Just Dance: Can 2 million people be wrong?

Ubisoft surprised the gaming industry last month (myself included), announcing that Just Dance had sold 2 million copies worldwide in fewer than four months, making it the fastest selling third-party Wii game ever.

“The consumer response to Just Dance has been overwhelming,” said Ubisoft’s Tony Key at the time. “With Just Dance’s success we’ve seen a renewal of the music video game genre, as this is truly a game that is accessible and enjoyable for everyone.”

My mother-in-law swears by the $40 party game, saying she’s had more fun with it than any other Wii title. Unsurprisingly, veteran reviewers panned the game upon its release last November, while user ratings average a favorable 8 out of 10.

Obviously there’s an anomaly in the system. So for any Infendoites who have played the game, is the hype warranted?

13 Responses to Just Dance: Can 2 million people be wrong?

  1. Andrew G. says:

    I’ve never played it, it just doesn’t look like my kinda thing. But you know, we long-time gamers spend so much time making fun of those who have just entered the scene because they play “bad games” but I guess if they’re having fun, that’s all that matters.

  2. tychek0695 says:

    I bought this game within the first week of release and I absolutely love it and everyone that I’ve gotten to give it a try has gotten addicted to it very fast. It’s a fun group game then can cause quite a few laughs. If only it had more songs. :/

  3. BlueRocks says:

    Hype? The only hype it received was bad reviews by the ‘veteran reviewers’. Two million purchases isn’t hype. It is cold hard profit which speaks volumes more than hype.

    I have the game and my family and I love it. I got it for my two daughters (aged six and nine) but I was surprised to find that my son (13yrs old) and I both got into it as well.

    I was most surprised by how many of the songs I recognized. Not the older stuff which I have always loved, but the new tunes that I have heard on the radio just never knew the name of.

    This is a game that begs for DLC.

    Please.

  4. Mark says:

    Well, I think the “anomaly” is fairly easy to explain actually. Reviewers, seem to be more and more out of touch with what the general public thinks. Throwing out perfect scores to games that barely sold, and giving much poorer scores to games that have done incredible numbers. Note that I’m not referring to you guys here, but more the major reviewers like IGN, Gamespot, Game Informer, etc. These reviewers tends to represent the most hardcore of hardcore gamers, and thus review games in the mindset of what is, by definition, a niche. Its hardly surprising to me at all when the mainstream market disagrees with them and their opinions.

  5. Jeff says:

    For any hoping to link this to some kind of broader message about casual gamers and Wii, I’d suggest not doing that. Until the sales of Just Dance or Carnival Games (or whatever Wii Anti-fanboys golden child of casual utopia they have in the future) threaten the sales of Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, etc. then there is no “there” there. Just Dance has sold 2 million, on a userbase of nearly 67 million. If anything, you should be able to say they are Mario Kart fanatics, as that game comprises 1/3 of every Wii owner’s library.

    For reference, note how Simpsons Hit and Run sold almost 5 million on the PS2. Which is more than both Gods of War combined, EVERY Capcom Game combined, MGS3, FFXI, etc. You get my point. And the PS2 wasn’t plagued by this huge over-narrative of casuals and idiots who like licensed games.

  6. Eolirin says:

    … EVERY Capcom Game combined? If you ignore their big properties, I guess. Just the Devil May Cry series alone totals over 6 Million for the first three games. And the Onimusha series also sold around 5 million copies during the PS2 era. Resident Evil 4 sold over 3 million on the Ps2, etc. And using Final Fantasy XI as your PS2 era FF game is disingenuous, it’s a MMO, and the PS2 version required the purchase of a hundred dollar hard drive/network peripheral and a monthly fee. FFX sold nearly 8 million copies, and FFXII sold over 5 million.

    Your numbers are also way off on GoW, as 1 and 2 combined is over 7 million copies.

    But beyond that, Hit and Run was actually a decent game, it reviewed well, and it’s not really a casual game. It’s a simplified version of grand theft auto with a touch of crazy taxi thrown in at it’s core. And while there was a lot of casual stuff on the PS2, it was surrounded by a large number of big third party releases that did amazingly well. The Wii can’t claim that as much. The third party titles that succeed tend to be from non-established genres. Traditional game genres do not do as well.

    So the Wii is not comparable to PS2 in terms of what sells. This is not really a problem though. And people that harp on it too much are missing the point. And really, the reason for that is that the PS2 was more diverse in terms of the markets it appealed to, was because even though it was technologically inferior to both the GameCube and the Xbox, it was close enough that there wasn’t a point of differentiation. We don’t have any of that this generation; there’s a wide divide in terms of capabilities instead of three very similar machines. The Wii is a device that’s targeted to a different audience than the PS3 or 360 are, and the things that’ll succeed for one market are not the same things that will succeed in the other. We need the Wii, because it expands the userbase, gets people that weren’t into gaming into gaming, and prevents a death spiral of complexity. But games of the sort that are in heavily established genres and are complex and require a level of sophisticated knowledge of gaming aren’t going to sell as well on the Wii as they will on the 360 or PS3. The reasons for this should be pretty obvious.

    But this was the big risk that Nintendo took. If the broader market wasn’t there, if there wasn’t enough of an interest in gaming from then non-gamers, they’d have ceded the original market in favor of something that couldn’t support them. Iwata was right that if they didn’t do well with the Wii that they’d be dead. But the broader market *is* interested in games, it’s just that no one was making any that they could understand or get in to. So Nintendo did amazingly well on that gamble.

  7. Jeff says:

    I would hesitate to use VGChartz for sales data (As I am sure you probably have) They list a whopping Zero copies sold in America for F-Zero GX and Silent Hill 3 has apparently sold Zero copies period. The fact I own both must make an infinity% error. (did forget about Devil May Cry hough)

    Point still stands. Simpsons Hit and Run was a terrible GTA knockoff, aimed at casuals (Simpsons fans who don’t care about games,) that somehow sold better than Major Games put out by big publishers. Yet I heard of no backlash or bitching because it did so during the PS2 era. Only recently to the small successes of budget titles that sell nowhere near the big titles for a system suddenly mean the whole system is a barren wasteland.

    Wii is home to the best selling Traditional Game (whatever the hell means, but I’ll play ball) this entire Generation, or is Mario Kart somehow not a Traditional game anymore? The Hardcore/Casual divide is bullshit.

    This notion of “traditional games” failing on the Wii is also disproved by the fact that third party “efforts” are pre-supposed to have been big and effortful. They weren’t. Even if recently, a FEW third parties have decided to make good on their promises, the entire first 2 years of Wii products from third parties have been TERRIBLE. This tends to hurt reputations. Wii has a shovelware problem, yes? Whose fault is that? Certainly not Nintendo’s, their games are the best-rated and thus the best selling. Go look up just how many games UBISoft released. It nears 70 and nealry all of them are garbage (cook Wars, Cosmic Family.) Same with Activision, EA, Sega, etc. They released floods of crap and then turn around and wonder why consumers shy away from their products and stick with familiar faces and companies, or budget titles so they don’t lose out on $50 on yet another Wii Sports knockoff. Releasing shit can hurt reputations, but far be it from them to turn to the mirror. Easier to blame Nintendo and their “rabid fans” and “casuals” rather than see they got wise to their shovelwaring ways. And then they expect to be greeting as liberators when they finally deign to give half a shit and release spinoff after port after halfhearted projects. This is why Nintendo makes the phat ducats, they give a shit all the time, and give their customers their best all the time.

    Anybody wonder why nearly all of these “casual games” fail? Why even the best ripoffs of Nintendo’s own games sell a fraction of Nintendo’s own titles? Maybe if they gave a shit to begin with and kept on giving a shit they might see the success Nintendo does.

    I’d also be much more inclined to believe a “casual utopia” on the Wii if Games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart and Mario Galaxy and NSMBWii didn’t outsell the Majority of games released period, much less on other consoles.

    The whole “casual” crap is a tired argument from the DS that carried over to Wii. There were claims thrown around of “ZOMG nintendogs girlz Nongames Minigames Casualz” and that crap went away as soon as Nintendo’s Titles rose to the top and third parties started to give a shit. This would apply to Wii if only third parties gave a shit sooner. They let forum fanboys dictate their development strategy, and so far third parties have mostly been struggling, while Nintendo pulls in records profits for the INDUSTRY, much less themselves. (in 2008, Nintendo made more profit than Sony has made every single year they’ve been in games, combined. $5.5 billion.)

    If third parties hoped to eliminate Nintendo by isolating them and freezing out the Wii, they screwed up royally. Nintendo is now more powerful than ever, and it shows no sign of stopping.

  8. someone says:

    if you could stereotype the average person that plays video games from time to time, this is their game. completely accessible, plug in and play right away. if you could stereotype the nerdy gamer, the one that still lives in their parents basement, male, no girlfriend, knows and collects everything about video games, can spend 80 hours straight on a ‘deep’ game’, this isn’t their game. why would they want to move when they could just press buttons and lie in bed? in any case, obviously there is a huge market for this type of game. and the ‘regular’ game reviewer can’t touch it. more people playing video games; so what? its a good thing. many people are too possessive about their hobby, especially gaming. listen, there are 3 consoles, 2 handhelds, and thousands of games to choose from. so if there’s even 10% of the gaming libraries dedicated to gaming for regular people, how is that a threat to your hobby? you should be happy the hobby is getting more and more popular.

  9. srkelley says:

    I’ve only played it once, but it was fun. Goofy as heck, but it had a DDR 2 feel to it somehow.

  10. David says:

    They totally filmed a commercial at PAX East. I was in it, along with 1000+ other people dancing along!

  11. Gern says:

    Just Dance is a good game. It is catchy and make you work out too. The kids will love it. I guess 2 million buyers of it are wrong in the eyes of IGN, Game Informer and major reviewers. I remember before Christmas I was looking for reviews because I was interested in this game for the family. IGN had a review score of 2! What a bunch of crap. I have been frustrated with IGN and GameInformer for the constant bias against Wii games and the reviews of them. When I think about it, it is no different that the Grammy’s for music and the Oscar’s for movies. Those organizations have long been out of touch with the likes of the general public. However, no problem, because the internet provides me with the opportunities to find reviewers that match my gaming interests.

  12. herogear says:

    Could it be that Just Dance scratches an itch that certain Wii owners have, and does so in a way that is well-produced, carefully crafted, and doesn’t pander to or insult the very people it targets? Maybe that’s why it sells well, not because of this ‘casual’ (read: gaming journo code of ‘retard’) kingdom.

  13. IrishCatholic says:

    My wife picked up Just Dance from a local Target after a friend recommended for weight loss. It turns out that not only did she love it, my 11 and 8 years old sons loved it more. This is definitely a game for the casual video game player and that’s why it has sold so well on the Wii. It’s a blast to play in a party atmosphere even if the controls are a little off. What really sells the game is the selection of songs to dance! Everyone will recognize something and everything will have fun if you want to have fun. Never looked at the “hard core” game reviews, but the reviewers can’t review the game for the casual fan and never will be able to. You won’t be disappointed with the purchase of Just Dance, plus how could 2 million people be wrong 😉

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