Posted on April 28 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Okay, so it’s no “rumor” that Metroid just doesn’t sell. While it’s numbers are decent for any small company, it’s not selling relatively well compared to NIntendo’s other major properties, thus Nintendo has decided to essentially “shelve” the series. Note, however, that this doesn’t mean new Metroid titles will not be coming out. Unlike what Activision did in shelving Guitar Hero due to poor sales, Nintendo is simply going to make Metroid be a focus anymore. This means long development times with less money invested and a heck of a lot few releases.
While this is a rumor, it’s one that makes too much sense to ignore. The Metroid series has never been a top seller for Nintendo, and even Metroid Prime only really got close to the 3 million mark. It’s been downhill ever since, and it continued to get worse with Other M. I think the major decline in sales isn’t necessarily from producing poorer games (Metroid Prime 3, as an example, is awesome), but because the market for Metroid now rests in the Sony and Playstation fans. You have to win them back first, I feel, before you can once again sell well.
It’s interesting, because Zelda itself isn’t necessarily a “big” seller, but it’s average sales per release are much higher. A Zelda game, by title alone, practically guarentee’s 4 million units sold. Even Spirit Tracks, a game that underperformed with Nintendo’s expectations, still moved 2.82 million units. To give you an idea, that’s more copies than every single game in Metroid’s history other than Metroid Prime. Astonishing.
So, while it’s a rumor, it’s one that just makes sense from a business standpoint. People just aren’t buying Metroid games, and really never have supported it that well. While long time fans would hate to see the series come to a standstill, it’s hard to justify spending millions to make a new game that at best may push 2 million units.