NEWS - Saturday, October 24, 2009

Initial DJ Hero Sales Might Be Slow

Activision’s newest upcoming music title, DJ Hero, has a lot to live up to. After releasing several successful iterations of the Guitar Hero franchise, the publisher decided to try something new by releasing a DJ-based game using a turntable controller, and exposing its audience to a whole new way of playing music.

But how will it sell?

Guitar Hero co-founder Kai Huang recently spoke during panel at the PLAY Digital Media Conference in Berkeley. Huang was asked about the company’s sales expectations for DJ Hero this coming holiday. He said the Activision has its sights set on a long-term sales goal, and not the typical first month results.

"We’re not expecting a typical videogame curve where you sell the majority of the units in the first month and then it decays quickly," Huang stated. "We’re expecting this to be the type of game that may come out of the gate a little bit slower, but continue to grow over time."

Huang also said DJ Hero will be marketed similarly to Guitar Hero 1, which depended on heavy in-store demonstrations and word-of-mouth advertising.

"We’ve got a bit of a head start, people have an understanding what music games are, it has the ’Hero’ brand on it," he said. "But at the same time, people don’t know what a DJ game is, they don’t know what you’re supposed to do. Our strategy again is to focus on in-store demos."

"If you look at Guitar Hero 3, which to date has been the most successful Guitar Hero game to date selling 12 million units, it did take three iterations to get the game out there and for people to know how it works."

Electronic Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich agreed with Huang, and said he doesn’t expect the title to put up similar sales numbers to its Guitar Hero counterparts.

"DJ Hero should follow a similar pattern, but I expect sales to be much stronger than the original Guitar Hero due to the familiarity of the brand," Divnich told IGN. "However, sales will not look like Guitar Hero 5 or Guitar Hero World Tour as those were highly anticipated and most consumers were already familiar with the play mechanics. DJ Hero will fall somewhere in the middle, in terms of a sales curve."

Divnich also said, unlike the original Guitar Hero, DJ Hero will catch on much quicker and should be a success due to its potential popularity in European territories.

"DJ Hero will have a much bigger marketing campaign than the original Guitar Hero, so it won’t take two years for the game to catch on," he added. "We’ll know in a matter of months if DJ Hero will be a success. I speculate it will be, especially in Europe where house music is far more popular."



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