Despite an onslaught of pre-release publicity, including perhaps the most obvious marketing promotion (opens in new tab) of all time, sales of Ubisoft's Watch Dogs 2 have failed to come close to those of the original. The first sign that it came out of the gate slower than expected arrived from GfK Chart-Track, which didn't release specific numbers but said in a release that Watch Dogs 2 debuted in second place on the UK sales charts, closely behind Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
That's in spite of the fact that Infinite Warfare itself isn't selling nearly as well as its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and also that Watch Dogs 2 is by all reports a significant improvement on the first game. We haven't reviewed it yet (the PC release won't be out for another week), but our pals at GamesRadar describe it as 'the slick, open-world adventure that the original should have been."
Ubisoft acknowledged the shortfall in a statement sent to Eurogamer, but nonetheless expressed satisfaction with the state of the game. "We're incredibly happy with critics' and players' very positive reception of Watch Dogs 2, which should bolster support for the long-term success of the game. It is true that first-day and first-week sales for a number of big games, including Watch Dogs 2 and titles from our competitors, are comparatively lower than previous versions in previous years," it said.
"However, we expect both week-two and week-three sales to be above traditional sales patterns. There is a trend toward games, especially high-quality games, having stronger and longer 'tails' as favorable reviews and word of mouth spread. Watch Dogs 2 is already considered a tremendous addition to the open-world action adventure series and we're confident that millions of players are going to love it."
Ubisoft said earlier this month that Watch Dogs 2 preorders were lower than expected, but the decline, if this Reddit extrapolation is even close to accurate, is extreme. That leaves a lot of ground for the game to make up over the holiday season. Although the upside for gamers if it continues to struggle will be the kind of steep discounting which the excellent but also struggling Titanfall 2 is currently seeing.