Ubisoft's Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip game was released Sunday, November 16 in a Target exclusive, and the following Wednesday everywhere else.
Sell-through numbers won't mean much until after Christmas, but the reviews so far have been mixed. One will praise the game's storyline while complaining about the controls, and the next claims the exact opposite. Such is the nature of reviews.
While it's available on all the major platforms (Xbox, PS3, Wii), the most defining characteristic of the game is on Nintendo's Wii. This game utilizes the balance board peripheral, which has only been available for 6 months and on a handful of games, and enables players to stand on an oblong piece of plastic and turn and carve the slopes. Nintendo's version also looks graphically different from the others, a little more cartoonish. As a boon, the Target package was available for a $5 pre-book, and the exclusive version, available on Xbox360 and Wii, offers an extra level in the game—Target Mountain—as well as extra features.
So far, Ubisoft is psyched. "We are extremely proud of Shaun White Snowboarding," said Senior Ubisoft VP of sales and marketing Tony Key. "Our goal was to create a game with Shaun that captured the action sports culture and create expansive open worlds for players to experience as a single-player adventure or a rich multiplayer session with their friends on Xbox 360 and PS3. In addition, we also strived to develop from the ground up a fun physical experience playing on the Wii Balance Board™ accessory."
Last year, the Tony Hawk game franchise went head-to-head with EA's Skate. The games were released in October, and Skate emerged as the victor at the register. This year, EA followed up their success with Skate It, which was released in mid-November as well, and features the "flick-it" control, in an effort to capture the realistic flick of a skateboarding trick. Skate It also utilizes the Wii balance board. There was no 2008 release from Activision's Tony Hawk franchise.
Shaun White retails for $49.99 ($54.99 for the Target version) and the balance board runs roughly $80, with Wii Fit.
First Week Sell Through
There's been some discussion about TV sales as a good indicator of how Black Friday went. But let's take a look at some smaller-dollar products, and see how they sold—namely, Shaun's game and EA's Skate It.
Shaun White Snowboarding: (release date: 11-16-08)
Copies sold in U.S.
Xbox 360: 42,953
Skate It: (release date: 11-17-08)
Now let's juxtapose this with the first-week sell-through numbers of EA's Skate and Activision's Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, both of which dropped in September and October of 2007.
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground: (release date: 10/15/07)
Copies sold in U.S. (Week 1)
Xbox 360: 23,477
EA's SKATE : (release date: 9/14/08)
Copies sold in U.S. (Week 1)
Xbox 360: 74,368
Playstation 3 and Wii numbers are way up over last year, as is Nintendo DS. Granted, the 2007 games came out shortly before the holiday frenzy began, and they went on to clear 1 million units sold before Christmas, but this is a promising indicator for the 2008 holiday shopping season.