Nintendo Calls Chinatown Sales ‘Frustrating’; Implies Lack Of Marketing

Nintendo Calls Chinatown Sales ‘Frustrating’; Implies Lack Of Marketing

Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sale and marketing, confessed to being frustrated by the sales numbers behind Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and suggested Rockstar hasn’t learned something Nintendo already knows about marketing.

Asked by MTV Multiplayer if Nintendo was disappointed by Chinatown Wars’ showing, Dunaway said:

It’s frustrating, quite frankly. Certainly there have been mature titles – Resident Evil, the first Call of Duty – that have sold over a million units and with something like GTA, there’s great content there. We do think it’ll have a long tail and we’ve seen that with a lot of titles across all genres on the DS platform that consumers continue to discover them. But part of what’s needed is you have to continue to put marketing support behind these titles. It’s one of the things we’ve learned over the past few years. The old dynamic of throw it on TV for a few weeks and forget it isn’t going to work, because new consumers are coming in all the time.

See it for yourself in the entire video below:

MTV Shows
Nintendo: ‘GTA: Chinatown Wars’ Frustrating Sales Due To Marketing (Or Lack Thereof)
[MTV Multiplayer]


  • No one purchased it because no one who wants to play mature games buys Nintendo games. G4’s interview with Reggie after the E3 where this title was announced really summed it up, “This isn’t what hardcore gamers want.”

    The confused look on Reggie’s face really showed that Nintendo just have no idea what they’re doing.

    • Nintendo have no idea why they should care what hardcore gamers want. As far as they’re concerned, Microsoft and Sony can keep selling to the same five million white Caucasian males that have been buying their games since the 1980s, and Nintendo will have the rest of the world, thank you very much.

      Hardcore gamers are this tiny, tiny, niche market compared to what platforms like the Wii, DS, and iPhone are exploring. They’re only financially relevant in that that they’re a VOCAL niche whose opinion to some extent guides brand recognition in the mainstream market.

      • The comment about the long tail is telling, by teh way. What Dunaway’s saying here is that the DS install base – who vastly outnumber the install base on any other current-gen system – aren’t people who see something on TV and rush out and buy it on launch day. They’re people who slowly accumulate brand recognition and slowly develop their tastes, and who are “interested” in retail titles for as much as six months before making a purchasing decision. They’re sold by strong, interesting concepts and quick, accessible, low-investment fun, and they see their game choices as expressions of their intention to relax and unwind and thefore value titles that promise a low-stress experience.

        To that end marketing for DS games needs to be sustained over a long time, creating the image of a game that you can unwind with on multiple occasions over a long period, rather than a high-impact rock-em-sock em experience. Rockstar should have called the title “GTA Chinatown”, with the emphasis on Chinatown and Wars notably removed (thereby promising an experience, not a conflict), had box art emphasising landscape and gameplay rather than specific characters (or in the alternative, expressive soft-tone large-face character art for the Asian market), and marketed it on the basis of the free-roaming experience rather than the plotline and action. That marketing should have been in constant-exposure channels (buses, posters, magazines, banner ads) rather than burst channels (television, radio, in-store).

        Essentially she’s calling Rockstar out on a failure to do their market research and assuming the marketing that works for 360 consumers would work for DS consumers.

        • Wow, how much did Nintendo pay you to say that? Regardless of all the gobbledygook you just spouted, I’m sure the ds’s pirate savvy clientele have kindly decided to download the rom as apposed to paying for it, effecting sales and rockstars potential success.

          • While some of this may be true, they have put money into constant exposure advertising. I know because a bus I see every morning on my street has a giant Chinatown Wars advertisement plastered across the side… but still, seeing it every day doesn’t make me want to buy the game.

  • What I wouldn’t give to see an ad where Delta Goodrem (DSi) or Rebecca Gibney (Wii Fit Plus?) or Beyonce (Rhythm Heaven) blow up cars and run over pedestrians.

  • On another note. I REALLY enjoyed this game. Almost as much as vice city and MUCH more than san andreas.

    It was like playing the orignals (1+2) only revamped, redone and much more fun/cool.

    Its a shame it didnt get the sales because I would definately buy the next one!!

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