Retail Woe Unto Valkyria Chronicles

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Brad

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Edited By Brad
Nothing says warfare like a girl in a bonnet.
Nothing says warfare like a girl in a bonnet.
Have you played Valkyria Chronicles yet? Yeah, me neither. And apparently that makes us part of the problem.

According to data from the NPD Group (as reported by PS3 Fanboy), the game has moved a paltry 33,000 copies in the U.S. since its release in early November. That ain't a lot. It's not for poor critical reception; the game currently sports a totally respectable score of 86 on Metacritic. And anecdotally, I've heard nothing but good things about its unique mix of quasi-turn-based strategy, watercolor-anime visual design, and quirky alternate-history back story.

Valkyria is a member of that rarest breed, the third-party PS3 exclusive, and I wondered before its release if that limited availability wouldn't hurt awareness about it, to say nothing of sales figures. It's a brand new and somewhat esoteric IP; shouldn't you put it out on every available platform, get it in front of as many people as possible?

OK, this is more like it.
OK, this is more like it.
Anyway, all this is my way of saying "will play and return with thoughts." We've got a copy of the game here, and in light of this depressing mixture of critical praise and commercial malaise, I feel extra compelled to put it through some paces and report back when I have a meaningful opinion. It's hard not to root for the underdog in a case like this.

Plus, any game that pulls in playable characters from Skies of Arcadia likely deserves more than just a passing turn of the head.

For those of you who have played Valkyria: Do you consider its poor sales performance a tragedy? Would you chalk it up to PS3 exclusivity? A lack of accessibility to casual gamers? Something else entirely?

UPDATE:
I asked Sega why Valkyria ended up being exclusive to the PlayStation 3. This response came from producer Christopher Kaminski.

The PS3 presented unique development capabilities for the CANVAS engine, taking advantage of the hardware’s processing power thus pushing the graphical quality of the game. The PS3 also lends well to the new battle system that the team created for Valkyria Chronicles. Nonaka-san and his team did their best and pushed the console as far as they could, offering a new style, new atmosphere and a new battle system that hopefully players will enjoy.

Doesn't shed much light on the technical or business aspects of the exclusivity, but I wonder if the game's programming is too PS3-centric to make a 360 port a worthwhile endeavor in the face of these low sales.
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Brad

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#1  Edited By Brad
Nothing says warfare like a girl in a bonnet.
Nothing says warfare like a girl in a bonnet.
Have you played Valkyria Chronicles yet? Yeah, me neither. And apparently that makes us part of the problem.

According to data from the NPD Group (as reported by PS3 Fanboy), the game has moved a paltry 33,000 copies in the U.S. since its release in early November. That ain't a lot. It's not for poor critical reception; the game currently sports a totally respectable score of 86 on Metacritic. And anecdotally, I've heard nothing but good things about its unique mix of quasi-turn-based strategy, watercolor-anime visual design, and quirky alternate-history back story.

Valkyria is a member of that rarest breed, the third-party PS3 exclusive, and I wondered before its release if that limited availability wouldn't hurt awareness about it, to say nothing of sales figures. It's a brand new and somewhat esoteric IP; shouldn't you put it out on every available platform, get it in front of as many people as possible?

OK, this is more like it.
OK, this is more like it.
Anyway, all this is my way of saying "will play and return with thoughts." We've got a copy of the game here, and in light of this depressing mixture of critical praise and commercial malaise, I feel extra compelled to put it through some paces and report back when I have a meaningful opinion. It's hard not to root for the underdog in a case like this.

Plus, any game that pulls in playable characters from Skies of Arcadia likely deserves more than just a passing turn of the head.

For those of you who have played Valkyria: Do you consider its poor sales performance a tragedy? Would you chalk it up to PS3 exclusivity? A lack of accessibility to casual gamers? Something else entirely?

UPDATE:
I asked Sega why Valkyria ended up being exclusive to the PlayStation 3. This response came from producer Christopher Kaminski.

The PS3 presented unique development capabilities for the CANVAS engine, taking advantage of the hardware’s processing power thus pushing the graphical quality of the game. The PS3 also lends well to the new battle system that the team created for Valkyria Chronicles. Nonaka-san and his team did their best and pushed the console as far as they could, offering a new style, new atmosphere and a new battle system that hopefully players will enjoy.

Doesn't shed much light on the technical or business aspects of the exclusivity, but I wonder if the game's programming is too PS3-centric to make a 360 port a worthwhile endeavor in the face of these low sales.
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F1

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#2  Edited By F1

This is such a fun game!

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Tangeu

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#3  Edited By Tangeu

I tried to buy this game, twice.  Both times the store had none in stock.  Albeit neither was a dedicated game store (Target and Circuit City) but regular stores aren't even bothering to stock it I wouldn't expect the sales numbers to be too high.

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Dreamfall31

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#4  Edited By Dreamfall31

This is the first I have ever heard of this game.  That is probably why it has done so bad because of poor advertising.  Or maybe the PS3 doesn't have many RTS/RPG fans.

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HashHeesh

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#5  Edited By HashHeesh

New IP's usually have a hard time getting sales. Usually, not always.

Plus its also down to marketing. Why would you buy a game you don't know about? I would buy a Coke but not a Zepista. What's a Zepista? Haven't heard of it because it hasn't been advertised.

What I'm wondering is how much has it sold in Japan, the more likely place to sell.

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#6  Edited By zitosilva

I tried to get it for Christmas, but the two internet stores I checked were out of it. Since good games is not something that is lacking in this holiday, I just went with something else. I'll probably pick it up in the near future, but not right now.

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Gunblader

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#7  Edited By Gunblader

One of my favorite games this year; this is really disappointing.

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RawShark

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#8  Edited By RawShark

Aika and Vyse are in this game?! Now I care about it!

I was turned off by the alternate history premise. I'm tired of the Japanese raping European WW2 history and making us into huge-eyed bishis and shit.

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#9  Edited By Nemuel

Was quite easy find a copy in the netherlands, and i must say the game is rather good, as Jeff said the mostlikely thing is that its just overrun by other games and there just hasnt been enough push from sony or the developer to make it known.

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Bad_JuJu

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#10  Edited By Bad_JuJu

It looks interesting to me.  It's in my Gamefly game que.  But I can't say I've been clamoring to get my hands on it.

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TheHBK

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#11  Edited By TheHBK

I think part of it has to do with the fact that this is the first fucking time I have heard of this game.  Havent seen it at the store either so maybe not enough places want to sell it.

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#12  Edited By pikadeth

This game had the unfortunate fate of being released the day as Little Big Planet which Sony was pushing to the moon.

I also take it's poor sales as a sign that the RPG market isn't as important to console sales as it used to be unless the name Final Fantasy is slapped on the box.

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Strike 1: It's a J-RPG that's trying to make it in North America that isn't Final Fantasy.
Strike 2: It was released in November. I'm not an expert, but I think there were more than a few triple A titles to come out in November.
Strike 3: PS3 exclusivity. This is nothing against the console, as in Japan this would be a good idea. But in the US, it kills half of the people wanting this game, and I doubt they'd buy a PS3 for it.

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Hexpane

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#14  Edited By Hexpane

I posted this from Edge last week... PSfanboy?  cmon guys, you can do better than getting blogged stuff 1 week later.

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NinjaSquirrel

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#15  Edited By NinjaSquirrel

I wish i had A PS3

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newmarcom

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#16  Edited By newmarcom

I want to buy this game. I really do. But everywhere I look, the game is sold out. And here I thought the game was doing well because of the sell outs.

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sloppyjoe

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#17  Edited By sloppyjoe

Came out in the wrong month

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#18  Edited By Lilarcor

This is one of the few PS3-only games that I really want to play. I really wish it were multiplatform. Maybe the game's mediocre performance will lead Sega to make a port, but we'll see.

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#19  Edited By shorap

I've got it and while I've just started, I'm sure it'll be great.  Hopefully its poor sales will result in Sega, and other publishers, to bring AAA games out throughout the year instead of saturating the market during the holiday season.

This would've been a perfect summer/early fall game.
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#20  Edited By ArbitraryWater

It's because games like this are super niche. No "casual" gamer is going to look twice when its a choice between this and a First Person Shooter. Plus, the fanbases for these types of games are super rabid about their game (see: Fire Emblem). It's no wonder that this sold like crap.

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#21  Edited By yellownumber5

Maybe the game will pick up a small cult following over time.  I wanted to get this game, but with the economy and all money hasn't been good, nevermind it came out with too much competition.  But I'm glad to see games like this finally making the move to this generation.  I hope that it does well enough to keep these more niche genres in the industry.

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#22  Edited By PLWolf

Well, the question is, "How did the 360 exclusive JRPGs do?"
Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, Lost Odyssey??
We'll have to wait til 2010, but we'll see how FFXIII does being multi-plat in US and EU.

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#23  Edited By bshirk

I plan to if I get a PS3.  If they released it on 360, I would have bought it for sure.  The problem is, the mindless masses just like to buy what's popular, and a strategy-RPG isn't what most people would consider popular.  I hope it is out long enough till I have the money to get a PS3 and Valkyria.

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#24  Edited By nweasel

Interesting. I was unaware that it was hard to find. I was able to walk into my local GameStop and pick up a copy flat-out about a week I'd say after it came out.

I think it's a wonderful game, actually! I'd give it a great score myself... in fact, I'm going to review it this week now because of it.

I wouldn't say it's because of it being a PlayStation 3 exclusive. Maybe the fact that it's not a mainstream U.S. game, if you know what I mean. Unlike Resistance 2, Metal Gear Solid 4, and those, this game has gone under the radar for a lot of people, surprisingly. I grabbed it right away, and have nothing but good things to say about it.

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#25  Edited By FLStyle

It came out when I had no money due to non-gaming related reasons, now that I have the money it's disappeared.

I played the demo and enjoyed what it had to offer, I'll be doubling my search for it in the next week.
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#26  Edited By iamjohn

It's an awesome games, and one of the best RPGs I've ever played, strategy or otherwise.  The problem is, Sega released it at the wrong time, and to very little marketing.  If they put this out in, say, January or February, I'd say it would have had some more breathing room to sell.

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#27  Edited By chililili

This is a great game and I was let down when Giantbomb did not review it. Granted it is time consuming but it is very fun and breaks and remakes expectations. Its sad because this sends the message to companies of : WE DO NOT WANT ORIGINAL GAMES ONLY GENERIC STUFF WILL SELL, instead of trying to create new IPs and types of games

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#28  Edited By Crono

Its too japanese looking for the mainstream.

If the mainstream could look past that fact, it probably would sell like hotcakes during the time when hotcakes were the freshest thing since sliced bread.

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#29  Edited By Nets

I've been meaning to buy this game since it was announced at E3, but I just can't get around to it due to what we're currently going through, "the best year in video games". I will get it sometime in Q1 2009 though.

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StaticFalconar

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#30  Edited By StaticFalconar

Well I totally did ask GB to at least mention the game when it was released. I don't think its because its exclusive on the PS3, but rather nobody covered it and its fate will probably be that it fetches much higher prices on the second hand market as a result (once everybody else figures what a good game it is).

This article, acknowledging the existence of this game seems a case of too little too late. I know Jeff hates RPGs and especially JRPGs, but an acknowledgment of a good game where it is due was what I thought GB was about. I mean nobody else covered Braid much, and Jeff being a fan of fighting games had that vid of battle fantasia up before.

But nothing on Valk Chron.......

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stephengotlost

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#31  Edited By stephengotlost

Wow, 33,000 sure is a depressing number. The views on my youtube videos are higher than that.

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i purchased it. its okay. the story stinks even for an rpg.  its not too challenging either since the enemy ai is virtually nonexistent. the enemy only attacks if they see you, otherwise they just wait. and enemies frequently run right into machine gun fire and get mowed down or send mismatched characters out to attack and just generally do stupid things. still somewhat fun if you like strategy games. i thought it would have sold more.

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Scarabus

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#33  Edited By Scarabus

This makes me so sad. Is it because it's a typically japanese game or just bad timing?

I was not one of those 33,000 because I bought it here, in Europe. I wonder how it did over here?
It's a great game.

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#34  Edited By RHCPfan24
If I had a PS3, I would buy this game because I heard it was very good. That is depressing to see how it tanked though, very sad...
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#35  Edited By godzilla_sushi

Well, for me, I wanted to play it.....don't have a PS3 though. Not a bad thing to be exclusive, just too bad I couldn't play it.

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deactivated-6071c19eec72a

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I get a little sick of this Brad, for every exclusive PS3 game the gaming press always says it should be on multiple platforms, for example LBP should of been on nintendo, MGS4 should be on 360, and now this game should be on 360...  But no one ever says that Gears of war should be on PS3 or the next Bungie game should be on PS3, it's this double standard bullshit that drives me nuts.

The reason why it didn't sell well its because of 3 things.  

One, It was released when 3269479247924792 other huge games were released, so it was easily looked over
Two, It doesn't have a huge name reconginition like Gears of War or Halo
Three, strategy RPG isn't exactly a genre that moves a lot of units.. sadly
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#37  Edited By ashton

i was gonna buy it but it has no vs mode. i dont want to have to constantly play against the computer. i wanted to go head to head with a buddy.

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#38  Edited By lebkin

I do not want to start a war, but Is there any chance of this coming to the Xbox 360?  It looked like something I would like to play, but there is no chance I'll be getting an PS3 anytime soon in these tough economic times.  I don't know what the exclusive nature of the game is.  I would buy a copy if I could.

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#39  Edited By Kiemoe

I think it's definitely an accessibility issue. I mean, I would consider myself a pretty hardcore gaming enthusiast, but from playing the demo, it just seems too complicated and long to really grab anyone with limited time. You just have to remember that the average american gamer enjoys learning how to play in minutes and shooting aliens seconds later. sigh...

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#40  Edited By Captain_Fookup

If it was ported to the Xbox 360 I would have purchased it, exclusives can be a double edged sword sometimes.

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Dreamfall31

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#41  Edited By Dreamfall31

Oh, and I also wanted to thank you guys for pointing this game out.  I watched a few videos and it looks awesomee Hopefully I'll get it with some of the gift cards I get this holiday!

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#42  Edited By Alidar

While PS3 exclusivity doesn't help, I doubt it would have sold much better if it was also on the 360.  Trying to sell a SRPG with an anime art style in North America?  On top of that it's a new IP, was going up against games like Gears 2, L4D, CoD, and Resistance 2, and had virtually no marketing.  It seems they had a low print run so those that want it are having trouble finding it, not that it matters because pretty much no stores but specialty game stores (ie GameStop) would even bother ordering any.

Game's awesome though.

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Dolphin_Butter

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#43  Edited By Dolphin_Butter

Picked up a copy of my own, and it rocks. :0

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StarwindX9

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#44  Edited By StarwindX9

Valkyria Chronicles was one of the games I was looking forward to most this year. The game is gorgeous and plays very well. It totally deserves the score it got and should be selling. I believe the problem is that people don't care about good JRPGs anymore. This, along with The World Ends With You, would most likely be my front runners for RPG of year. I would also go as far to say this, aside from Metal Gear, is one of the best PS3 games of the year. It is a shame this game is overlooked, but I think if your game doesn't have a muscular freak with a chainsaw gun or a streotypical WW2 soldier on the cover the general public will never give it a second glance.

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DragoonKain1687

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#45  Edited By DragoonKain1687

Its the usual disease of the genre. JRPGs are not highly popular, unless you either bear Final Fantasy or Square Enix in your name. And, lets not dwelve into THIS particular game genre, which is also the lowest selling genre among JRPGs. Strategic JRPGs have never been popular. Specially in "yankiland" where they need to finish their stuff in under 5 minutes or its bad. Considering your average battle in this game goes up to 1 hour and there are more than enough scenes and reading material, the casual "ignorant" gamer will undoubtly turn down this game, which so happens to be the best JRPG this gen. Sega pulled a wonderfull game out of nowhere, but sales as this where more than expected.

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eznark

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#46  Edited By eznark

This game is absolutely amazing and it's a downright shame no one is picking it up.

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#47  Edited By Shoeless
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#48  Edited By TwoOneFive

its a shame this game is excellent, its beautiful and has great gameplay. i don't blame this on the fact that its a sony exclusive at all. it just it came out at a time when so many big hitters were released and its also relatively unknown. i totally liked the demo and thats how i learned about it. 

i think its sad, because its a really neat game and its one of Sega's only good games left. 
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Cheapoz

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#49  Edited By Cheapoz

Put it on the 360, where everyone else is.

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TwoOneFive

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#50  Edited By TwoOneFive
Snipes424 said:
"I get a little sick of this Brad, for every exclusive PS3 game the gaming press always says it should be on multiple platforms, for example LBP should of been on nintendo, MGS4 should be on 360, and now this game should be on 360...  But no one ever says that Gears of war should be on PS3 or the next Bungie game should be on PS3, it's this double standard bullshit that drives me nuts.
The reason why it didn't sell well its because of 3 things.  

One, It was released when 3269479247924792 other huge games were released, so it was easily looked over
Two, It doesn't have a huge name reconginition like Gears of War or Halo
Three, strategy RPG isn't exactly a genre that moves a lot of units.. sadly
"
i agree with you for the most part. I too am getting sick of the fact that people blame sony for the reason it didn't sell well. It is my understanding that  around 15 to 20 million people own ps3's. The reasons you listed are the real reasons. I would also add that it was never properly advertised. But then again, its not that easy to market this type of game. 

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