It was billed as the definitive version of the game. It was critically acclaimed with a metacritic score currently sitting at 94. Much virtual ink was spent on articles comparing different versions of it. It didn’t break into the Top 10 of the January 2011 NPD sales. What happened to Mass Effect 2 for the PS3?
January is typically a slow sales month for video games so it is no surprise that game sales dropped significantly following the buying spree months that mark December and November. However, Mass Effect 2 didn’t place in the Top 10 of sales where the tenth ranked game was DC Universe Online and sold 195,000 units across the PC and PS3.
Mass Effect 2 sold 572,000 units on the Xbox 360 alone when it launched in January 26, 2010. While VGChartz.com by no means provides official numbers, they currently estimate that the PS3 sold just 81,000 in the two week period it was out in North America for January. So Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 sold less than a fifth of what it did on the Xbox 360 all while being out for twice as long in the same month of the year. (Note: This doesn’t include possible PSN sales as there are no estimates available.)
NPD press releases are typically a time to crow about performance but Sony didn’t even mention any of the games released in January and instead focused on upcoming titles. Similarly, neither Electronic Arts or BioWare have made mention of how Mass Effect 2 performed. With the NPD no longer reporting sales numbers it is left to the console manufacturers and publishers to reveal that information and it’s typically not a good sign when they don’t. We’ve contacted EA and BioWare for a comment but have not heard back at the time of this article
This news shouldn’t be all that surprising however as past experiences have shown that Xbox 360 and PC games relaunched on the PS3 a year later don’t come close to matching the original’s sales. When The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was released in March of 2006 for the PC and Xbox 360 it came in at a sold fourth place in sales for the Xbox 360 standard edition and eleventh place for the collector’s edition. Oblivion was released exactly a year later to the Playstation 3 with improved graphics, additional content and positive critical reception but it didn’t even place in the top 20 games sold that month. BioShock was later released to the PC and Xbox 360 and did 490,000 units in sales. Just like Oblivion, it made its way to the PS3 a year later and didn’t make it into the top 20.
It’s probably safe to say that releasing a game a year after the initial release to console competitor isn’t going to set the world on fire no matter how many extras are packed in. At least not at the full retail price of $60.
The good news is that Mass Effect 3 won’t suffer from the same staggered release and will be released at the same time across all three platforms.