Despite Twitter “success,” NBA Baller Beats sold a tragic 3,000 units in first month
We’ve been following the suspicious social media success of NBA Baller Beats for a while now, and the executives at Majesco have discussed how popular the game proved to be at E3, and the excitement on Twitter was used as evidence of the game’s upcoming success on a conference call with investors. The NPD Group has released the game’s sales information for its first month of availability, and it looks like the game has already died a very ugly death. “NBA Baller Beats, the Kinect-based basketball rhythm game, sold a mere 3,000 copies in the US during its debut month of September, sales tracking service NPD told Joystiq. An odd outcome for a game that had a controversially high number of Twitter followers and YouTube views,” Joystiq reported. The ironic thing about this situation is that by most accounts, the game is enjoyable. It scored a respectable 74 percent on Metacritic, and Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins wrote a very positive post about his experiences with the game. The problem was that it suffered from way too many niches. The game came with a basketball, and those larger packages annoy retailers. That’s strike one. It can only be played on the Microsoft Kinect, and that’s strike two. The game required a large space in front of a television and hard floor on which to bounce the basketball. Strike three. The game play is a mixture of sports and music games, and that’s strike four through ten. The target market for all those things wrapped into one package is miniscule, and no shady PR tricks were ever going to change that. The good news? If you happen to be a player who wants a music/sports/rhythm/motion control-based game played with a basketball, you may be able to find the game at steep discounts on retail shelves. This is more evidence that social media is a tricky metric to use when looking for indicators of future success, especially when it appears as if the system is being gamed.