When the NPD Group released its non-PC US game sales figures for August earlier today, one of the month's highest-profile titles was missing in action. Neither the Xbox 360 nor the PlayStation 3 version of Wolfenstein cracked the top 10, despite the classic id shooter reboot being promoted by Activision--which was shut out of the top 10 entirely.
How poorly did Wolfenstein fare? According to NPD numbers obtained by GameSpot, the 360 version sold just over 59,000 units, with the PS3 edition barely clearing 30,000. Add in the PC iteration's 17,000 units, and Wolfenstein sold only around 106,000 units in the five days from its August 25 launch to August 29, when NPD's monthly reporting period ended.
Given Wolfenstein's largely positive reviews, its underperformance was likely disappointing to Activision, id, and developer Raven Software. It was not, however, totally unexpected. The day after Wolfenstein shipped, Madison, Wisconsin-based Raven laid off 30 to 35 staffers, which many industry-watchers took as a sign that Wolfenstein preorders were below expectations.
Luckily, Raven will have another chance next year. The studio's next project, the original sci-fi actioner Singularity, was pushed back to Q1 2010 for fear that it would be overshadowed by Activision's big holiday release, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.