According to numerous UK number-tracking companies, the sales of Watch Dogs 2 are massively down on Watch Dogs 1 figures. During the original’s launch week, Watch Dogs sold 388,000 copies. This week’s sequel has only sold 77,600. That’s a drop of 80%.
This seems to be a common theme this Fall. Titanfall 2 suffered similar lower-than-expected figures even with a positive critical and public opinion of the games’ quality. Of course, some lost sales can be accounted to the rise of digital market’s over physical ones but it doesn’t account for that large of a loss – or even a loss at all. The sales figures of any sequel are expected to rise above that of previous games in the series.
In fact, confirming sales figures are lower-than-expected, Ubisoft have commented on the situation. They told Eurogamer: “We’re incredibly happy with critics’ and players’ very positive reception of Watch Dogs 2, which should bolster support for the long-term success of the game. It is true that first-day and first-week sales for a number of big games, including Watch Dogs 2 and titles from our competitors, are comparatively lower than previous versions in previous years.”
“However, we expect both week-two and week-three sales to be above traditional sales patterns. There is a trend toward games, especially high-quality games, having stronger and longer ‘tails’ as favorable reviews and word of mouth spread. Watch Dogs 2 is already considered a tremendous addition to the open-world action adventure series and we’re confident that millions of players are going to love it.”
Put simply; yes, Watch Dogs 2 sales are low but Ubisoft, at least not outwardly, are that worried.
So what is causing these big drops in sales? It’s certainly not one that can be explained in any one factor: there is the rise of digital markets as well as both the original Titanfall and Watch Dogs disappointing fans. Not only is this holiday season a particularly busy time for games – with multiple AAA releases a week – but also for gaming peripherals. People thinking of buying one of the many releases this Fall may also want the Playstation 4 Pro, Playstation VR or Xbox One S.
And then there is the elephant in the room: microtransactions, DLC and pre-order bonuses. Although Titanfall 2 promised to have no DLC or season pass of any kind, Watch Dogs 2 had no less than six versions to pre-order and a trailer for the DLC before the title had even released. Hell, Ubisoft released a table to help buyers distinguish between the different versions. It’s not much worse than what we have come to expect from the industry as of late but maybe, just maybe, people are beginning to get a little sick of it.