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Wii's M-Rated  Madworld  Sells 66,000 in the U.S.
Wii's M-Rated Madworld Sells 66,000 in the U.S.
April 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft

April 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Sega and Platinum Games' violent stylized action game Madworld sold 66,000 units in the U.S. following its March 10th debut, NPD Group told Gamasutra.

Sales performance for the Wii-exclusive was modest, increasingly typical for Mature-rated games (ages 17 and up) that appear on Nintendo's generally family-friendly console.

Madworld's gameplay is purposely over-the-top, with vibrant red blood splattering across a virtually all black-and-white environment, complete with cursing -- a far cry content-wise from top-selling Wii software such as Wii Fit and Mario Kart.

Madworld has been well-received by game reviewers, earning an average score of 82 percent on Metacritic.

In February, Sega's other gory M-rated Wii game, the light gun shooter House of the Dead: Overkill, sold 45,000 units in its debut month in the U.S., according to NPD.

While its recent M-rated Wii games aren't lighting up charts in blockbuster fashion, Sega of America marketing exec Sean Ratcliffe claimed in a recent VentureBeat interview that "House of the Dead has done very well and has absolutely met our expectations. The first set of data for Madworld is very encouraging, as well."

NPD also confirmed to Gamasutra that the M-rated Take-Two and Rockstar Games DS title Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars sold just 89,000 units in its opening month of March.

M-rated software on current Nintendo platforms is uncommon. The Entertainment Software Rating Board lists just seven M-rated DS games, including GTA: Chinatown Wars, out of over 1,000 DS titles listed. The Wii has 26 M-rated games out of nearly 1,000 listed on ESRB's website.

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Tim Hesse
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Mad Word is a great game (if a bit simplistic in nature) and I sure hope that the numbers increase for it and HotD:O to ensure more titles like this are created.

Without Mad World, I wouldn't have turned my Wii on in the past either months.

Russell Carroll
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I had 0.0 interest in Mad World or HotD:O, but am disappointed to see them flop. It is a statement about the platform that will lead to less of the 'core' developers making games for the Wii.

Nintendo has done a great job expanding the market and I'm glad to see games like Bonsai Barber and WiiMusic being made, but it appears that the expanded market is the only market on the Wii, which is disappointing. It seems to do well with kids and adults over 35, but not so well in the teenage and early adult years. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing. As an aging gamer I'm glad there is a place that has games for me. Without Nintendo I'm not sure I'd still be playing games, with them I play far more than I should.

Vince Dickinson
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What this shows is that niche games don't sell blockbuster numbers. Big shock. When was the last time a brawler sold well - on any platform (not to mention one that's black and white). Just like flight sims and light gun games, the 3d brawler is a niche genre in 2009. And the visual look, while kind of neat in an artsy-fartsy way, is not a way to appeal to the mass market. Anyone who thought this game would sell well is delusional. It has less to do with the Wii and more to do with the game itself, imho.

Paul Lazenby
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I have to agree at least in part with Vince - the game was probably never destined to become a big seller.

With that said, I would venture to add that had the game come out on 360 and/or PS3, it would have sold a heck of lot better - not just because it was on additional consoles, but because those other consoles have audiences more interested in that genre (and I would have added the PS2 in for good measure). And those that are interested in games like MW are also most likely multiple console owners, and they get their fix for this type of entertainment on the other boxes.

I simply don't think the wii can overcome this obstacle w/o a truly groundbreaking game - and maybe not even then.

raigan burns
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"When was the last time a brawler sold well"

Well.. as we speak Castle Crashers has sold over 500k units.

Tom Krausse
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Forget *a* groundbreaking game, Wii needs several, all coming out within a short interval. Right now the system's at a roadblock when it comes to traditional core games. Traditional gamers tend to ignore the system, owing to a lack (real or percieved) of traditional titles, while developers ignore the system owing to the lack of traditional gamers.

In order to overcome this, developers would need to create a steady stream of high quality traditional titles for the system. Then, the traditional gamers would see a reason to support the system. Of course, the problem is that the initial titles of this wave would suffer, and discourage the further development, thus causing the cycle to start anew.

What would really help, but too late for anything this gen, would be for developers to avoid favoritism at the start of the gen, and let the chips fall where they will. That should help avoid anything like the wii's current traditional audience snafu.

Fábio Bernardon
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How are you so sure Sony or MS would have pushed the game? It all comes down to to cost and profit. For instance, did Dead Space or Mirror Edge reached the expectation of EA? I don't think so. Why would it be different with MadWorld? Niche games must be well planned so they can pay themselves off. Sega says it is doing OK, but I believe their target was of about 100.000 units. It is very likely they will reach it in the next two months, but who knows. At the end of the year we will see how much accumulated sales it will have, and then have better conclusions.

Richard Cody
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Madworld seems like a well made game but it really grosses me out. And most of my friends. I don't have that much interest in hardcore gore. If I can't withstand it that means 95% of the rest of the world probably can't. The Conduit WILL do well.

Tom Newman
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Madworld is the first Wii game to spark my interest since No More Heroes. As a gamer, I've pretty much given up on the Wii, and sales numbers like this imply that there may not be many more of these great "niche" games for the system.

Vince Dickinson
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Castle Crashers was a $10 download, so that's not a very good comparison. If CC was $50 it would not have sold 600k. That said, I'm sure Mad World would have sold a little better on the 360, but I doubt it would have broken 100k. Godhand is a great comparison.

As Rob said, these "core" games on Wii are competing for the dollars of the same consumers who are buying similar types of games on 360/ps3. For the Wii version to do well, it has to give them a good reason to get the Wii version. That's true whether it's a port (Shaun White did great on Wii, Tiger Woods 09 Wii outsold ps3/360 combined, Star Wars: TFU held its own on Wii) or an original title.