News Article

Ubisoft: The DS Salad Days Are Over

Posted by Damien McFerran

DS market is in decline, says publisher

There was a time when the Nintendo DS was a pretty sure bet as far as sales were concerned but publisher Ubisoft has gone on the record stating that the DS market is shrinking.

The company's UK boss Mark Slaughter had this to say about the sorry situation:

Overall, for everybody there is a decline in the DS market in its entirety. So instead of that being a growing market, within Ubisoft we have to find out how much of that pie we can actually defend.

Ubisoft is probably feeling the pinch more so than other DS publishers because it has invested so much in its line of casual games, usually involving puppies or babies. Or both.

[via pocketgamer.co.uk]

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User Comments (50)

pixelman

#1

pixelman said:

Dude, the DS prints money? How? I didn't see it in the instructions manual...

UNC5052

#2

UNC5052 said:

I am really looking forward to COP The Recruit from Ubisoft. Maybe this may be able to cure some of Ubisoft's ds woes.

Buster13

#5

Buster13 said:

Well, only the earliest of the original and DS Lite models can print money. As far as I know, the money only comes out of Slot-2, so unfortunately I don't think the DSi can do it without a yet-to-be-released attachment. :(

On a more serious note, isn't the DS's Market big enough to shrink and still pull a profit? I mean, there's millions of systems sold. I mean, wouldn't shrinking in the DS's market be like taking an ice cube away from an iceburg?

ReZon

#9

ReZon said:

If Ubisoft would quit pumping out crap, they'd have better luck.

ECM

#11

ECM said:

Ubi has, essentially, managed to kill their own golden goose by flooding it with generic, 'me too', games (the irony is that they're doing me toos of their me toos). It's amazing that all of the MBAs that Ubi no doubt employs couldn't see this crack up coming, but I guess there was just to much immediate money to be had that prudently managing their product line was sacrificed on the altar of fast money instead of creating a sustainable flow with fewer, higher quality, releases. (Though you can hardly point to ubi as being the only perpetrator of this idiotic phenomenon--witness what is likely the impending implosion of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band genre as the market is flooded with games of these types--mainly from the company that popularized it.)

motang

#12

motang said:

Two problem here, Ubisoft make crappy games on the DS (puppies and babbies...WTF!), and also the iPhone/iPod Touch is king of casual gaming!

MetalMario

#13

MetalMario said:

Yeah, the sales are declining. For YOU, Ubisoft. All those little kids caught on to the fact your games suck immensely.

AVahne

#14

AVahne said:

declining?noooooo,i still need to buy a DS Lite!

and the PSP still doesn't interest me.

Zerokku

#15

Zerokku said:

I think the 3 big DS releases in September will be telling (Scribblenauts, Mario & Luigi 3, Kingdom Hearts 358/2) but I don't think it's actually as big of a problem as Ubisoft is making it out to be.

Like ECM said, it looks more like Ubisoft has essentially managed to shoot themselves in the foot by flooding the market. The same thing has happened with Activision and Guitar Hero.

Let's not forget that this isn't the first time Ubisoft has blamed the DS for poor sales. Hell, they even blamed the poor sales of imagine games on piracy. (Because naturally, 6 year old girls are the biggest pirates on the system)

Egg_miester

#19

Egg_miester said:

wow ubisoft one of the worst developers/publishers out there is saying the ds market is shrinking maybe people won't put up with there junk anymore

Objection

#21

Objection said:

Casual DS games for $30 or casual games/apps on iPhones for $1-5. Hmm, wonder why focusing on one thing like that is a bad idea...:P

Unca_LzStaff

#22

Unca_Lz said:

Oh no, it's declining. Instead of 1,000,000 games (made up #s) being sold, there are only 999,999 games sold this month. Oh no!!!

Stuffgamer1

#23

Stuffgamer1 said:

@cryptonic: Those aren't DS games. Ubisoft's DS games DO suck. Between the Imagine and Petz series, is it any wonder? Even the DS version of Assassin's Creed sucked (the first one, anyway...I don't have high hopes for the upcoming one)!

The fact that Ubisoft is blaming their poor sales on the system market and not themselves is appalling. I work at GameStop, and I have to deal with piles and piles of their crap cluttering up the DS wall. 10 "different" Imagine games at any given time. Puke-o-rama!

Knux

#24

Knux said:

So Ubisoft is spewing shovelware on the Nintendo DS, and Ubisoft thinks Nintendo DS sales are declining? Yes, that makes a LOT of sense.

brandonbwii

#25

brandonbwii said:

It's funny how declining sales actually force them to put out higher quality product on Nintendo systems. Games like COP and Might and Magic come to mind. Also if you the leading shovelware provider and don't bother to ever improve your games, even the youngest of children will get bored and know adding simple online functionality to your Imagine series doesn't count.

Fuzzy

#27

Fuzzy said:

If he doesn't like it, he should go and join the army. Maybe become a sargent...

Anyway, on topic. I'm still yet to buy a DS, and I'm sure there are a few people out there as well. But i guess they should try something new to capture peoples attention and imagination, so that it stands out from the crowd.

mjc0961

#28

mjc0961 said:

Maybe if Ubisoft didn't just pump out a bunch of "My ____ Coach" piles of poo, it would see more sales.

Oh, and maybe... Just maybe... If their non-casual DS games also weren't piles of poo, they might see more sales there as well.

#17: The iPhone isn't a game platform, it's a phone. It's not going to "beat" the PSP because it's not even close to being in the same market. You might as well say that a stapler is going to beat Blu-rays when it comes to high storage capacity floppy media. Oh wait, staplers aren't for media storage, they are for stapling. And the iPhone is for chatting, not for gaming.. ;)

Token_Girl

#29

Token_Girl said:

The DS is the number one selling console this week in America, and the only console out there with more total sales in the States is the PS2 according to vgchartz.com. Nice try Ubisoft. Nintendo's doing it's part. Guess you'll just have to step up your game.

James

#30

James said:

I'm sure at one point Ubisoft were responsible for 1/6th of all DS software sold, which is a huge amount of software, and they were the first publishers to outsell Nintendo on their own machine, back in April this year. If their sales are down, it does point to over-saturation, and I couldn't name a decent Ubi game out on DS all year. Shame!

StarDust4Ever

#31

StarDust4Ever said:

Lol, here's hoping that all this explosion in casual games, Gutar Hero remakes, Ubi-flops, PSP-GO (which I'm prediction will flop hard), "waggle wand wonders", lead to the second Video Game Crash, which I am predicting will occur sometime around 2011-2012, shortly after the launch of the 8th generation's consoles.

Syr

#32

Syr said:

@Fuzzy I'm glad someone alluded to that awesome name.. if my last name was Slaughter I could do so much more than complain about DS sales... just thinking of the possibilities makes me cackle..

Maybe the big N should actually push the DSi. This thing is becoming a paperweight and facebook camera only for me, I'm afraid..

JimLad

#33

JimLad said:

Nooo Ubisoft, don't talk like that!
You still haven't tried 'Hamsterz' ' Budgiez' and my personal preference: 'Camelz'

taffy

#35

taffy said:

Wait a second... in decline? The DSi sold over 60,000 units in Japan and even outsold the ps3 there, how can it's market be in decline?

Looking through the 7 games I own which are published by them only one of them is exceptional and one decent, the rest are mediocre at best:
Splintercell: Chaos Theory
Assassins Creed: Altiar's Chronicles
Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Sith (decent)
Brothers In Arms DS
Star Wars: Lethal Alliance
Prince Of Persia: The Fallen King
Ninja GaidenL Dragon Sword (exceptional)

Those aren't even what can be considered casual titles and out of the 7 I listed, the best one wasn't even developed by them.

SanderEvers

#37

SanderEvers said:

@36 the DS is in decline, the DSi is replacing it :)

Though I recon it's time for Nintendo to release a new handheld :)

KoKoO_Psy

#38

KoKoO_Psy said:

Here is the thing, you can only sell so many DS units before everyone has one. People are not going to buy 2 dsi units just to have 2.

Also, if ubi made some more interesting games........

thewiirocks

#41

thewiirocks said:

@mjc0961 - Have you been paying attention to the DSi release schedule? Asphalt 4? iPhone. Guitar Rock Tour? iPhone. Castle of Magic? iPhone.

Gameloft alone has a ton more games on the system, including Blades of Fury (competitive SoulCailbur clone), Dungeon Hunter (amazing 3D RPG), Modern Combat (CoD type of games), Siberian Strike (really fun shmup), Rise of Lost Empires (RTS), and many more!

Defender Chronicles is the best Tower Defense game on any system, FF: Crystal Defenders hit the iPhone before the Wii, Tap Tap Revenge is a surprisingly fun rhythm game, SpyBot is a really fun platformer, Pandemonium is ported from the Playstation, Mr. Driller is same as ever, Clue is a unique mystery/logic game, Blimp is an accelerometer powered Space Taxi, Tales of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Simon the Sorcerer 1 & 2, SimCity, Wild West Pinball, KIL.A.TON deep breath, Gold Miner, ExZeus (aka Counter Force), Wild West Train, Crash Nitro Kart, Fast Lane, Fast and Furious, 2079, Prey Invasion, Duke Nukem 3D, GeoFighter, and waaaayyyy too much more stuff to list it all.

For better or for worse, the iPhone has become a serious gaming platform. It's not a direct competitor with the DSi (the two cover slightly different market segments), but it will be a consideration in many consumer's minds when they chose a portable gaming device.

As for the PSP, it was DOA. The hardware was very interesting and powerful, but Sony has blundered in that space far too many times. (e.g. Long load times prevented pick up and play, UMDs weren't as portable as DS carts, memory sticks are expensive, requiring a PS3 for some functionality, investing heavily in proprietary UMD movies, and now the PSP GO is in direct competition with the iPhone, but more expensive and without the phone.)

MindFever

#43

MindFever said:

...what can u expect to hear from a guy who`s name is Mark SLAUGHTER.OMG,are they serious?? talking about a "killer" name :D (pun intended)

Omenapoika

#44

Omenapoika said:

"We made puppydog games and they aren't selling. Ouch, DS isn't doing so well after all!"

I'm boycotting Ubisoft because of their bribery towards critics and hostility towards critics who dare to give them low scores. Goddamn slaughter.

Wolfcoyote

#45

Wolfcoyote said:

As a podcaster I have this to say: BULL!

Can you imagine the crappy titles that I announce from this company? Every weekend when I'm researching upcoming games for the week the load of shovelware, female-gamer pandering and other drivel grows every week as the holidays approach, and Ubisoft's offerings are no exception. Case in point: over the past two months I've announced:
Imagine: Teacher Class Trip (had to pause due to a laughing fit), Imagine: Detective, The Price is Right: 2010 Edition and Family Feud: 2010 Edition

Imagine THIS: the load of crap that they've been releasing over the past year. I'm sorry, but wasting your precious dollars in obtaining subpar licenses, willingly damaging your reputation by establishing the Imagine series when their target demographic would rather commit suicide than play those games, and thinking that gamers would buy any old packaged piece of crap during the worst recession in decades and they expected to get by scott-free? WHAT THE HECK?

It's developers/publishers like them that aided in the video game industry collapse of 1983-84. I don't want to think of Nintendo's DS line as the modern version of the legacy Atari series though (crap days indeed)...

Ashen_Iris

#46

Ashen_Iris said:

Casual gaming, or crappy gaming...what ever it is you want to call "puppies and babies". Either way, they really need to step out of that and get to making some real games.

New_Age_Retro_Hippie

#47

New_Age_Retro_Hippie said:

Ubisoft has serious tunnel vision; at what point does poorly-made series of casual games being down in sales turn into "sales down for everyone"? Except for Square Enix's Dragon Quest iX, which is tracking to become the best-selling Dragon Quest ever made in Japan, and Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story, which is on track to be the best-selling in the Mario & Luigi series.

sonic_brawler95

#50

sonic_brawler95 said:

Maybe Ubisoft's "Hey, lets release an Imagine game every week" policy scared people away. :P
Honestly..........every week.

But, to be honest, C.O.P. The Recruit does look like a good game.

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