Namco's DS Sales Suck - Why?
The good folks over at Kotaku are reporting that Namco is cutting back on its profit forecast for 2006 based on poorly selling Nintendo DS games.
Let's look at Namco’s Nintendo DS lineup. The games are listed along with their average review score (out of a possible 100) as listed by MetaCritic.
Dig Dug® Digging Strike - 65
Mr.DRILLER® Drill Spirits™ - 70
PAC'N ROLL™ - 72
PAC-PIX™ - 71
Real Time Conflict: Shogun Empires™ - 38
Ridge Racer® DS – 63
Hmm. Not a whole lot of reason to get excited. I wonder how much they were betting on this lineup to pull them through financially. I admit to owning Ridge Racer DS from the first few dry months of DS games. It wasn’t great. Since then, there has been a flood of great titles, not only from Nintendo, but from 3rd parties as well. In a competitive marketplace it is difficult to justify buying Dig Dug when you can get 3rd party games like:
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Age of Empires
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Here's a hint Namco, Stop making crappy games and expecting to swim in piles of money.
Maybe this year will be better with games like: Baten Kaitos™, Xenosaga® and Tales of the Tempest.
What I'd really pay top dollar for is Nintendo DS versions of Sigma Star Saga™, Rebelstar: Tactical Command™ or Soul Calibur (the original). These are all excellent titles that could stand reinvention or additional chapters of story. Rebelstar Tactical Command is a no-brainer for touch-screen control and Nintendo WiFi play.
Namco, you make some good games when you try. Honest! Why not open up a bit and make some of those great games on the DS instead of trying to foist another washout on DS users. Take a look at your strong points and go wild. After all, that's what the DS is all about: innovation and new ways of thinking. Letting us play Mr. Driller with a touch screen does not change the fact that Meteos kicks his sorry butt.