Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sega's Advertising Failure - Conduit 2?



Coffee Beans
Conduit 2 was released on April 19, 2011 for the Wii with a MSRP of $49.99.

Conduit 2 was developed by High Voltage Software, and published by Sega.  The game received a "Teen" rating from the ESRB with "Animated Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence" listed as content for gamers/parents to be aware of.

It was officially announced on March 29, 2010 that Conduit 2 was in development.  The game is a direct sequel to the original game, The Conduit, but it has several new features such as local multi-player and WM+ control support.  Conduit 2 can also be patched(and has been) to hopefully address any issues that may pop-up in the game.

With Conduit 2 being the sequel to one of the Wii's most-hyped FPS games, did Sega's approach of not advertising Conduit 2 with any commercials, and relying only on name-recognition payoff for them?  Let's take a look!

Click chart to view full size to read/see data easier.
The higher the line on the chart, the better the sales rank.
Chart Info
The chart above shows the sales ranks for Conduit 2 on the Wii, with sales ranks recorded from April 19 though April 30, 2011.  The sales ranks were recorded each day from Amazon.com's "Video Game" category, that posts the sales ranks for video games and video game accessories.

Conduit 2's sale price on Amazon.com was also recorded each day, and is shown above each date/time and sale rank point on the chart. The chart has the graph lines reversed so the higher the line on the chart, the better the Amazon.com sales ranks.

Highs & Lows
The highest recorded sale rank for Conduit 2 was #365 on April 19 around 11:30PM.
The lowest recorded sale rank for Conduit 2 was #1,138 on April 30 around 10:05PM.

Sale Rank Average
Conduit 2's overall sale rank overage was #685 for the 11 days of data recorded in April.

Critical Reception
Conduit 2's "professional" review score averages started being published on the internet on April 19, the day it released.

Conduit 2's current "professional" review score average is 67.16%, based on 32 reviews on GameRankings.com.

The game currently has a 4.5 out of 5 Stars rating on Amazon.com, based on 13 customer reviewsConduit 2's customer review score average is 87.69% when the reviews are converted to a 100% review scale.

Review score averages recorded around 12:30AM on May 17, 2011.

Filtered Thoughts
The Conduit released on June 23, 2009.  The game had a lot of hype from High Voltage Software, the game's developer, before it released, and Sega even helped the game along by releasing two commercials for it.

I have followed Amazon.com sales ranks on different games for a while now. The original game, The Conduit, may have been the first game I actively followed on Amazon.com.

You can see through the following dates/links how The Conduit was ranking back in June/July 2009, as well as one post from September 2009:
     The Conduit Entered Amazon.com's "Top 100" Video Games - June 20, 2009
     The Conduit Entered Amazon.com's "Top 50" Video Games - June 22, 2009
     The Conduit Entered Amazon.com's "Top 30" Video Games - June 23, 2009
     The Conduit Entered Amazon.com's "Top 20" Video Games - June 24, 2009
     The Conduit made the Wii's "Top 5" Game Sales(according to rank) - June 27, 2009
     The Conduit Falls from Amazon.com's "Top 100" Video Games - July 25, 2009
     The Conduit's 12 Weeks - September 24, 2009

As the links above show, The Conduit did pretty well initially on Amazon.com, especially when compared to Conduit 2.

I never saw Conduit 2 crack Amazon.com's "Top 100" in video games, and as the chart shows, its sales ranks plummeted pretty quickly after it released.  I think one big reason for this, was Sega's and/or HVS' lack of advertising for the game.  While The Conduit had two commercials put out for it, Conduit 2 has had zero commercials put out for it.

I don't know what happened from the original game to Conduit 2, but for some reason HVS and/or Sega didn't feel the sequel needed as much promotion as the original.  Why would a publisher release a game on the console with the largest installation base and not put out one single television advertisement?  I have no idea, but I would love to ask the people that made that decision, "Why?".

If Sega was really relying on The Conduit's name-recognition only, I would say that was a major failure on their part; and I think the sales chart above and the lack of Conduit 2 information in April's NPD data verifies that.

If you have not seen any footage from Conduit 2, below is the first trailer released for the game.


Questions
Have any of you been playing Conduit 2 since it released, and if so, what do you think about it? If you played the original game, The Conduit, and you have played Conduit 2, do you think Conduit 2 is better than the original in most areas?

Also, do any of you think it's odd that Sega/HVS did not put out any commercials for Conduit 2?

If any of you are interested in Conduit 2, you can see prices for it on Amazon.com linked below:
  

6 comments:

  1. Good morning. :)

    I haven't played either, actually - but I do agree that it's odd that they didn't really publicize it. I recall when the first Conduit came out, it seemed like I was seeing it advertised on gaming sites too, and I didn't even realize Conduit 2 had come out until I read a couple of reviews on it. Definitely hurt awareness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was revealed some time ago, that when sega decided to publish the conduit, they signed a 2 game contract with HVS. What I believe, is that TCon was not exactly what SEGA was expecting, and decided to reduce the budget for the sequel.

    I believe, the game wouldn't even exist if it wasnt because of the contract.
    SEGA cannot fail in something they didnt care to begin with, they just made a few disc and that's all.

    Hopefully, HVS can make other conduits, and not need SEGA as a publisher. They already did enough damage to ToL and now this...

    Me? Im havinga a hard time even finding this game where I live, but Im patient, they have a few bugs to fix yet.

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  3. dim_t101, everything you said about the contract is complete bull. First of all Sega has said the sales of The Conduit were good and it had a second reprinting with the Violence Bundle. The Game sold about 85%-90% of all copies printed, and the price today is still high never below $15 now; unlike Madworld where few printed copies were sold and it dropped to $5-$8 and a million can be found in stores. Second Sega did nothing for The Conduit's funding aside from advertising,If The Conduit bombed then Sega would barely be effected. And if Sega really did not like The Conduit, it wold have been easy to not make Conduit 2, C2 could simply just not be made like Advent Rising 2/3, Psychonauts 2, Beyond Good & Evil 2, etc..

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think advertising killed The Conduit 2 (or lack thereof) - advertising is actually a very expensive way to try and make sales (in that, one TV ad is unlikely to result in enough game sales to justify the ad). It works for big blockbusters, but for smaller games like this, it simply does not.

    What killed the Conduit 2 was that it was a FPS on the wrong console. The Wii is simply not the right environment for FPSers. It's also incredibly difficult to try and sell a new FPS franchise when there's the likes of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor around.

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  5. I think a combination of reviews, lack of advertising and Wii fatigue are all factors. I can't put total blame on advertising alone. Some would have surely help a bit. I think Wii Hardcore gamers like ourselves are the only ones that paid attention to the first game and gave it good sales (due to lots of hype about finally getting great FPS on Wii, check out Medal of Honor Heroes 2 AMAZING!). I think most people were waiting cautiously/optimistically, holding out on the second one to see how it turned out. Lets face it Conduit 1 was an ok game... mostly meh, but it had lots of potential. Between the not so hot reviews and lack of interest I think people figured why buy C2, rent it and see. I rented it and it's not really that good of a game, it play control is good well but the rest of the universe is pretty bland and you can get much more what your looking for in terms of online elsewhere, unless all you have is a Wii. So my verdict is that its everyone's fault, mostly High Voltage for putting out another mediocre game. If the game was fantastic, there would be a rally cry from the internet and Wii gamers... where's the buzz!?

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  6. @Chalgyr:
    Yea, even if it was web ads, I think something would have been better than nothing.

    @dim_t101:
    I do remember reading about the contract for two games, but contracts are broken, especially if one party sees it will be cheaper to break the contract and pay, than to fulfill the contract and pay, and possibly lose more.
    It really does depend on what the terms of the contract were.

    @Proged:
    I believe what dim_t101 was talking about can be read at:
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-12-16-the-conduit-2-the-long-road-back-interview

    @GamesAndBiz:
    "...advertising is actually a very expensive way to try and make sales..."
    How else do you do it though? Luck?

    "What killed the Conduit 2 was that it was a FPS on the wrong console. The Wii is simply not the right environment for FPSers. It's also incredibly difficult to try and sell a new FPS franchise when there's the likes of Call of Duty and Medal of Honor around."

    I don't think so. I have yet to see ANY third party(or Nintendo) release a FPS on the Wii and give it heavy advertising. The Conduit and Red Steel 2 both had advertising, but nothing super heavy...just a week or two of some commercials at most, and both games have sold around the 400K-ish mark.
    While Call of Duty and GoldenEye are both still selling better than Conduit 2(both outranked Conduit 2 each day in April I checked), they both had television advertisements and press/hype going up to their releases.
    Though Call of Duty Black Ops on the Wii had very little pre-release press, and Wii owners were left in the dark really...it probably has benefited from having the "Wii" logo at the end of the Black Ops commercials.

    A new Medal of Honor hasn't been out on the Wii in 3 years now, so that series shouldn't even factor here.

    @Brad J. (The Butcher):
    I'm not even saying the game is great/not great, just this lack of advertising baffles me(not just for this game either).
    You have games like Just Dance that got TRASHED by reviewers, yet it had advertisements...and sold by the bucket loads.

    I just think it's really crazy to release a game, with an install base of 30+ million in one country alone, and NOT advertise it...ANY.
    As Chalgyr said, I have seen no internet banners, have heard of no TV commercials, and don't know if they did any magazine prints...

    Thank you all for the comments/feedback, I appreciate it! Feel free to reply back. If anybody else has any thoughts on this topic, and Conduit 2, feel free to jump in the conversation.

    ReplyDelete

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