News Article

Excitebots Crashes Out At Retail

Posted by Damien McFerran

What is wrong with the North American game-buying public?

Excitebots: Trick Racing is bloody good fun. In fact it's one of the best racers we've seen on the Wii so far, and should really be owned by every self-respecting Wii gamer.

So why the heck has it sold such a pathetic number of copies?

The game shifted a feeble 13,000 units in North American last month. Granted, it was only available for 10 days in April, but even so, such a figure is well below what one would expect from such a high-profile title.

We'd love to roll out the old 'casual vs. hardcore' argument for this, but surely Excitebots appeals to both ends of the spectrum?


From the web

Game Screenshots

User Comments (83)



Jonny said:

While excitebots may not be out here I can honestly say that it doesn't appeal to me at all and for the life of me I dunno why. It just looks like a gimmicky racer and even the extremely positive reviews can't shake that nagging feeling.



Golgo said:

I guess because, no matter how well it (ostensibly) plays, it LOOKS like a generic cart racer with a Saturday morning cartoon matinee feel and everyone's got what no doubt they consider to be the superior Mario Kart. Like Jonny above, no review in the world would persuade me buy it.



metakirbyknight said:

I don't want it but, OW! Nintendo better clean up their marketing act. It probably didn't do well because, did you see any marketing? I didn't.



jones2929 said:

I can see where, upon first glance, somebody would group this game into the shovelware cart racer game. Nintendo should have made clearer that they made the game. Overall, it's a shame, because it is a really fun game - I've been playing the poker nonstop for a week.



Damo said:

I personally think Nintendo did a good job of marketing the game. The level of hype was certainly strong enough to ensure it got a decent amount of interest online, and it made the cover of Nintendo Power, I believe.



The_Fox said:

Like others have said, it looks like a crappy racer just by glancing at screenshots. Plus, having a non-existent marketing push doesn't help.



Starwolf_UK said:

It also doesn't help that people are not buying it because they have this strange idea it is too similar to Mairo Kart

Its an understandable mistake since they are both arcade racers (but Excitebots is score attack focused while Mairo Kart winning focused).

I hope this doesn't dampen any chances of a European release as its one of the few games on the horizon I'm happy to buy full price on day 1.



Rapadash6 said:

The answer is simple; Nintendo did NOTHING to promote the title, save for a couple of preview videos on the Nintendo channel. Heck, the game was only announced a mere month before it's release.
All I can say is that it's a shame because it's a fun game and one that deserves more appriciation.



Corbs said:

This game is the most fun I've had with my Wii since I bought my console on launch night. And people that pass on the game don't know what they're missing.



Ian_Daemon said:

I didn't know this was in the same series as Excitebike & Excite Truck. I just thought this was another "SPOGS". Maybe Nintendo should have promoted the "pedigree" a little more. (Or promoted the game...really.) So I guess we won't see Excite Train...



Mendez said:

I hope they're not going to decide not to bring it out here... I'm really excited about this game.



Corbs said:

Perhaps they should have named it Super Mario Bots or Poke-Bots.



Digiki said:

Like others have said it doesn't look much different than shovelware at a quick glance.



Shiryu said:

Im still waiting for the European release of this game... I will buy it, I do not understand hwo games like these don't sell. True, were comming into summer time, wich means low sales, but even so... I want this game to have a better future then this.



Corbs said:

It would be nice if Nintendo had to same kind of demo downloads that MS uses on Xbox Live. Some games you just need to try to really understand what they're all about.



Adam said:

I'd love to play it, but it's not available to rent here. Lack of four-player support keeps this from being a buy-without-playing-first release. If I want one-on-one racing, nothing is even near as good as Super Mario Kart. I can't really blame my fellow Americans from what I know of it. I hope to play someday though.

And yea, Corbie, Nintendo really needs a demo service for Wii. I don't understand why this hasn't at least been announced since the SD card update. Maybe at E3? I doubt it, but who knows. The DS demos via Nintendo Channel proves Nintendo is not fundamentally against demos. There are a lot of games I'm interested in but can't try, and while I'd love to give Nintendo some more of my money, they're not getting it that easy.



ECM said:

The Fox has it right: this was another Wii game in a long line of them that received zero marketing push.

Meanwhile, we drown in TV commercials for every EA or Activision console game to Nintendo (and Capcom for, say, Zak & Wiki).



aphexbr said:

Yeah, I'll agree with the above. The game doesn't seem to have had much marketing outside of reviews, and on first glance it does look like a crappy MK ripoff. It looks like the bargain bin games that some poor kid gets given when their parents can't afford a new game...

Glad to hear it's better than that and I might give it a shot on rental, but it just doesn't look all that inspiring to anyone who owns Mario Kart already.



Kid_A said:

I doubt that's an accurate number. I play excitebots online constantly, and there's ALWAYS someone online. And, of course, Nintendo failed to advertise this one. Again. When will the learn?!

However, I have confidence that the sales will pick up. With Nintendo games, they always do. It'll be a slow burner.



thewiirocks said:

There are several good games for the Wii that started off slow, then picked up after that. Boom Blox comes to mind as the quintessential example. Everyone thought it was a failure for the first month or two, then BAM. Sales picked up radically.

The pattern that has been developing is that the Wii's audience purchases games on their own schedule and not the release schedule. This is a bit of a throwback to the NES days, and it probably seems counter-intuitive to the marketeers. But that's just the way it's working.

Excite Bots will sell. Just give it time.



Kirk said:

Personally I'm actually quite happy it didn't sell that much because I really don't think it's that great.

I think Wii gamers really have set their standards pretty low this gen so that a game like this suddenly seems like something amazing when it really isn't.

If this was on one of the other consoles it would be laughed at and overshadowed by the superior racers on those machines.

I didn't like Excite Truck. I played Excite Bots and it's basically just the same game (with all the things I didn't like about the original) with a few quirky gimmicks thrown in on top, and I don't like it either.

It's not crap but it's really nothing special at all...Strange and quirky but nothing special.



MrPanic said:

Seriously, this game is the best game you'll find on the Wii these days, if you skip this one you should just sell your Wii as well cause you don't deserve it.

This is what the Wii is made for: Pure fun. First play it before you guys go and diss this game.



HeikeKagero said:

The game just looks lame to me and I can understand why it didn't sell. Now if this was a new Excite Bike I would have bought this on the day of release.



Philip_J_Reed said:

In all truth, here's why I didn't buy it:

1) Mario Kart Wii is still a "new" game. Its appeal hasn't worn off for me, and it likely won't for a long time. By releasing ExciteBots while my MK-excitement is still high, it just seems like a redundant purchase. (And also, people are STILL buying MK! People who are just now getting a Wii, what are they going to buy? MK or ExciteBots? MK, nine out of ten times, no doubt. Why buy two racing games when they can get one they know will be good, and something else instead?)

2) Punch-Out!! is coming out next week. I have nothing against Excitebots, but with another high-profile, more appealing game around the corner, I'm compelled to save my money for that one.



Rocky said:

I'm hesitant to buy any new release right now because the prices are dropping so quickly on new releases. If there is a game that I really want, I just wait 2-3 months and pick it up at a discounted price. I will eventually buy ExciteBots, but just not right now.



KDR_11k said:

Do we have to remind you again that WII GAMES DON'T HAVE FRONT LOADED SALES?



Chatham said:

Bad marketing. Horrible box-art. Everyone already has Mariokart, which has more features... Oh, and America is still trying to get through an economic crisis.

This should not be a title owned by "every self-respecting Wii owner"... as the article states.

@Chicken Brutus
I couldn't have said it better. Can't wait until Punch-Out!!



Clint_Eastwood said:

Wut! Parents didn't buy this for their Cars-loving kids!? It looks like the craziest kind of racing fun out there. Definitely 1000x more exciting to me than any Gran Turismo/Forza/Project Gotham could ever be.



Corbs said:

I'm just not getting into this hype for Punch-Out!! I like the older games, but I'm just not really excited about the new Wii release.



warioswoods said:

@thewiirocks (and sentiment echoed by KDR)

"The pattern that has been developing is that the Wii's audience purchases games on their own schedule and not the release schedule."

Yes, exactly; I don't have enough data to discern the precise causes, but I'm guessing that part of it is that you have a lot of us somewhat-older players on the system who just don't tend to buy games often enough to get anything near its launch date. Hell, I haven't even bought Twilight Princess yet, and I'm a huge Zelda fan, but I'm waiting off until I (1) have a lot of (solo) time on my hands at once to truly enjoy it, and (2) finish replaying some of the classic Zelda games, and now I've added Majora's Mask to that list due to its (hopefully) impending US VC release.

Some of us follow gaming news closely, but always with an eye to "I'll enjoy that one day down the line" rather than "I'm heading out to the local game store tomorrow!" Nearly every series I love has at least one newer game I haven't played yet. Who has the time to catch up on all these things? Give it time, these games will sell just fine in the long run.



bbb7002004 said:

I agree with several of the comments here. I personally didn't buy the game for several reasons. First and fore-most, I'm not a huge fan of racing games. I've got Exite Truck from launch and Mario Kart Double Dash, both of which play just fine on my Wii. While it certainly looks like Exitebots is an improvement over truck, it just isn't enough to warrant buying another arcade style racer at this point. There have also been some really good Wii games released in the last few months, and even more in the coming months, and it just isn't in my budget to buy this game. With the economy, I imagine there are plenty of other people who are having to ration their gaming dollars at the moment, and with games like The Conduit, Wii Sports Resort, and Little King's Story, this game had a lot of competition for my $50.

As for general reasons it didn't sell, I think the big ones are a lack of marketing push, the overall style of the game, and the slower selling nature of Wii games to begin with. I imagine when kids are getting out of school for summer and next Christmas roll around, people will be looking at this game and the extra Wii Wheel that is packaged with some of them and pick it up for a lower price.



SwerdMurd said:

I think this speaks to the the ****-ton of shovelware on the Wii. The fact that it's this easy to dismiss the screenshots from pretty much any game that doesn't have a branded Nintendo character anywhere on it proves that there's entirely too much content like this on the Wii. We've all been burned by bad Wii game purchases, and ultimately I think Nintendo's "it's cute? Cartoony? Will appeal to grandma? Sold!" mentality is going to have this affect on good games as well--it's simply too easy to assume Wii games aren't good. Quite simply, there isn't room for these types of games unless they include Nintendo chars--I think people are sick of taking risks on these products, myself included. It isn't a minigame collection, it doesn't have the word Kart, it doesn't have recognizable characters, and I never saw a single TV commercial. I almost feel like Nintendo wanted it to fail.



Caliko said:


Excite Truck is the greatest racer I have ever played in my 10+ years of gaming.
I hear Excitebots is even better. DONT TRASH A GAME UNTUL YOU BUY IT. Otherwise you look stupid.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Also, I've noticed big posters, cardboard cutouts, display racks and such for Punch-Out in stores for the past few weeks. I don't think they've done anything like that for least not that I've seen. I just happened to see about a million copies on the shelf one day.



Starwolf_UK said:

I didn't like Excite Truck. I played Excite Bots...
Props to keeping an open mind (didn't like prequel but will try sequel) and sorry you didn't like it.

In Excitebots defence (about the sales), it was'nt out for very long beofre the month was up. I don't know if shipments hit late but that would mean even less days of sales.




OMG, Excite Truck and Excitebots are significantly different to Mario Kart. The Excite duo are worthy purchases.



greyelephant said:

I played both Excite Trucks and Excite Bots and found nothing to be Excited over. Sorry, but I feel this game is not worthy of Mario Kart standards.

When I played Excite Trucks I remember playing for about an hour and sealing it back up into it's Gamefly mailer to send it back. Now that Excitebots comes out and everyone gives it such high praise, I felt I should give it a chance. So, I rented it from Gamefly, played it for about an hour or so, sealed it up into it's Gamefly mailer and sent it back.



StarDust4Ever said:

I bought the game. Haven't had a chance to play it yet 'cause I've been in schoool. Finals next week, yippee-doo!



Wesker said:

To be honest the name Excitebots sounds a bit crap and it does look quite generic. Also a lot of the reviews stated that much of the tracks were simply ripped from Excitetruck. So why buy the game if it seems that it is just a jazzed up excite truck? Thats how i feel about it anyway.
Excitetruck was lots of fun for a few sessions but lacked longevity and I get the impression it would be the same for Excitebots.

I do want another racer for my Wii other than my much beloved Mario Kart, but what i I really want is a more serious racing sim, not Excitebots. That is how Nintendo would get top dollar out of me, a racing sim to complement my excellant kart game.

EDIT: A new F - Zero would be nice too



DaBargainHunta said:

This article is absurd. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with the North American gaming public. Excitebots was ridiculously overrated by the internet, and it makes perfect sense that "the public" would tune out a cheesy looking sequel with "bots" in it. Plus, has N even bothered to advertise this thing? No. They have only themselves to blame for poor sales.



AVahne said:

sigh the Wii has great games its just that no one knows which they are.but the reall Wii gamers like me know which is which



Objection said:

Well this isn't the best time for some people to buy games. For example, I am just finishing high school so my summer job won't start until a week ro so from now. So I may purchase this title and Punch-Out! (and The Conduit) this summer. I think the summer, with allowance and summer jobs for kids and people with full-time jobs having more holidays in summer than spring (I think) may help sales. And like it's been stated, Nintendo gamers don't buy the game all at once like on others systems./ They usually have slow, steady sales that sometimes add up to more. Plus, that number only represented a 1/3 of the month. So it could have at least 50,000 sales by the end of May which isn't too bad in that timeframe.



Neomega said:

This is still a great game!
Eff what u say!
But those family montage videos HAVE TO STOP!!!



sirgrim said:

Not my type of game. I'm not big into racing games, and just prefer normal ones when I do play them. I don't need to do flips, or play poker etc. If other people like it then that's good. I love plenty of games that others don't get.



Sean_Aaron said:

I bought Excite Truck upon recommendation and greatly enjoyed it; I've sold it because Excite Bots (which I initially thought sounded complete crap) looks to trump it in spades. I'm really anticipating this one.

I suspect lack of marketing and the creeping realisation that the economic slowdown is continuing in the USA with unemployment reaching %10 may be having a chilling effect on consumer spending generally. Hopefully we'll get a release date soon, because whilst I do plan on picking up Punch Out!! at some point, I'm more interested in Excite Bots.



Caliko said:

@ Zaphod

Big difference?
Anyways, I've played both ExciteTruck and Mario Kart and the prequel to Excitebots has WAAAY more accurate motion control(what you bought your Wii for) than Mario Kart and I hear Excitebots is more accurate still. It's a world of difference. I think Mario Kart was over rated.

Also I think I can explain the poor sales. Has anyone ever seen those horrible Chrysler and Ford Wii games in stores? A lot of people bought those and got burned. What about Jeep Thrills? I think people dismissed Excitebots as just another one of those...unfortunately.



jangonov said:

lol I bought jeep thrills for $5 at walgreens. I dont know why. But excitebots is a great game. I dont know why it didnt sell well



theberrage said:

the cover looks like it is shovelware. the name sounds like its for kids and kids games have bad controls usually. but i bought it and i love it!



MrDanger88 said:

I've seen people all around the internet make excuses for why they didn't buy it, only a few were particulary good. It's one of the best arcade racers I've ever played, but people would rather complain about not getting a new Zelda game or that this game looks like kiddy shovelware despite not even playing it. The Wii audience gets more laughable after every game release.



Wesker said:

I don't think Wii owners are stupid. The typical wii owner owns: Wii Sports, Mario Kart, Wii Fit, Super Mario Galaxy and Zelda Twillight Princess. These are some of the greatest and most innovative video games ever made.

When all is said and done Excitebots is basically a bit gay... But its still better than any motostorm game



WolfRamHeart said:

I guess I'm partly to blame because I didn't buy it yet either. It didn't appeal to me at first but then I started seeing more screenshots and gameplay video for it here on Nintendo Life. The review is what really convinced me that this game is a must buy! I'm a little broke right now but as soon as I get some cash I'm definitely picking up Excitebots!



SmaMan said:

It's just another one of those examples of judging a book by its cover. And I'll admit, when I first heard about it I was thinking, "Exite... bots?! What is Nintendo thinking?" But when I got it I was not disappointed. Its the most fun I've had on the Wii in a long time.



astarisborn94 said:

The game bombed? Just 13,000 copies? Oh no. That's horrible. I mean, It's amazing! Sadly, sub-par minigames such as Carnival Games sold what? 1.5 million copies? Seriously, when great games such as Mad World don't sell (Just 66,000 copies?) and horrible games such as Game Party 2 sell like it's going out of style (It sold one million copies and it's terrible!), you know people are buying the wrong games. We know if this doesn't turn around soon, this could be the norm for now on.



EmcGuy said:

I think a lot of people bought Excite trucks close to console launch as it was the best racer to get people through the long wait to the Mario Kart release. Now that people own both Excite trucks and Mario Kart there is no need to buy excitebots. Agreed though this looks like a great game and it would be a crime not to see it sell.



Knux said:

The reason behind the game's sales failure is simple. People rather buy Mario Kart Wii then this game.
I haven't even bought it for this reason. I might buy it in the future.



Pegasus said:

Actually, the game goes for $40 without the wheel, while Excite Truck still goes for $50 at retail. Talk about weird.

Anyway, I was skeptical about this game. I really liked Excite Truck, but I thought EB looked a bit too gimmicky. I ended up trying it out at the game store I frequent, and I walked out with a copy a little later. Once again a very fun (and this time quite weird) arcade racer. Frankly, I much prefer it over Mario Kart Wii. MKW just ends up frustrating me more often than not because of all the cheap shots - MK DS is a much better balanced game.



NeoNight said:

I hate using the wiimote for sterring and $50 is alot to me too! I would rather use that 50 to buy two wiimotion plus's later!



Linkuini said:

I don't consider Excitebots to be any less of a great racer than Mario Kart Wii is. True, Mario and company provide a lot of personality that makes Excitebots look generic by comparison. On the other hand, though, Excitebots moves much faster and doesn't have cheap, game-ending weapons that leave veteran players cursing at their TV set as CPUs spoil their victory parade for the umpteenth time; it relies much more heavily on skill, technique and improvisation. I for one own both games and don't regret a thing.

Plus, Excitebots is a definite improvement over its predecessor. It features online play, tighter controls, a greater difference in abilities between each vehicle, and a heck of a lot more ways to win. I too was worried whether or not all the gimmicks would amount to a fun experience but I was surprised at how much fun they added to each track: even the notoriously spotty motion controls worked flawlessly. Excitebots was a great game, and I'll be extremely disappointed if its sales don't pick up soon.



Turbo_Genesis_64 said:

I'm guessing becuase the economy is sour. Let's be honest, only well known series are really going do well in this kind of enviroment where 500,000 jobs are being erased each month!

I just ordered a copy so perhaps the May figures will be slightly less depressing.



odd69 said:

i not the biggest racing game fan thats the only reason i haven't gave it a shot .. i do love mario kart racing though. does it play anything like that? id consider it if you could race via wi-fi. i purchace 2 games a month and thats easily 100$ if not more ,so nintendo gets atleast 50$ from me every month,including extra for the yearly nintendo magazine,wiiware games and virtual games if i just have to have it. lately ive been buying more downloadable games then retail games. you end up better in my opinion because retail games are to high priced.



aaronsullivan said:

Yeah, it's $40 dollars vs. the typical $50 price of other games. I have a feeling the release of this game was somewhat experimental. Testing to see what price and focused marketing (internet/nintendo channel) could accomplish.

Seems like it's failing a bit. I'll buy this because my wife and I loved Excite Trucks. It takes a little time to fully embrace the game and a lot of people don't get into the score based gameplay, but it's quite the rush speeding right next to trees at ridiculous speeds to get bonus points and pulling off just one more flip.

Agreed that Excite Truck just ended too quick and lacked variety later in the game. We'll be getting Excitebots, for sure.

BTW, why can't someone simply realize a game is not for them? Why does that mean they are "trashing" it? Not everyone enjoys the same types of games or even gameplay. Sheesh.

As far as MK. Mario Kart Wii is great until you get to the higher levels and then it suffers from what most Mario Kart games suffer from. Somehow the creators decided that it would be fun if difficulty levels were increased through more random bad stuff happening. It's incredibly lame. Still enjoy it, but it was best back in the original SNES when the luck factor was FAR diminished.

Not sure why Excite Truck/Bots is being compared to Mario Kart. It's like comparing Goldeneye to Metroid Prime or something.



theberrage said:

Mario Kart Wii better than ExciteBots? Snap out of it. Mario Kart Wii is the exact same game as all of the others. Get with the program people. If you don't like Excitebots and haven't even played it you're only screwing yourself.

Mario Kart and Excitebots draw comparisons because they are the only 2 racing games better than decent on Wii.

Buy a playstation 3 when the price drops. It's going to KILL the Wii.

Nintendo is done and has been done releasing good games for a while.

Check back in 2012!!



SeniorDingDong said:

Bad box art, no marketing and no europe release and every one else is in Mario Kart.

Shares a smimilar fate with Disaster: Day of Crisis.



MrPanic said:

I'll buy Excitebots any day over Mario Kart Wii, both are great games but Excitebote is better.




The said the PS3 was going to "kill" the Wii upon the Wii's release. They said the PSP was going to "kill" the NDS upon the DS's release Look what happened eh.The whole convential sony/xbox game pad controls are old news imho (though I like the odd classic controller game myself of course!).

I would agree that there aren't enough good racing games on the Wii
Probably: Mario Kart, Excitebots, Excite Truck, Speed Racer and argueably Ferrarri Challenge are the onlg good ones on the Wii. Its lazy and criminal of the games producers not to produce better or even more racing games on the wii.



Megumi said:

Didn't know that this game wasn't selling well...thought it would sell more, but then again I don't care. I have it so I'm happy, lol.



Kidpit said:

I would buy it, but I'm saving my money to buy The Tiger Woods/Wii Motion+ bundle. Sorry.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I know I bought it, but I'm pretty sure nobody else did at the Gamestop in which I work. I TRIED to get some customers interested, but they just went with Mario Kart Wii instead (which is also great, so I don't blame them TOO much). For 10 days, that sales number is downright PATHETIC! So sad...



BlueFlameBat said:

I don't like using the Wii remote as a steering wheel. If that sort of thing worked for me, I might have picked this up.



vherub said:

the $40 sale for punch-out on amazon could be a direct result of excite's weak sales



0-Watt said:

Excitebots suffered in sales from the following reasons: Nintendo introduced it to the Hardcore a mere two months before its actual release. They had absolutely no advertising, even online. The game was quietly released onto shelves, and thus gamers needed to actually search through the library to find the game. On top of that, the game's appearance is just totally weird at first sight that the game might very well be seen as a bad game. What is necessary is at least some advertising is made shortly. Instead, Nintendo is pushing Punch-Out! to the public for May. So...I figure they chose the one title that would probably sell the most to advertise.

Overall, I expect it to sell more in May than April, if not because it'll be out a few more weeks. I sure hope I'm not wrong.

On one side, however, Nintendo's lack of advertising or hype-building means the company didn't really care for its results. I think the game, based on redone engine and small dev team, will be profitable rather easily. In the end, I expect it to get profitable in a few months, even a year. Still a shame, as it's a really good game.



Sean_Aaron said:

I confused about the comparisons with kart racing games people are making as this game is very much more about big air than simply running a road race.

I have little to no interest in conventional racing games, but this looks ace; I get a thrill from just watching the videos!



Kknight said:

As a couple people have pointed out, it is not valid to compare this to Mario Kart...they are nowhere near the same.

Anyway, I had pre-ordered this and when I picked it up at Game Crazy they told me that I was the only one that had ordered it and it was the only copy they got in the shipment. I haven't paid attention to whether they've stocked any on the shelves since. Very disappointing. It is fantastic fun and lots of people are missing out on it. I've never had a problem getting into a game online though.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...