Monday, October 26, 2009

DJ Hero

DJ Hero ships tomorrow, and like I said a few weeks ago, I think the game will be a critical sucess and a significant commercial failure, at least in the U.S. Analysts have been scrambling to cut back their estimates, like this guy:
Demand for Activision's DJ Hero in the US is "well below" expectations for the game to become even a modest success, according to analyst Doug Creutz of Cowan and Company.

...Creutz anticipates that DJ Hero will only sell 600,000 units in the US during the fourth quarter, down one million units compared to Cowan's previous 1.6m estimate, with full year sales at 950,000, instead of 2.5 million.

WTF? The original estimate was for 2.5 million units for the full year? How many bongs are being used at C&C on a daily basis? How in the world would anyone think this game would sell 2.5 million units in the U.S.?

Here's more:
We still believe that DJ Hero will be an important part of Activision Blizzard's music franchise strategy, but we think it may take a few versions of the game for it to reach its full market potential (similar to the original Guitar Hero).

No chance, and the analogy is totally wrong. Guitar Hero was a music game introduced when music games were still a totally niche product. That's not true anymore, and DJ Hero is benefitting from that familiarity. However, it's also going to be dealing with genre fatigue, which isn't a benefit at all. How many people want to pay $100 for another piece of plastic "musicry" that is compatible with absolutely nothing else?

Here's another reason the analogy with Guitar Hero is wrong. The percentage of people who listen to rock music and have wanted to be guitar gods is exponentially higher than the people who want to be DJ's. That's always going to be a niche demographic, but Activision's business model doesn't support making niche games. Bobby Kotick--not a nurturer. Instead, he's the guy who rode his horse into the canyon, flogged him mercilessly, and when the horse couldn't go on, left him to die.

Years later, the horse's bleached bones were found in an arroyo, but that's a story for another day.

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