Honestly I think it’s more due to the fact that Atelier Totori Plus has no physical copy. If there was a top ten sold games list, you’ll likely find half of the games have physical copies. Hence, I find this sort of data skewed. Now if the PSN sales of Atelier Totori Plus exceeds the total sales of all other March 2013 games, then that is indeed a fairly impressive feat. I also believe it has far more to do with the fact that people wanted an RPG on the go. After all, the Vita has a very small pool of games, so when you have that little to choose from, buying a fleshed out Vita RPG with bonus content game sounds like a reasonable new release to pick up.
This can also imply some oddities. If Tecmo Koei’s stealth release of Atelier Totori Plus was a genuine strategy, then this performed somewhat brilliantly. Another way to look at this is much more negative: the Vita games pool sucks so badly that a niche RPG game no one cares about mainstream-wise hit first place. I mean why care about a top ten in sales for a handheld if the handheld didn’t sell well in the first place?
The negative way to look at this is like one of those movie commercials that says it’s #1 for the summer season. Well, that might be true because it’s like…the only movie released so far when summer is only 3 days in where other releases don’t come out until the next week. In other words, Atelier Totori Plus could have also sold number one because the other March releases for the Vita were also not worth mentioning much on.
I personally still think while the data may be real, nobody can deny that the other games in that top ten list had physical copies clearly available. Of course Atelier Totori Plus had a good chance to top other March releases in PSN sales when it’s only available on the PSN. Being able to buy a physical copy of a game released in March would not be included in PSN sale statistics.
“Totori, you sold first place in March!”
“What?!” *falls over*
“But I had no marketing or advertising prior to release whatsoever!”
Here’s one simple contrast: Dead or Alive 5 Plus. This game was also made by Tecmo Koei, and unlike Atelier Totori Plus, was highly marketed by them. You could not really go by Tecmo Koei without seeing this game promoted for the Vita. Now what does this imply? Did Dead or Alive 5 Plus sell worse? If so, Tecmo Koei would look pretty bad, where their own core creation and full marketing effort, paled in comparison to Atelier Totori Plus. I find that unlikely, but the numbers are real probably because of the physical copy reason.
- Dead or Alive 5 Plus highly promoted itself to encourage preordering, to get bonuses like cheerleader outfits or whatnot. We all know that Atelier Totori Plus having a stealth release, had no such benefits of preorder information. Preorder bonuses didn’t matter because Atelier Totori Plus already had everything included, so it wasn’t necessary anyways.
- Preorder bonuses are usually more obvious on physical copies. Other than DLC bonuses you might get a previous game, an artbook, or some other physical good. If that’s the case, the preorders for DOA5+, whatever those numbers were, would be towards the physical copy sales, not the PSN sales.
- Let’s say Atelier Totori Plus sold 10000 copies in March at PSN, while DOA5+ sold 9000 copies in March at PSN. Well, if physical copies weren’t included, and DOA5+ actually had 9000 copies of physical copies too…then the net total is about 18000. In that retrospect, Atelier Totori Plus’ sales pale in comparison. This could easily apply to the other games in the March PSN sale rankings: PSN sales probably did not include physical releases.
If the rankings meant PlayStation Vita sales entirely (as opposed to “digital sales” or “sales on the PlayStation Store”), then that makes DOA5+ look even more pathetic and I’d further question Tecmo Koei’s business decisions to seemingly appear lazy on the Atelier series so much. Sure they didn’t localize, and sure they don’t have the past history, but they sure are meddling to get a piece of the pie. Not responding to any press very well is also not a good sign, yet for DOA5+ they’ll talk about it all day every day probably. What’s the objective? What’s the goal? I still think part of the stealth release of Atelier Totori Plus was also not to get in the way of Dead or Alive 5 Plus. Sure the genre of the games are totally different but it is the same company looking for sales of their games on the same game system in the same month of release, one definitely does not want their own marketing efforts of one game to directly conflict with marketing efforts of their other game.
Granted let’s stay positive and say Atelier Totori Plus sold well and that a Vita port for a jRPG that has bonus DLC, additional content, Vita features, and dual audio was a good idea. However, I don’t think dual audio caused any surge, since the lack of a physical copy was a legitimate complaint. Also it would be a very sad reality if Atelier Totori Plus didn’t sell well in March because that would seriously dampen the series if it couldn’t top the sales in PSN purchases when that’s the only legitimate way to obtain the game in English. The Atelier Ayesha issue was that dual audio was removed, but if dual audio exists, you’ll procure similar sales numbers to previous games. Again if anything, this would justify making the Atelier series go entirely handheld and not go console, which would potentially shrink it to be even more niche than it already is. Wasn’t the original intent of acquiring GUST supposed to go in the social/ mobile direction?
I can’t say the strategy was good. I’m thinking more on the negative aspect, thinking Tecmo Koei could have done better. Let’s hope the cost savings from zero marketing did something. However, I don’t feel like any savings or profits go extra into anything Atelier related to be honest. In some ways, this success is particularly no thanks to Tecmo Koei, considering they basically didn’t do anything related to it. Marketing? None. Translation? It’s a port. Dual audio? They didn’t re-implement it, as I’m certain it existed because it was already there to begin with.
At least for Atelier Totori Plus itself, it was likely a fine purchase, because you literally had all the bonuses you could add onto the game available, as well as having a feasible jRPG for the Vita. So of course I recommended it in terms of bang for buck value and having a jRPG on the go. Word of mouth may be strong, but I don’t see how this can grow in the long run if the publisher doesn’t seem to allocate resources to this series, but wants to reap the benefits. Also, it’s nice that people bought or liked the game, but it’s not because of Tecmo Koei. If anything, some consumers are still unhappy with Tecmo Koei for not releasing a physical copy of Atelier Totori Plus.
So yes, it’s nice news for Atelier Totori Plus to top March sales on the Vita, but several sources say digital sales or sales on the PlayStation Store. If the data numbers were not including physical copy sales, then of course Atelier Totori Plus should be near the top! Some of the other games obviously had physical copies! I still find this isn’t a great success but more like a stroke of luck for the series. The Atelier series was never great on PS3 console sales, so if it didn’t work on the Vita, then there’s a sales outlook problem that could loom since GUST got acquired and doesn’t have 100% control of the series now.