Which, I mean, who expected it to double sales over the original anyway?
Rockstar Games releases are usually landmarks- their games launch once every 4-5 years, are heavily critically acclaimed, win a whole lot of awards, and then proceed to sell for years to come. Just look at Grand Theft Auto V, which launched in 2013, is still a fixture on most sales charts, and at 70 million units shipped, is one of the highest selling game of all time.
GTA 5‘s sales performance is especially impressive because, while GTA games had always been big sellers, they had never sold to this extent before. Grand Theft Auto 4, for instance, sold 25 million copies worldwide, which was crazy- a number that GTA5 almost tripled.
So really, it’s not all that outlandish to expect Red Dead to see a similar growth trajectory with the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, is it? After all, the 2010 original has a lot of fans and great word of mouth, and Rockstar is now selling to a larger audience than it ever has sold to before.
But according to Michael Goodman, who is the director of digital media strategies at Strategy Analytics, Red Dead won’t quite manage that. In fact, Goodman said that he expects sales to be closer to the original Red Dead Redemption.
“I use [14 million] as sort of your baseline number, then it’s plus or minus that number,” Goodman said to We Write Things in an interview. “If they do it right, then it’ll be plus or minus that number. If they blow it, then obviously, they won’t hit [14 million]. That’s what I would think of in terms of what your market size is. I would be hard pressed to imagine a scenario where you’re going to double what the original did.”
“The way I think about it is you’ll get about 80 percent of the people who purchased the original, they’ll purchase the sequel. Then you’ll get about 20-30 percent of new people. That’s if you do everything right. My top end would be 110 percent of original sales and that’s really hard to do. Very rarely do sequels perform as well as their original,” Goodman said.
His analysis is generally sound, and would be spot on for any other game- but Red Dead, and indeed, Rockstar games in general, won’t function like a normal game. It is in that special brand of games, much like Bethesda’s products, that sees demand grow with each new instalment, due to years of pent up demand, and fans working themselves up into a frenzy. While I don’t know if Red Dead Redemption 2 will end up with double the sales of the original, I can safely be confident in saying that numbers will be closer to double the original’s sales than they will be to the original’s sales.