GTA: Chinatown Wars jacks bargain bin

Best Buy now selling slow-starting handheld free-range crime simulator for $20, Amazon for $28; GameStop, Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us still offering it at full price of $34.99; analyst says April sales "extremely important" for long-term prospects.

Two weeks ago, the game industry was rattled by the release of the March sales report from the NPD Group. Besides the fact that the US game industry suffered its first monthly double-digit decline since 2006, the big shock was Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' anemic launch. Despite being the debut of a multiplatinum franchise on a handheld with a 100-million-unit worldwide installed base, the highly rated game sold under 90,000 units during its first two weeks on the American market.

You can get 15 lottery tickets with the savings from Best Buy's Chinatown Wars discount.

In the aftermath, both Take-Two reps and game-industry analysts said they were confident that, over time, Chinatown Wars would be successful. Now, though, it appears one major purveyor of games is not taking any chances. This week, Best Buy began selling the title for just $19.99, down from $34.99.

According to an employee at one of the retail chain's two San Francisco locations, the discounting is part of a larger company-wide game sale that sees many titles going for under $10. Available both online and at stores, the markdown is having its intended effect. The Best Buy in San Francisco's Mission district sold out of Chinatown Wars "right away," while its Geary Street branch had "only a few" left.

The sale will end this Saturday, but the Best Buy employee did not know if Chinatown Wars would then revert to full price. Best Buy's corporate headquarters had not returned requests for comment as of press time.

Amazon was offering a slightly smaller discount on the DS GTA, selling the game for $27.97. However, most other major game retailers are still selling the game at (GameStop, Target, and Toys R Us) or very close to (Wal-Mart) its full price of $34.99.

Electronic Entertainment Design and Research director of analyst services Jesse Divnich--the sole analyst to predict Chinatown Wars' stumble out of the retail gate--puts the discounting down to a simple case of supply and demand. "The unfortunate thing is that everyone thought this would be a breakaway hit, so that's what retailers ordered," he told GameSpot. "So retailers have a lot of inventory on hand, so they need to clear that out. They're very impatient, since having too much of one game in stock costs them sales opportunities."

Divinich feels that the April NPD report--expected on May 14--will either make or break the first DS GTA. "I think what's important now is how Chinatown Wars does in April," he explained. "If it does below 40,000 units, then it's following a curve much like topline PS3 and 360 releases which quickly tapers off. If it does above 40,000, then it will be more like a DS game and will see steady sales for months to come. So April sales are going to be incredibly important for this game."

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Discussion

236 comments
oms93
oms93

THis is the best ds game ever

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

flop, use the same engine in a family game with cute cartoonish themes, and enjoy the profits.

Boston_Boyy
Boston_Boyy

I knew GTA on the DS just wouldn't work, even if it was a good game it was destined to fail.

necronaux
necronaux

Thanks GameSpot for mentioning this. I just picked up a copy for $20. Def worth the 20, don't think it'd be worth the original $35. Glad I waited.

KillaB84
KillaB84

I bought my copy last week for $20 at Best Buy and am enjoying it a great deal. The reason i did not buy it sooner is because i was afraid it would be an over-hyped P.O.S. like GTA4.

Enasni86
Enasni86

The DS is the worst thing that could have happened to this world, its is a girls gaget and its a discrace to see a GTA game on it. The people have spoken F OF NINTENDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

DS games should be sold at $29.99. I think this are the stores fault. Wal Mart is trying to sell everything expensive. Their online store has games for $30 when you can find it in a gamestop store for 20. Gamestop is also getting greedy. Maybe its for the fact that I don't like that they take the wheel from Mario Kart Wii and sell it for $15 extra when at Target you can buy the wheel and game for $50. Gamers are getting ripped off for that. Gamestop should do something.

SoNin360
SoNin360

yeah CW should have sold more than it has but whatever, i'll reccomend it and enjoy my own copy, but it's not like the sales are going to make a big difference for me. I meen $35 is a high price for a brand new DS game and $20 sounds better so I'm not surprised they are selling out at Best Buy, just wish I would have gotten mine there.

ice_radon
ice_radon

Dumb Article Alert!. The writer just going to the click-meister award. So are you telling me that Call of Duty: World at War was also to "shoot up that bargain bin" [chuckles at own witty tagline]. This game was released on November 11th 2008 and I was able to get this game about 2-3 weeks later for 34.99 at Target; so are you telling me that this game went bargain bin as well? I am pretty sure that game broke records with how much that game sold in its first weeks as well as number of people still online and still buying this game. But hell, this piece of junk was thrown in the bargain bin way back last year like 2 weeks after launch, so it must have flopped right from behind the glass case to the bargain bin in the back of the electronics department. These kind of articles just make me want to throw a cat out a window considering just how ludicrous this article is. This is just a desperate grasp in a slow news cycle for something to write.

AlexFili
AlexFili

No-one is going to realistically pay £29.99 for a sub-par, graphically poor videogame... especially if it's a port of something that only costs £39.99 on the major consoles. Even so, how many people buy a game the week it comes out? If it's not a 'must-have' game, people would often wait for the price to come down a bit. The GTA problem appears to be that it was aimed at an older audience, but there still should have been enough hardcore gamers to sell much more copies.

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

always found ds games to be too pricey, i pay less for my ps3 games, that just can't be right

squarejp
squarejp

I still enjoy GTA4 kind of graphics quality even GTA China War is good for DS portable category. Seriously, I don't really like the top view camera angle. I enjoy walking inside the street and able to move the camera angle around.

squarejp
squarejp

Yeah, recession, people need to save money and cut their spending. $35 for DS game is just too expensive. I was waiting for GTA's price drop and $19.99 is almost an instant buy but sold out....

stziggy
stziggy

I said this before, there is a recession going on! I can't afford to spend $35 for myself when I have a kid and wife. They come first. Now $20 I might be able to swing. Rock Star got greedy when they priced this game, and now they can't move the product. I think Rock Star has a lot of nerve asking this much for a game in our economy. They're getting what they deserve. I hope Wal-Mart and Gamestop follow Best Buy's lead.

aduttyfoot
aduttyfoot

wooohoo, i picked a up a copy with a dsi today. the dsi isn't that bad at all. i love the material they made it out of. sucks that it does not have enough mem to load gamespot.

Superzone
Superzone

Wow, I can't believe this. Damn casual DS owners, buy sure frickin' good games already.

kuldain
kuldain

nice this allowed me to finally use up my ancient gift cards for Best Buy AND get a great game!

NoisyAssasin
NoisyAssasin

Serves them right for watering down all the next gen console versions to make quick bucks on the casual gamer portable market.

snake289
snake289

It sucks that one of the best DS games out in ages didn't sell really well but instead the kids just wanna buy the same Pokemon game they own over and over again at full price.

DrKill09
DrKill09

GTA Chinatown Wars is good, but I wish I would've waited to buy it now. :( Oh well.

gordos24
gordos24

here in holland everbody know how rip ds games.and about the psp and ds, sure you have to pay for a r4 card.but you have to pay for a bigger memorystick card for the psp.so the price is almost the same.and you havetto flash youre psp too.and if you cant do it.you go to the local dealer and it cost 25 euros.and hassy94 moms these days arent as stupid as you think

hassy94
hassy94

"Hey Gordos, don't blame piracy on this one. If that were the case, how the hell are those Pokemon games and all the first party Nintendo games selling so well? Think about it..." Because the soccer moms and 10 year old kids don't know how to use M3/R4 cards and download games, while the 15-16+ do.

carlobrown174
carlobrown174

I bought it new from amazon for £20 a week after it's inital release. It was good for a half hour mess about but it just wasn't that good.

Madmangamer364
Madmangamer364

Why is this such a big deal? I know we're talking about GTA here, but it's not like anything other than the game's sales numbers are at stake here. The fact is that GTA on the DS was a bad fit, period. I don't 'blame' that on anyone because we all have the freedom to buy what we think we'll like and enjoy. That's the beauty of going to a store and paying hard-earned dollars on stuff, and it's clear that most DS owners, regardless of what some people want to classify them as, aren't interested in this game. In the end, Rockstar will live, and the GTA series will push along as if this never happened. Quality games have disappointing sales on systems all the time, so it's not something we haven't see before. Although, it always seem to be with games like this that get the most talk, but I digress... Heck, maybe the price drop will provide a nice boost to the game's sales, even though I think a game of this magnitude would have sold out of the gate if it was going to have a chance. I hope those that do have the game are enjoying it, as that's more power to them, but that's really the only thing I find worth saying about it. I don't blame this on piracy or the DS' userbase (I know plenty of people of age, myself included, that were never interested in this game). Just let the sales speak for themselves and move on, I say.

a7xfan7
a7xfan7

I've really started respecting Best Buy more and more over the past year. Before I always viewed them as a store that usually had things in stock, but had very average prices, not really going out of their way to benefit gamers. Recently however, with their $10 game deal with a lot of 360 games, i've bought like four good, solid games for $40. It's great. While places like Gamestop actually let you trade in games, they rip their customers off plain and simple. I'd rather just give my old games to a friend rather than sell them for like $8.

FloWeN-UK
FloWeN-UK

I'm guessing it's because it's on the DS it's not selling. Or perhaps it's just the graphics are a huge turn off for GTA fans in general. I dunno.

kkevguy47k
kkevguy47k

nobody is buying this game because the ds sucks. sorry, but its the truth. everyone that buys a ds is a little kid, or never plays it

irongobbo
irongobbo

Actually, that lottery thicket shown is worth $15, so you can only get one XD. But i love this game.

stephen_rettie
stephen_rettie

its just that most people with DS's dont play GTA. yes there are those of us who do but the key demographic is too young for this to be a hit.

cesarjr14
cesarjr14

I think its the Swine Flu's fault. Just like its the Swine flu's fault that my girlfriend can't come up to Phoenix from Sonora, Mexico. Don't judge me; I like women from Souther Mexico, but what can I do? I fell in lovew with one from Northern Mexico.

fauljosh
fauljosh

I don't know why people aren't buying this. I'm guessing piracy has a lot to do with it. But I bought it and it's amazing. It really is the best DS game available. If you own a DS you owe it to yourself to pick this up. Support third parties!!

FoxExecutive
FoxExecutive

If you are someone who says, hopefully Rockstar learned their lesson, you are basically saying you hope they fail. If you're hoping a truly great game fails then you're a moron. Games such as this allow people who are developers to flourish from titles that do well. If Rockstar makes a title and it fails it only hurts the company. If Rockstar and Take-Two are hurting from support by the customers, then what do you think will happen to those companies? So what it boils down to is you are saying I want EA to own Take-Two.

xunhallowed
xunhallowed

Gordos, if they make one for the PSP, it will be dumped and ripped and then uploaded onto the internet. The PSP piracy scene is even bigger than the DS scene. You HAVE to buy a flash card to pirate games on the DS, but all you have to do on the PSP is have an old one, or, if you don't have one, get a Pandora. But really, you can't just say, "Piracy is bad so no one should make games for the DS or the PSP. What about PC, and even the 360 and Wii? Sure, the latter two aren't as popular for piracy, but still, Rockstar made a great game on the DS and it should be selling. That's the bottom line. Though to be fair, I think 35 dollars for any DS game is ridiculous. A lot of DS games sell at 40, and that's just insane. 30 dollars is a great and fair price point. Maybe that's why sales have been low.

C_BozkurT_C
C_BozkurT_C

hopefully Rockstar learned their lesson

feryl06
feryl06

hey sendmn23, explain to me how other games sold pretty well during the same time span?

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

There are many illegal copies of this game selling on Ebay - you can tell they are fake since the sellers claim that they don't work on the DSi since the DSi is region locked. Obviously it isn't just the firmware got better so the copies that work fine on the light don't work on the DSi. I suspect this is having an impact since the legitimate traders on Ebay can't compete on price. This is also happening with Mario Kart and Pokemon Platinum!!!

Mp5slipknot
Mp5slipknot

This is why you don't let soccer moms advertise games at E3.

crix3
crix3

Thats awesome I cant wait to get this, looks like it was worth waiting a little bit for. Best Buy here I come.

micmill
micmill

Perhaps Rockstar and other developers will finally learn that adult oriented games don't perform well on Nintendo platforms! (Just look at Madworld's sales figures as well).

d3emondav3
d3emondav3

That's too bad cuz it's a really fun game. Maybe they should do an iPhone version next :)

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Chinatown wars is amazing - pure and simple... however, it has been selling at a discounted price since launch on play.com - it's been £17.99 since the first day of release, with most DS games coming in at £24.99 - £29.99, so it's amazing value.

Sendmn23
Sendmn23

No, one can sit here and say "oh, a Grand theft auto game, and nintendo don't mix, and thats why its failing." You got to remember last month it was the entire gaming industry was down in sales. Its just a tough time to be out buying games. When itcomes down to it people need gas to go to work. People need electricty, water, rent, car payment, and so on.... its just most of the time those bills take presedence over everything else. I can attest to this in my life. Now, I'm very, very choosy as to what game I'm going to buy. I read all the previews, and reviews before I make a decision.... If I was pretty picky before the economic downturn, I think I'm even worse. This is the first year I've ever bought only 5 games by this time of year. I remember years back it was up to 5 games per month.... now its been 5 for the year. It sucks to be in retail. As these companies just can't afford to sit on thier inventory. If they do that they are already just losing money. SO its true when they said they get nervous. Its really a shame....Grand Theft Auto: china wars, really seems like a quality game.... If I had the cash to go out and buy one I would.... but as of right now renewing my x-box live account is more important to me, and who knows when I'll be able to do that.

RawhideSphinx
RawhideSphinx

Greatest DS game, past, future and present. I had more fun with GTA CW than I did with GTA4 and a lot of people agree.

gob__bluth
gob__bluth

@colsworl - Best Buy's price is the reason this story exists. How would you write the story without discussing Best Buy (and addressing if the price change is temporary or permanent)?

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

Foofightersrule, bestbuy ships from their website. Unless by "nearby" you mean none in the country you live in, you should have no problem getting it shipped to you.

foofightersrule
foofightersrule

I wish I had a Best Buy nearby... I'm not gonna pay 35$ for an old @$$ version of GTA

rattleheadxyz
rattleheadxyz

It's simple really: Nintendo + GTA = FAIL. For the most part, people who buy Nintendo products just aren't the kind of people that would be interested in playing GTA. And the few that are interested probably would rather not go back in time to 1995 and play a GTA game that is top-down. The game may be good for what it is but it was never going to sell as well as they had hoped. A solid IP doesn't always work well in every form it may take.

Colsworl
Colsworl

This seems like an ad in disguise for Best Buy, sure they have a couple paragraphs dedicated to Best Buy.