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Analyst:  UFC Undisputed 2010  Performance 'Below Expectations'
Analyst: UFC Undisputed 2010 Performance 'Below Expectations'
June 3, 2010 | By Chris Remo

June 3, 2010 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

Despite the stellar sales of its predecessor, THQ and Yuke's' UFC Undisputed 2010 is selling "slower than anticipated," even as UFC pay-per-view television events are performing well, according to Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian.

In a research note released today, Sebastian said the game is "tracking below our expectations at retail," and pointed out that online retailer Amazon discounted the game $20 to $39 after only a week on sale.

As a result, the analyst expects decreased reorders from retailers, and Lazard Capital Markets is decreasing its first fiscal quarter revenue estimates for THQ by $4 million, down to $193 million -- considerably below market expectations of $203 million.

Sebastian noted that factors directly related to Undisputed don't explain the game's poor showing: it has a strong reputation based on the reception of UFC Undisputed 2009, which exceeded 3.5 million units; it has extremely positive reviews, with an average Metacritic score of 85; and UFC itself is doing well. Thus, he postulates that other recent releases like Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption could be "adding some competitive pressure."

Nonetheless, Sebastian expects THQ to grow in the coming years, thanks to franchises like Volition's Saints Row, Vigil's Darksiders, Relic's Space Marine, and the Dreamworks movie game license.

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Jeremy Reaban
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"Thus, he postulates that other recent releases like Rockstar San Diego's Red Dead Redemption could be "adding some competitive pressure.""

This is why publisher's attempts to wipe out the used game market will come back to bite them. A lot of gamers trade in their old games, to buy new games. Gamers don't have infinite sized pockets.

Still, it seems to me that games like this don't really need a yearly update. In baseball, football, hockey you have a lot of roster turn around, so you get sales even if that's all that is updated (like usually in Madden). But this presumably is the same bunch of guys as before.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Now, could it *possibly* be because the novelty has worn off, and that a UFC game does not warrant a yearly purchase for most buyers? This is something I wish even my employer would understand: very, very few IPs can sustain a yearly release. I know its every publisher's wet dream of making a FIFA or CoD of everyone of its IPs, but it just doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, it seems that its currently the strategy of all of the biggest publishers to release new titles more frequently for every IP.

I say give more time to smaller, more talent-focused teams. You'll reduce cost, increase quality, avoid franchise fatigue and thus increase your profit while keeping your IPs viable in the long term. But hey what do I know, right?

r marc
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I agree with Mathieu. It's a sport that is undeniably growing in popularity but I don't think its got anywhere near the traction as say American Football or Baseball or Basketball for that matter and all those are pretty much team sports. I think MMA or UFC as it's branded appeal lies in the brutality, blood sport aspect, at the moment it doesn't have quite enough star power to attract people who only have a passing interest. I don't think it will ever be as popular as say Football, It might approach and surpass boxing but the sport will need many years to catch up to its old tired rival, so it can have memorable fighters such as Ali and Tyson etc to draw punters in.

Oh and Mathieu on last point, amen and know how you feel.


Jon Gregory
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I definitely think that UFC doesn't warrant a yearly release, they need to spend more time tightening up the controls on things like the submission, which are impossible to get on any level in the demo and only slightly better in the actual game, and the effect of the stamina mechanic which doesn't seem to do anything. That stamina thing is horrible. I put the bar on and started wearing down my opponent, I watch as the bar gets lower, and then when I'm about to go in for the kill my opponent all of the sudden gets a super punch and knocks me out when my stamina bar is almost twice as full as his. It gets to the point of ridiculous such as, every time he hits me he knocks me down, I am suddenly unable to defend takedowns from this man who has been beaten twice as hard as me for the last ten minutes, and they reverse every one of my grapples/submissions.

Plus, the UFC doesn't have major changes every year if you think about it. It's like boxing in some respect. UFC fighters fight more than boxers, but they still only fight a maximum of three or four fights a year. I personally don't think that any game needs a yearly releases. I mean, look a Madden. That game is a joke, no offense. You don't need to put one out each year if all you are going to do is take some features out that were in the game last year and add back in some that were there two years ago. How many times have they switched in and out the interviews and drills in Superstar Mode or the condensed info hub in Franchise mode. Announcers have been in and out in varying levels as well. It's really just throwing darts at a bunch of already proven features and shoving those in the game this time around.

Now, all that being said. They picked an AWFUL time to release that game. Wait until, like the middle of June or July, or even a few weeks before Madden when people are jonesing for something new, then throw that out there. That's what they should have done, because there isn't going to be much else popping up over the summer. A lot of announcements with E3, but not much big name material. But they put it out with Alan Wake AND Red Dead Redemption. Those are two games that people are already having trouble choosing between. Who in their right mind that doesn't just play sports games is going to forgo both those games in favor of a yearly release fighting game?

Plus... competing with a Rockstar game is really taking your studio's life into your own hands.