"In the first Rayman Raving Rabbids, there were some dancing mini games. It's only four years later... that we said 'let's make a game just on that', and boom! We've sold 4.3 million units of the product [globally]," said Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc, to Gamasutra, at a San Francisco media event.
Soon after, sales and marketing senior vice president Tony Key told Gamasutra, "This dance category is going to explode. We don't know how big it can be... I think it's much bigger than what anybody realizes at the moment."
The company also announced that the new Katy Perry single "Firework" will be available as day-one free DLC to purchasers of the Just Dance 2 Wii game, set to release to retail in North America on October 12.
But tie-ups with pop singers and even this sequel to the multimillion selling Just Dance are only parts of Ubisoft's overall strategy for this genre.
"I think there's a real market for that kind of entertainment at home," says Key. "We also have Michael Jackson: The Experience coming on the Wii... If this category does explode, we have the top two brands."
Just Dance is new territory for the company, says Key, as its primary audience is 12 to 19 year old girls and women. This is "the first time we've ever targeted a customer like that. We're trying to create new markets and find new customers and certainly the dance category is doing that for us."
With Just Dance Kids, the audience will even expand to young children. "Parents are always looking for something healthy and fun their kids can do at that young age. We have a lot of nontraditional targets we're going after this holiday."
Might the bottom fall out of of the dance category as fast as it did for games with plastic instruments? This year's sales through September in music games are $142 million versus $391 million for the same period in 2009.
Said Key, "They got so super hot that there was inevitably one direction you could go, but we're certainly not there yet. We're just saying the beginning of that. Nobody is saying how big it can be. We just feel in our gut that this category is going to take off... And we're investing in it."