the game looks good, sales of the game are underwhelming. Watch Dogs 2 was unable to take the top spot on the UK games chart, with sales drastically down from the original.
According to chart-track, which compiles physical sales data for the region, Watch Dogs 2 was only the second best-selling game during its launch week as it was pipped to the post by Activision's futuristic shooter Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. FIFA 17, Battlefield 1, and WWE 2K17 took third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Watch Dogs 2's sales were also down by 80% when compared to the original, which puts sales of the new game at around 80,000 (the first Watch Dogs sold 380,000 in the region at launch).
Responding to the data, Ubisoft says that it is "incredibly happy with critics' and players' very positive reception" to the game, saying that it should "bolster support for the long-term success" of the title. The company also expects "both week-two and week-three sales to be above traditional sales patterns," saying that there is a "trend" towards high-quality games having "longer 'tails'" as a result of positive reviews and word of mouth.
Ubisoft's statement also points out that titles from competitors have also struggled to move copies in recent weeks. Dishonored 2's sales were down over the original, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's sales are down over Black Ops 3, and Titanfall 2's sales have been called 'abysmal' by at least one analyst.
There are likely several contributing factors to the poor sales of these games. The most obvious one being that more gamers than ever are downloading their games rather than purchasing them at retail and as chart-track doesn't count these, a considerable chunk of sales isn't included. Battlefield 1's sales success and the fact that Watch Dogs 2 and co. were all released after DICE's first-person shooter is also likely to have had an effect, while Games Industry also notes that physical game sales in the UK are down by 16% overall even as the overall UK games spend is up by 5% (including DLC, hardware and digital sales of games).
In Watch Dogs 2's case, specifically, the fact that the first Watch Dogs game disappointed may have also led to these low sales. Ubisoft previously admitted that Watch Dogs 2 pre-order figures are below expectations and at the time, many suggested that perhaps gamers were waiting for reviews before they buy, just in case the sequel couldn't improve over the original. If that is what's happened here then Ubisoft is correct and those positive reviews and word of mouth will turn things around, but only time will tell.
Watch Dogs 2 is now available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.