Positive Dead Space: Extraction sales
by Jon Erik Ariza
‘Dead Space: Extraction’ sales figures are disappointing but could there be more than meets the eyes?
Disclaimer: This article is based on weekly sales data obtained from VGChartz’ sales tracking.
At this point, Dead Space: Extraction will probably forever be known as a sales flop. The news that the game had only sold roughly nine thousand copies its first week was shown across just about every major gaming site. However, it seems the game may have legs after all.
Comparing weekly sales figures from VGChartz of the Dead Space prequel against its recent competition, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, and its predecessor, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Dead Space: Extraction is clearly not on the same level of sales as its competition. Both Dead Space: Extraction and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles are rail shooters based on horror properties already seen on the high-definition consoles with the original Dead Space and Resident Evil 5.
What is interesting is that Dead Space: Extraction has seen an increase in sales over the past month, which has propelled it above even its opening weeks. The game which sold an estimated 19,000 copies in its first week (NPD data showing it sold 9,000 did not cover an entire week as the game was released on September 29th and the NPD reporting period ended on October 3rd) saw a dip in sales shortly after its release, but starting week 8, roughly Thanksgiving week, the game has seen a significant sales bump, rising to nearly 32,000 units sold by week 11.
These additional sales could probably be attributed to price drops at several retailers as well as the increased activity due to the holiday season, an increase Darkside Chronicles is seeing as well, though not to the same degree Dead Space has. The sales performance of Extraction is playing out just as EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich predicted when the NPD numbers where first released. Speaking to reporters in October, Divinich said, “Given Wii games tend to have a flatter sales curve, I don’t think 20,000 plus units is out of the question for October and maybe we get a holiday bump in November and December.” Which is just about what we are seeing, although the holiday bump does seem quite significant.
The situation on a worldwide scale looks much the same. Resident Evil clearly has the lion’s share of the sales but Dead Space is poised to give it a run for its money. Still, some people may point out that the sales are still disappointing and indicative of the futility of releasing a hardcore title on the Wii, or maybe even the vitality of the rail shooter genre as a whole. They could be right, but as usual, there is more information that should be considered.
The above graph, again from VGCharts, shows the weekly sales for Resident Evil 5 and the original Dead Space on the 360. Again, Resident Evil clearly dominates in sales. Still, for a new franchise, Dead Space has sold a good number of copies, especially if we combine sales over the various platforms on which it was released, it has sold nearly two million copies.
Now, Dead Space: Extraction may not have sold that many copies and whether or not it will is yet to be seen. Still, if we compare the sales of its predecessor in comparison to its run-in with the Resident Evil franchise, we’ll find that the percentage of sales of Dead Space to Resident Evil 5 is roughly the same as that of Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles to Dead Space: Extraction.
To attach some hard numbers to this comparison we can take Dead Space: Extraction’s first week sales in North America, roughly 19,412 copies, and compare it to Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles’ first week sales, roughly 76,075 copies, and we’ll find that for every copy of Dead Space: Extraction sold, roughly 3.9 copies of Darkside Chronicles were sold. Most everyone has already jumped the gun and branded Extraction’s sales as disappointing but let’s compare that to the hard numbers of Dead Space versus Resident Evil 5 on the Xbox 360.
Dead Space sold 161,376 copies in its first week in North America on the Xbox 360 whereas Resident Evil 5, another horror game that shares many gameplay similarities to Dead Space, sold 613,657 copies its first week. Compare the two and we see that for every copy of Dead Space sold, roughly 3.8 copies of Resident Evil 5 were sold. A figure surprisingly close to what we see playing out on the Wii with each game’s rail shooter brethren.
That is to say, the sales may not be breaking records, but it seems to be selling as well as its big brother in comparison to roughly the same competition. I would say that it’s not that Dead Space: Extraction is selling horribly, only that the franchise still has not broken into mainstream popularity as we all would like. Think of it what you will but it should have been clear to everyone that Dead Space would not outsell Resident Evil, regardless of the console and genre, period. At least not until the franchise has had a chance to mature and grow into the public consciousness to the point Resident Evil has.
Still, the original Dead Space never saw its weekly sales remotely approach what it sold its first week, whereas Dead Space: Extraction has seen at least two weeks of sales above its opening week. Perhaps, at the end of the day, or years, the Dead Space: Extraction to Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles ratio may be even better for the Dead Space franchise than the Dead Space to Resident Evil 5 ratio, showing that the franchise, has in fact seen some growth from title to title regardless of genre or console.