Posted on November 14, 2008,

NPD Fallout: Where Was Guitar Hero World Tour in October?

Gaming Today

As we pointed out in yesterday’s story on the October NPDs, perhaps the biggest title to not make the list was Guitar Hero World Tour. It did come out in the last week of the month, but Guitar Hero III released a day later and still managed to claim four spots on the top ten charts despite going up against the likes of Halo 3, The Orange Box, Ratchet & Clank Future, and the impossible-to-kill Wii Play.

We contacted Activision to find out what their reaction was to the news and see how they’d spin it. An Activision representative told us, “Guitar Hero was the #1 game across all platforms on a dollar basis and the #2 title on a unit basis.” The dollar figure isn’t surprising, given that the biggest seller of the bunch was likely the full band kits which retail for $190 on Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3. And given the number of consoles the game was released on — the three aforementioned plus the PlayStation 2 (although the rep pointed out that the PS2 bundle has yet to release) — that would explain to a certain extent both why no single console made the top ten and how the game could be the #2 overall seller without any individual SKU making the top ten.

In addition to the PS2 bundle not releasing until November, the Activision rep claimed, “The biggest difference between this year’s launch and last [year's] is that our initial launch quantities were limited due to early supply constraints,” before reassuring us, “However, we will be steadily replenishing the supply throughout the quarter.”

Guitar Hero 3 was a mainstay in the charts following release, with at least two SKUs camping there for five consecutive months, from October 2007 – February 2008. The November NPDs should prove to be very interesting as both Rock Band 2 and World Tour seek to make the list after both failing in October. There are any number of reasons that could account for this — were gamers unaware they would be able to use their older instruments with World Tour and Rock Band 2, putting them off from purchasing it? Have people finally gotten tired of paying a premium price for music games, particularly in this economic climate? Or was the competition simply too much to overcome? Hopefully we’ll get some indication next month.

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