Binary Domain sells just 20,000 units in North America

The NPD has just released their sales data for the month of March, and though it’ll hardly come as a surprise to most, the results aren’t looking good for SEGA’s robot-themed third person shooter. Binary Domain has reportedly sold just 20,000 copies in its first full month on North American shelves, while Mass Effect 3, despite a significant amount of fan backlash, managed 65 times that, selling 1.3 million for the month, not including its digital sales.

On the handheld front, Kid Icarus Uprising on the 3DS sold 140,000 copies after 8 days on shelves, while Resident Evil: Revelations reportedly moved 122,000 for the month. No Vita games seem to have charted.

Though Binary Domain managed a solid debut in its native Japan, it has struggled to find similar success in the West, despite the aims of the development team to create a franchise with worldwide appeal. New IP by their very nature can be a tough sell in today’s risk-averse economic climate, and with an incredibly minimal marketing campaign and decent but unspectacular reviews from the press, Nagoshi’s latest was unable to find its audience in the wake of the far better-promoted Mass Effect 3: another futuristic adventure with third person shooting mechanics and a heavy emphasis on story.

Even with its strong debut, Mass Effect 3 was unable to rescue the month of March in the eyes of the NPD, who’s reporting a 26% decline of software sales year-over-year, though with the group continuing not to track digital numbers, the relevance of such a figure is debatable.

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48 responses to “Binary Domain sells just 20,000 units in North America

  1. Lent says:

    I take it 20,000 is not a good figure for a game of the calibre of Binary Domain, I’ve yet to play it myself but I have to say it does look quite boring, what were the reviews like? Is it really worth the effort? I was expecting great things considering that it was produced by the same SEGA team responsible for the excellent Ryu Ga Gotoku (‘Yakuza’ in the West) series, ah well, I’ll probably still buy it any way.

    And how are SEGA’s other games doing on the market?

    • BigBoss says:

      Basically, we are forgetting here that the Videogame market in the US has been in decline in comparison to it’s Eastern European/Japanese counterparts, check out this piece…

      “The US videogame market declined 25 per cent year on year last month, according to data released by NPD Group.

      Total spend on new hardware, software and accessories at US retail came to $1.1 billion, a decline of $370 million from the previous year. The biggest decline was in hardware sales, which fell 35 per cent; software sales fell by a quarter and accessories were down 8 per cent.

      Mass Effect 3 was the best-selling game of the month, outselling its predecessor Mass Effect 2’s first-month sales by two copies to one – little surprise given that it’s the first game in the series to be released simultaneously for all platforms.

      NPD analyst Anita Frazier admitted it was “a disappointing month, and first quarter, for new physical retail sales” but added it “wasn’t entirely unexpected given guidance we’ve seen from several sources.” Xbox 360 was the most popular hardware for an eighth consecutive month.”

      There you have it folks, Although the 360 is doing good hardware wise, software is another thing altogether.

  2. Kori-Maru says:

    This is a awesome game with unique features in single player. If only Sega promoted the game more.

  3. Mengels7 says:

    It’s not worth it. I tried it a week after beating Mass Effect 3. It was kind of like the same game except that every aspect was worse. Go play Mass Effect or Gears of War if you’re looking for this type of game.

    The story seemed mildly intriguing though. *shrug*

  4. SuperSonicEX says:

    why did SEGA decide to not take a chance to better promote Binary Domain in the west? I’m sadden but not that surprised by the numbers.

    The marketing effort did not reflect the aim they wanted to achieve…or was it not possible because of budgeting issues that ultimately led to the lay-offs/restructure?

  5. Max Cady says:

    I’m going to weigh in a bit on this. I felt personally that the game itself, or rather it’s failure is not something that can be targeted specifically on poor marketing or lack of originality.

    Binary Domain feels like a game that SEGA should have released 2 years ago. Not in 2012 where these type of games are now just so mundane that you either have to have a well known brand name or you have to really think outside of the box.

    Binary Domain is a new IP and from what I heard about in the reviews, it doesn’t have much in the way of any major inovation. The fact that it’s also based on a game engine that’s nearly 3 years old also does not help at all.

    Think about it, guys. We’ve seen huge cinematic games like Resident Evil 5, Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy XIII and other examples that feature great set-pieces, most of those games as you guessed it, have been released years ago, so Binary Domain already feels dated by comparison.

    I’m just saying that they should have released this a game like this years ago.

  6. -nSega54- says:

    Well sort of the problem with a lot of Japanese developers right now is that they’re simply playing catch-up to the Western industry….Gears of War released many years ago, and then Japanese developers played it and obviously loved it, and then they begin coming up with their own games in the genre…but of course, years later when those games are ready for release, the genre’s done to death and a game needs to do quite a bit more to stand out.

    Still the game certainly could have done better if it were promoted. I’m not saying it would have done millions in Month 1 or anything but it could have been a solid start for a new franchise. But oh well.

  7. Beat says:

    It’s what happens when you don’t promote your games at all SEGA. A shame too, as I could see this game finding an audience in the west if it were marketed more, even if it wasn’t that amazing.

  8. DCGX says:

    As a couple people above said, it wasn’t a promotion problem, it was just a bland game. The controls were okay, the cover system is well behind games like Gears of War and even Splinter Cell, the voice controls were broken, and it looked very sterile. Releasing it the same month as Mass Effect 3 obviously didn’t help, but I don’t think it would’ve sold much more if it was released some other time anyway.

  9. Leo says:

    It seems to have suffered a fate that a lot of SEGA games sometime do, lack of decent marketing, and even on the odd time a SEGA game does get marketing, it never seems to get done right.

    I heard all this with the Dreamcast’s year in 2000, “SEGA does not market their games properly”, “SEGA does not respond to phone calls” – said EA at one time when questioned why they were not supporting SEGA’s Dreamcast.

    So what is it about SEGA’s marketing that is still so wrong?

    Are SEGA just some how naturally out of tune with the games industry and it’s fan base?

    • Hitrax says:

      Yea, I remember hearing that too, SEGA and EA had a few war of words with each other over the Dreamcast, EA claimed in one publication that SEGA were incapable of marketing their games correctly, had poor awkward social skills, a nonchallant attitude and bad PR experience.

      Then there was the time of SEGA’s shock re-structural plans in 2001 that shook and changed the videogame industry, and EA was said to be view SEGA’s new plans as a threat on their territories of market share, lol,
      I bet they don’t see SEGA as too much of a threat now, EA’s not only not suffered, but prospered massively since then, heck EA could release it’s own console without any real fear or hard ship.

      What the hell’s happened at SEGA, I do not know…

    • peachlife says:

      simple answer to all people calling out sega on their bad marketing. THEY ARE BROKE.

      How can people expect huge media blow outs that cost $$$$ when they can barely afford to make the game to begin with…

    • Lenticular says:

      How can they be broke if they’re still able to operate with other companies like Capcom and Namco?
      SEGA has been in the 3rd party market for about 10 years now, they should have built up some hefty amount of profits by now, they are still one of the biggest gaming companies on the planet, and should at the very very least, by as good as Capcom and Namco in their 3rd party guise.

      In this day and age, you can’t just release huge games like that without marketing them properly.

  10. radrappy says:

    “Nagoshi’s latest was unable to find its audience in the wake of the far better-promoted Mass Effect 3: another futuristic adventure with third person shooting mechanics and a heavy emphasis on story.”

    It’s not just a difference in promotion dollars. ME3 was probably a much better game and is a sequel to an already mega popular franchise. You make it sound like with enough marketing behind it, sega could have lifted BD’s sales to the same level. The truth is BD didn’t look worth the investment. A lot of people have mentioned that its actually a great purchase but that doesn’t matter. It never looked like one, which in this day and age is a death sentence. Especially for a new IP from a company the gaming public has mostly lost all faith in.

  11. Betablocker says:

    Well you also have to bare in mind. Sega fans such as myself are not the type that pre-order or buy games at launch.

    I still haven’t bought Sonic Generations though I did Gamefly it for a month. Same for Binary Domain I may consider renting it.

    I will buy both games eventually either when they become greatest hits/game of the year category. Or when they are simply cheap enough to buy brand new.

    I never buy full price games (I don’t buy used games either :)).

    • radrappy says:

      hey man games are freaking expensive. Totally understand your mentality. It’s nice of you to not buy used games. It’s a tough deal to pass up on for someone who’s trying to be frugal.

    • peachlife says:

      i dunno.. i’m not exactly a millionaire myself but games aren’t exactly expensive. i myself aim to buy every major sega release and seeing as you are posting on a sega fan blog, you probably should also if you cared if. sega needs all the support they can get right now.

    • Betablocker says:

      I was desperately hoping to win that Binary Domain give away here at Bits.

      Sega fans exist in 3 categories if you will:

      Those that literally grew up with SEGA starting with the MD/Genesis. They should be in there mid 30s now given they were at least 10 years old when the genesis came out. Their population is minimal as most have just grown out of that phase.

      Then it is the category that started with the Dreamcast. A generation that grew from watching their relatives/friends/siblings, play earlier SEGA consoles before they bought one themselves and now have a very strong sense of Nostalgia towards the company. They should be in their early 20s now and those that tend to lead a normal life would be to busy with Grad School/Job to play games as frequently as they once did.

      A normal person would play less than 3 linear game a month (I can barely beat 1 game) and like myself they have dozens of games already on the list to catch up on so new games just don’t take priority for us.

      Then we have the 3rd category which is composed of people under 19 that grew up with Sonic on the Gamecube – SEGA so far hasn’t managed to get them totally immersed in SEGA but games like Sega Superstars series are helping them get more involved unfortunately those games offer little in the way of selling them on those other franchises as their is minimal information/story/ideas/themes from the other games in their, also it doesn’t help that games like Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio, Samba De Amgo, NiGHTS, are more or less irrelevant as they’ve not had new original games in years if not decades.
      _____________________

      This game was designed to target people outside the 3 SEGA Generations and on that front it failed cause it wasn’t what they needed.

      As people have already pointed out Binary Domain was entering an already saturated Genre. While Mass Effect trilogy has ended – Binary Domain is just beginning.

      Yakuza took a long time to find it self a demographic outside Asia, hopefully this franchise wouldn’t die and it too could find a cult status eventually.

    • Mengels7 says:

      “Those that literally grew up with SEGA starting with the MD/Genesis. They should be in there mid 30s now given they were at least 10 years old when the genesis came out. Their population is minimal as most have just grown out of that phase.”

      Hey hey I grew up with Genesis since I was like 4 and am 22 now 😛

    • Betablocker says:

      4 year old aren’t you to be sitting in front of the tv playing games all day?

      When I was 4 I used to sit in front of the tv watch my elder siblings play video games all day. I actually bought an MD in 96 or 97 before quickly moving on to PS1. It wasn’t until I bought a Dreamcast I realized I grew up with Sega.

  12. Randroid says:

    Basically, the “terrible announcement” they made a few weeks back is exactly what they have to do:

    1. Scale down big-buget, new IP development in the western markets.

    2. Make quality releases for the IPs that are established in the western market (Sonic) to rebuild trust.

    3. Develop new IPs for the market that still appreciates your aesthetic (JAPAN).

    4. Allow smaller publishers to localize those IPs for the western market.

    5. Get a head start and establish yourself as a strong deliverer in the digital publishing sector (their Miku iOS games are the right idea)

  13. CrazyTails says:

    Hope it does better for PC

  14. SigmaAlpha says:

    Those are quite depressing numbers, for such a great game. Guess there won’t be a sequel.

  15. samsonite says:

    Dont want to come off offending people here but, Binary domain was a well thought through, imaginative third person shooter. Just like Vanquish, it does so many great, new things in the genre that make it distinctive to its competition.

    Yet often reactions I saw to the game in the west were arrogant, passing it off as a mere mediocre clone, with no redeeming genuine quality. The fact that the game was being made from Japan was also brought up consistently and was seen as a setback! I’m not surprised it did this badly, when a publisher is up against so much dismissal, they may as well not even tried.

    Same could be said for most Japanese games, the market has just changed too drastically.

    • Still pissed about no Lunar on Saturn says:

      We are of the same mind here, my friend. Your point about the “arrogance” is spot on. The gaming press (Western) is always on about how ahead the West is in gaming.

      And uh, well awe shucks, wouldntcha knowit! we’ze livin hur in the west, too!

      Back in the day, Japan was on top, and we were the nascent little industry, just trying to keep up the best we could.

      But now WE BIG, WE ALL GROWS UP; and we don’t take it anymore, we give it. It’s seems fashionable nowadays to publicly take a dump on Japanese developers – I’m referring to a certain indie-dweeb developer who made certain, grating comments during his speech before a certain indy gaming conference.

      Actually, it’s happening so much, those poor guilt-o-philic allies of ours across the sink seem to be taking it on themselves. Miyazaki and Miyamoto at different times mourned the death of the Japanese imagination, basically prostrating themselves to TEH MAYTY WEST!

      Also, skim the paltry, mind-numbing comments at gamespot and try to get through 10 without at least one of these:

      “hyuk, we’z westerners make sum great games, LOL-derp!”

      Anywho, glad I’m not the only one noticing.

  16. Scott says:

    @Betablocker: Your 3 categories theory is a load of hogwash, I am 19, I was born in 1992, at the age of 3 I was playing the bloody megadrive! You don’t need to be 10 to have the mental capacity to play it and the arm strength to hold the controller.

    In other news, it’s a shame to see this game fail, but I personally think SEGA would be better off making games for their much loved IP’s until they’re not in a bad financial state, only then can they make losses on new IP’s.

    • Lenticular says:

      That’s exactly what people were saying 10 years ago when SEGA stopped the Dreamcast to restructure, “Oh SEGA have a massive wealth of beloved SEGA IP that will dominate the market and SEGA will completely rule the market as a 3rd party company before they ever release a new home console”…..

      Ten years on, and where are SEGA at? Still the exact same problems as ten years ago, so even SEGA’s own IP can’t be doing as good as it should.

  17. loempiavreter says:

    I have to say i’m pleasantly suprised by this game, I thought it was a bland Gears of War clone until I played it and found out this is the SEGA of the old. And those boss fights, it’s like playing a SEGA arcade game.

    I feel games like this are what Vice: Project Doom/Gun-Dec where to Ninja Gaiden/Ninja Ryukenden all those years ago. Seen as a clone at it’s release, but valued for it game merits years later as a cult game. People spend way to much time complaining clone this or originallity that, just shut up enjoy it for it’s game merits.

    Revolutions suck anyway.

  18. loempiavreter says:

    @Beta-blocker

    You forget the very first category, people who grew up with SEGA as a arcade manufacture. SEGA for me is still arcade biz… The console side had a few decent titles, like Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage & Super Shinobi’s. But arcade is where it’s at.

    • Lenticular says:

      SEGA still are an Arcade company as well, the biggest on the planet too, they still produce their own Arcade consoles, the latest ones were the RingEdge and RingWide platforms.
      So they are still technically a hardware as well as a software company.

  19. CosmicCastaway says:

    For what it’s worth, I would take Binary Domain over Mass Effect 3 any day of the week.

  20. Aki-at says:

    I really have to say, it is mostly SEGA’s fault on how they promoted the game, I can already see the problem with everyone saying generic art direction and what not, but here are some spoiler moments that puts to bed that idea.

    You face off against a mecha gorilla that first attacks you on the train, than the train station, than follows you into a car factory before you finally take him down. Face off against a crab like assembly line and a giant motorcycle robot the size of a T-Rex chasing you down the highway.

    And that all happens within 1.5 hours of the game.

    This is not even mentioning the halfdead zombie hollow children that follow you in the garbage level, the Shinobi mechs and of course giant robot spider boss that hops on one leg once you blast away at it.

    And for people calling out the generic character design, the majority of the cast are soldiers, hardly going to wear anything fancy. Even so, I would not say Cain, Kurosawa or Rachel as being remotely generic. This is without going on about the other cast of characters like Mifune, Yuko or Shindo.

    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20110628051/TN/033.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/001.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/006.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/011.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/023.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/040.jpg
    http://www.4gamer.net/games/125/G012513/20120201012/TN/027.jpg

    As I said, SEGA America relied mostly on Chapter 2 without showing much else of the game.

    And I would say Binary Domain controls better than Mass Effect that and, well, Shepard runs like a gorilla in Mass Effect 3 ha.

  21. -nSega54- says:

    “You make it sound like with enough marketing behind it, sega could have lifted BD’s sales to the same level. The truth is BD didn’t look worth the investment. A lot of people have mentioned that its actually a great purchase but that doesn’t matter. It never looked like one, which in this day and age is a death sentence.”

    I clarified in a comment I made earlier that of course I didn’t expect Binary Domain to sell Mass Effect 3 numbers for basically the reasons you listed. But Mass Effect didn’t start out selling 1.3 million…the first Mass Effect game sold a few hundred thousand in its release month but the series grew and so did its fanbase.

    Starting a new IP isn’t something that you can do effortlessly. You have to promote the game and get the public interested. If most people think that the game looks bland, then that’s another failure of the marketing department, whose job it is to get people interested in their game.

    “simple answer to all people calling out sega on their bad marketing. THEY ARE BROKE.

    How can people expect huge media blow outs that cost $$$$ when they can barely afford to make the game to begin with…”

    Sega-Sammy is not broke; far from it. Sammy in particular rakes in tons of money, certainly enough to give the game a decent ad campaign. Of course I’m not expecting Sega to be sending copies of the game into space or anything like EA did with Me3 but they could still have put in more effort/money than they did. And delaying it into Mass Effect 3 month was just insane.

    • Still pissed about no Lunar on Saturn says:

      in·sane   [in-seyn] Show IPA
      adjective
      1.
      not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.
      2.
      of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who is NOT POOTING A GAMEPLY TAYLOR ON BD STEAM PAIG LOL!

  22. IrishNinja says:

    Ugh. and look at the #’s on Raccoon City…
    i hope it finds a home soon on Steam. Can’t imagine they’ll let Nagoshi try another new IP for a bit, and it was a good game too…

  23. Pao says:

    I couldn’t agree more with samsonite’s post.

    For me, Binary Domain, along with Vanquish, are the apex of the genre. Its a shame people dismiss it without even playing the game.

  24. TenkoTAiLS says:

    Could also be with the abundance and over-saturation of the FPS genre in gaming at the moment. Perhaps people have already had their fill from the countless other FPS games that have been released as of late.

    Or maybe it is because there has been next to no marketing, people don’t know about it, and since it hasn’t been shown to be a “must have” game, people just look right past it on the shelves.

    Its a pity, cause there are a lot of golden games out there that ended up having crap sales.

  25. teirusu says:

    im going to buy this game for ps3 🙂

  26. Still pissed about no Lunar on Saturn says:

    Ok peeps, here’s my two cents:

    I’m definitely joining the party to get in a kick for having my heart broken in the middle of the mall in front of my friend, who doesn’t even fucking like videogames, all because Sega treated Working Designs – you know, their BEST FUCKING 3RD PARTY PUBLISHER – like a band of retarded children, too embarrassed to let them occupy any space but the far flung, impossible to find corner of that year’s E3 expo. They were probably neighbors with the fails who ported Zero Wing!

    Sooooooooooo, I’d also like to say that Sega’s not that broke. The same week they said they would nuke their workforce with pink slips, they picked up some bitchin island casino property over off of western Honshu. I know exactly what you’re thinking: sounds like some Yakuza 3 shit, right?

    Thankfully, I haven’t popped my cherry on gears of war or FF, so BD will do just fine!

    • Caledonia SP says:

      That’s probably SEGA’s problem, their priority list is a complete joke, they buy up lucrative island Casinos and huge multi-acre land theme parks and produce overly good hardware machines, but they just do not know how to prioritise with their money, instead of marketing their games first and profit from it’s success and then buy island casinos or whatever, they instead jump the gun and go buy lucrative stuff like that first any way and let the game advertise itself and just hope for the best, then as always, it ends up failing.

  27. Kara says:

    How can people expect this game to be a big seller with their terrible marketing?

    All the SoA employees do is trashing their own games! Look at the first Binary Domain trailer they released. Can you say that people wwould be interested in the game? Hell no! Also how many times have they changed release dates of many games?

    I got tired of their rudeness and laziness. Sega should terminate all employees and use third-party marketing company, period.

  28. Lil Jon says:

    Lets be brutally honest here folks, SEGA is absolute shite it marketing, they always have been most of the time, and it is their GREATEST WEAKNESS.

    People were saying the exact same shit 10~15 years ago, and nothing has changed since then, SEGA IS SIMPLY COMPLETE RUBBISH AT MARKETING!

    And don’t bother coming back trying to claim it’s because of lack of funds, because this time 15 years ago, SEGA was raking it in compared to now and they were still shit back then at marketing as they are today, hence why the Saturn didn’t take off in the West like it should’ve and could’ve!

  29. -nSega54- says:

    The sad thing too is that it’s actually a lot easier to market your game these days thanks to playable demos….that’s a huge advantage that we really didn’t have before the digital download era. They just need to get people to want to TRY the demo, and, from there, try the game. Commercials are a great way to get people interested in trying out a game.

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