After a record-setting launch day, Watch Dogs sales are not slowing down. One week after the game set a new bar for 24-hour sales at Ubisoft, the publisher is now reporting the new IP has sold over 4 million copies. The number makes Watch Dogs the fastest selling Ubisoft title (so far) and secures its place as the current record-holder in highest first week sales for a brand new IP throughout games industry history. While the title has a long way to go before it comes close to entering even the top 25 best selling titles of all time, where it would need at least 20 million copies sold, there's no doubt that Watch Dogs is off to a great start.
After all, the game launched to mostly favorable reviews, even if players and critics agree the title doesn't quite live up to its E3 2012 pitch. Our own Rob Keyes called Watch Dogs "a solid, polished game worth playing" and while some might squabble (understandably) about scaled down next-gen visual fidelity and frame rates, the project succeeds at its primary goal - changing-up traditional open world mechanics by providing players with a wide range of tools for manipulating the environment and cleaning up Chicago's streets.
Without question, the Watch Dogs hacking mechanic helps remedy long-running problems that persist in open world titles (such as never-ending car chases and auto-fail stealth missions) while also upping the possibility for eye-popping action moments inside the city sandbox. It's an intriguing setup and one that hooked potential players the first time we saw Aiden Pearce disable chasing police cars by changing a traffic light and raising street barricades. Now that the game is out in the wild and players are able to share their own favorite moments, there's plenty of reason to think that casual players will see value in the foundation that Ubisoft has prepared.
In response to the first week sales, senior director of marketing and communications at Ubisoft, Lucile Bousquet, celebrated the Watch Dogs buzz - and, once again, teased that fans can expect further installments in the brand:
“With such strong sales momentum and positive feedback from gamers, Watch Dogs has positioned itself as the must-have game of the moment. We’re really proud of this achievement, and are confident that the Watch Dogs brand has a promising future.”
Still, at the present time, it's unclear exactly when we'll see Watch Dogs 2. Even though Ubisoft is known for annual releases in key brands - such as Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy, and Just Dance - it's highly unlikely that Watch Dogs 2 will release in the next year. Watch Dogs is an entirely new brand, admittedly one that was built on the shoulders of other open-world games, and the publisher would not have driven production on a sequel too far into development before gauging reception of the first installment. Not to mention, the developer recently delayed their other highly anticipated next-gen title The Division into 2015 (like many other games) - meaning that even though Ubisoft is a very large publisher, they've already got their hands full with several other announced projects.
That said, it's same to assume that the developer is farther along than some might think and, depending on their long term plan, an early 2016 release might not be entirely out of the question (though that's speculation at this point). Even though Watch Dogs is solid on its own, many gamers will be looking toward the sequel to truly deliver on the eye-popping visuals that were originally promised - while also iterating on the core hacking gameplay. Much like the first Assassin's Creed, which was more proof of concept than fully fleshed out game, there's a real opportunity for Ubisoft to evolve and diversify the Watch Dogs foundation in a sequel - in order to deliver a true next-gen open world experience.
MORE: Watch Dogs Game Review
Watch Dogs is now available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The Wii U version is aiming for a fall 2014 release.
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