Adam's Rant: Resistance 3 Sales Prove Kevin Butler Still A Bad Salesman

By Adam Ma on September 18, 2011, 10:56PM EDT
PS3

When Kevin Butler disappeared into obscurity a few months ago I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe Sony had learned their lesson that hilarious advertisements are only worth pursuing if they actually have a positive impact on sales. Perhaps this time they were going to focus on showcasing the raw power of what their games can provide, the same way that they've done such a superb job in showing how the PlayStation 3 really is worth any real gamer's time and money. We all knew it wouldn't be the end of KB for sure, he was bound to return in some form or another in the future, but perhaps they would come up with something that would make us want the man to return. Long Live Play was the best they had in mind apparently, and I'm sure Insomniac Games are absolutely thrilled about it. Resistance 3 was the first title to run shortly after Kevin's impressive LLP launch video, so with a few million eyes looking at gaming's most influential fake CEO, sales must be booming, right?

I hate to jump through all the same points again, but how can anyone be surprised with Resistance 3's sales being so awful compared to the second "“ which sold nearly twice as more in its first week "“ when no one has taken the time to properly market the game? Disappointed gamers that have picked up the title citing issues with online play tend to throw out the excuse that a lack of support has resulted in R3's poor sales, but has that stopped Dead Island from topping the charts? Even looking aside from the fact that Dead Island was a multi-platform launch, the game still almost broke R3's first week on the PlayStation 3 alone (223,899 units vs 274,051) based off of a viral video shown months before launch was even confirmed. Dead Island also has yet to launch in Japan, whereas Resistance 3 has already been released worldwide.

If Deep Silver can release the wrong version of Dead Island, riddled with bugs and game-breaking occurrences and still sell well despite all those setbacks, then I can only assume that the issue here isn't a matter of quality. Resistance 3 has even scored better from publications all over, so taking those issues into mind, there isn't a single reason that the game should be doing as poorly as it is.

The fact is that yet again Sony banked on word of mouth and an overrated spokesperson to push sales, and yet again sales were low for a game that (looking at all other factors involved) should have done much better. It's worthwhile considering that maybe some reviewers were blowing a little bit of hot air up our skirts when it came to how good R3 was, but isn't that the point of marketing? As a publisher you hope that the scores come in high because it makes creating an advertisement that much easier. When you have valuable seconds to catch a consumers attention, draw them into your product, and encourage them make a purchase, why would you waste any of it on details completely unrelated to what you are trying to sell?

Sony has at their disposal a man who is completely identifiable by voice alone. Most gamers would have a hard time picking out Master Chief or Marcus Fenix from the audio clippings of any CSI: New York episode, yet this invaluable resource is squandered while Sony instead decides to show people playing R3 in the background, near some tiny screens that cycle through some bland in-game footage. You need to squint in order to even see what's happening in any of the 'live gameplay' by the end of the trailer, and it certainly doesn't convince me to do any further research. Would it have been smarter to show us a little more in-game action and use some of KB's fast talking to back it all up? I think so, but then again maybe it's just more important to use that strategy to sell consoles instead of selling the video games that launch on said platform.

Since it's impossible to request exactly how many people watched the advertisement play on television followed by doing further research or making a purchase, lets just take a look at Youtube for some numbers. A little over 5 thousand people viewed the KB Resistance commerical, just slightly over how many people viewed the official TV Commerical 'Radio', which went over the emotional story part of Resistance 3. Yet somehow the launch of LLP nets around 1,500,000 views? It's hardly a matter of people not enjoying Kevin as a spokesperson, it's a matter of no one holding any interest in what he's trying to sell. Coupled alongside props, numbers, and funny 'situations,' KB is an effective sales tool, but the moment Sony tries to sell something that actually requires gamers to pay attention to the product itself the message is lost. What do you actually learn from the R3 commercial? That the game supports PlayStation Move? We could have figured that out just by looking at the box, but the box was only important enough to get a one second long snippet. Kevin's horse got almost more screen time than the product itself. Why aren't they offering that for sale?

No, Resistance 3 is not a game for everyone and this isn't to say that these numbers couldn't be dramatically improved with some core game design tweaks. But there are few games that score remarkably well from reviewers, are held in fairly high acclaim by industry standards, are
treated to a global launch, and hail from a very well selling sequel that do this poorly. Resistance 3 didn't under-perform because it's not a good game, it failed because Sony still doesn't seem to understand the industry they're marketing to. How much has really changed from the ad campaign that went alongside the abyssal launch Playstation 3 suffered back in the day? From the looks of things, not much.

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