Red Dead’s Success

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I’m fresh from the kitchen dear playchums, after cooking a nice hot batch of humble pie, ready to send to one Michael Pachter. If you remember, back in April, our favourite industry analyst raised his doubts about Red Dead Redemption’s blockbuster potential. One week after launch and I think we can safely say Rockstar has scored a massive hit.

Cast your mind back a few weeks. Pachter was dubious to say the least of Rockstar’s claims that they had a new blockbuster on their hands. He doubted the appeal of a western, particularly in Europe and even the period setting. Pachter also thought US gamers would balk at having to shoot old style revolvers, rather than packing some major firepower.

Fast forward to launch week and Amazon.co.uk’s director of video games, Chris Poad reports record pre-order figures for 2010, saying, "This is undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated video game of the year so far." He goes on, "Buzz around the game has built, making it one of the most successful titles we have seen on Amazon.co.uk this year before it has even been released."

Amazon’s glowing reports were echoed by another UK retailer, HMV who anticipated shifting 300,000 copies in the first two days. This puts it way ahead of this year’s big sellers, Final Fantasy XIII and Heavy Rain, which is no mean feat for the follow-up to what was considered a critical flop. And of course the title hit the number one spot in the charts, as well as wooing reviewers and gamers alike.

I went to pick up Red Dead from my local gaming establishment, on Friday morning, so not even launch day (due to a busy day at the office) and every single person in the store was buying that game. That was when I knew something was up. Something cowboy flavoured.

Red Dead fever is still brewing, as it’s all gamers and analysts can talk about. I mean you’d have to be a fool to think it wasn’t going to be a hit. Sorry, Pachter, but I mean really. Once Rockstar said the magic words – western and open world – it was just a question of gimme, gimme, gimme.

To be fair, Pachter has been on record admitting he was wrong. He’s even gone so far as to call Rockstar "visionaries," which stinks of major back pedalling so that he doesn’t have to fork out for a copy. The cheapskate. Not visionaries, just not short-sighted. Gamers all knew a western could work, which is why we voted with our wallets.

It seems that Pacther’s not the only one having a rethink on the appeal of Red Dead, as another industry analyst has raised his estimates from 2.2 to 4 million units in its first year, saying the title "is poised for breakout success."

The huge sales figures will be music to Rockstar’s ears, having spent an ice cold $100 million on this game, making it one of the most expensive titles ever. Luckily for Rockstar, they can’t make the game fast enough. In fact, the UK’s been hit by stock shortages, especially on PS3 units, which is one indication of demand.

It’s always exciting to see a new series hit the gaming scene, especially one of this quality. I’m not counting Red Dead Revolver, as it was a different game and one that’s best left forgotten, unless it serves as a lesson. All praise to Rockstar for pulling it out of the bag. I think this shows that, in future, we can take industry analysis with a large pinch of salt.

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