Whenever a high profile core game is released on the Wii, anti-Nintendo fanboys everywhere spam the internet claiming that the game will not sell. For the most part it’s true, with games such as Dead Space: Extraction performing very poorly, but in other instances core games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Call of Duty have sold extremely well on Nintendo’s home console. However, the majority of third party core flops were poorly advertised, if at all. With Monster Hunter Tri — arguably the most “hardcore” game to release this generation — Capcom have finally done what other third parties were too lazy to do on the Wii: advertise.
Monster Hunter is a big deal over in Japan. The portable entries in the series have single-handedly kept the PSP relevant in the East. Released back in August of 2009 in Japan, Monster Hunter Tri sold very well — it’s the only third-party Wii game in the region to go over 1 million units sold. Admittedly, Monster Hunter is a big deal in Japan. Bringing over a game in a series that isn’t popular at all in the West was a gutsy move by Capcom. Other third-parties would have just sent it straight to retail without pushing any sort of advertising behind the game. Not Capcom.
The first step in promoting Tri in the West was through the use of free demo discs obtainable at GameStop. The demo offered two quests — one hunting the Great Jaggi and the other hunting a Qurupeco — and every weapon type was available to play around with. The demo did have a few bugs here and there, and the loading screens were a lot longer than they are in the actual game. Nevertheless, it served its purpose.
How often have you seen commercials on TV for high-profile Wii games? The last that comes to my mind is for Red Steel 2 and The Conduit. Both received television ads, but nothing very major by any means. Monster Hunter Tri went on to sponsor South Park’s 200th episode on Comedy Central, and it even had commercials playing through episodes of Oprah. The commercials themselves are very clever, featuring Ironbeard McCullough talking about the game in a spoof of Deadliest Catch.
The biggest advertising push Capcom has given Monster Hunter Tri isn’t from television or web ads. No, Tri has gone onto “sponsor” several subways in the United States. One of which is San Francisco’s Powell Street subway, where large banner ads of hunters fighting the Lagiacrus are all over the walls. Compared to how the big third-party PS3 or Xbox 360 games are advertised, Capcom has done very well. Games such as Bayonetta have sponsored UFC matches, and “Random Shooter X” always gets a big push.
So, how is Monster Hunter Tri faring at retail? Tri was released on April 23 in Europe, and after just one day on shelves, it made it into the #5 overall spot for top selling games. The next week, Monster Hunter Tri blasted into #4. Additionally, the treasure pack bundle with Tri on GAME is the site’s number #1 selling video game. The official NPD numbers have yet to come in, but if Tri‘s seeming success in EU is any indication, it looks like Capcom have completed their goal of popularizing Monster Hunter in a region that doesn’t consist of Japan. Monster Hunter Tri definitely deserves the high sales numbers, too — it’s an outstanding game.
Check out my review for Monster Hunter Tri here, and add me online: D Turtle.