PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Slips At Retail, So What Went Wrong?

Despite an overwhelmingly positive review here on TSA, it seems that more than a few people appear to have fallen in line with Peter’s thoughts on the game – with what seems to be a sense of apathy towards the PlayStation exclusive All-Stars Battle Royale. In short, this has meant that the game practically bombed here in the UK in its first week of sales, only managing to chart at number 38.

First things first – this game was advertised. I’ve seen a few PlayStation games come and go with little advertising but Battle Royale isn’t one of them – adverts and banners on websites everywhere, and there’s even a TV commercial, which – if you’ve not seen it – is below. It’s hardly perfect, but it’s definitely out there, and that’s more than the likes of Starhawk got.

It does seem that Sony’s ad buyers kept away from going all out with site takeovers and backgrounds, instead pushing services like Google’s AdSense to spread the word without the big expenditures, but if you were a frequent visitor to any half decent gaming site chances are you’d have seen adverts.

Any good? That’s Sackboy on a skateboard, Sweet Tooth at a tube station and a – well – fat Fat Princess. For half the ad – thirty seconds – it’s like those cheesy Money Supermarket ads, but without the humour, and zero gameplay. There’s a good ten seconds of so of footage, which does illustrate the game clearly to those familiar with it, but to a casual market is it really obvious what’s going on?

Why are they all fighting each other?

There’s also the factor that some of the characters included, like the bloke in pink, are hardly Sony’s strongest characters. There may be other adverts that I’ve not seen, but where were Kratos, Drake and even the old school guys like PaRappa The Rapper? The last Twisted Metal was hardly the best thing the PS3 has put out, so why focus on one of its leads?

And the line about the Vita version being “included” – perhaps red tape prevented them for saying ‘free’ there, but they really could have pushed the fact that the Vita version’s thrown in at no extra cost, even if it’s just a download and not a game card.

[drop2]And then there’s the marketing. Remember marketing’s entirely different from advertising, the former is where the likes of the PlayStation Blog have months of character reveals and a gradual, slow build up to release. Some might say the leaks from the beta spoiled any pre-determined, calculated marketing campaigns, but that’s unlikely, the extra column inches generated by coverage of the leaks potentially outweighed the negatives.

Timing, too, was clearly an issue. Coming out mere days after the year’s biggest title – Black Ops II – was hardly the safest bet. That said, LEGO Lord Of The Rings managed an impressive entry at number six, but that’s a title with a lineage and a ready fanbase, Battle Royale had to earn its new fans, something it’s clearly struggled with judging by these initial figures.

The price was probably a factor in this. Regardless of the inclusion of the Vita code included, the game still costs £40 unless you really shop around, and for a brand new title with reviews only landing a few days before (if reviews even count for anything) and adverts that struggle to convey what the game is about, the more hurdles the less its chances of making a mark.

Let’s not forget though that the game was available on the PlayStation Store, something the current charts don’t track. I’m not for a minute suggesting that the game would have sold more via the PSN than retail – that’s something that may well emerge next gen but I’m not sure we’re there yet. What I am saying is that some will have opted for the digital version, and we won’t know how many (even relatively) until the figures roll out at the end of this week.

The E3 video is better at setting the pace, with smarter character focus, but I still get the impression it’s something of an ambiguity for outsiders.

The game itself is solid enough – I quite enjoyed playing it on the Vita for my contribution towards the TheSixthAxis review – but perhaps the lack of visible scoring is a problem, the ugly as sin user interface, or the fact that some inclusions feel like promotional adverts (hi, Dante) rather than earned positions in the PlayStation’s back catalogue.

But perhaps the biggest issue is that it simply doesn’t pack the same amount of content as its main rival, and perhaps PS3 owners (the Vita version’s not in the top 40 at all) just aren’t interested in seeing characters they’re familiar with jumping around and scrapping in a 2D plain. Why make Drake leap about and shoot in Battle Royale when he can do it in Uncharted? That was always going to be an issue, but few of us thought the game would chart so far down the list.

The PlayStation brand has some great characters, but here together maybe they don’t really work that well outside Sony’s core gaming community, a fan base that has absorbed countless Blog posts for at least half a year. It’s a shame, because the mechanics work well and the online functionality is sound – the idea, too, isn’t exactly flawed.

I don’t really know why the game only managed to chart at number 38, but it’s not for lack of trying this time around. All eyes on charts from the rest of the world, then.



  1. Will be interesting to see if it climbs. I picked it up on Friday and I’m honestly loving it, it’s a really solid fighter.

    • Yeah I’m with you on that, not played on my Vita so much in ages. We need some TSA meets setting up.

      • Totally agreed – For what at first glance seems to be a button masher, I’ve not seen such depth/difference in the various characters. It’s a joy to fall in love with a character (and their Level 1, 2 and 3 specials) – thinking you’ve found THE character, only to try another and see the advantages/disadvantages.

        I can already see that this will keep me coming back, at least to try every character (something that I’ve not done in a fighting game for a good decade), and then there’s the multiplayer – which I’m REALLY struggling with. I can see that I can improve, but it’s going to take some mastering. The fact that your opponents are so random and varied makes each fight a strategic gamble.

        On the downside – I’m exploiting the whole Cross-Buy offer – and I think it needs to be further thought through. The temptation to use the code for my Vita, knowing that few people have one, and then resell the PS3 version (still with unused Network code) was too great.

        Cross-Buy is an excellent feature – combined with PlayStation Plus seems to me to be THE best advert for getting a handheld device ever concocted. Millions of gamers have a PS3… some will have PS+, some will buy Cross-Buy enabled games… they’re basically wasting functionality by not also purchasing a Vita – soon enough that critical mass will tip the scales for a proportion of gamers.

        But… they really should combine the Network Code and the Vita download in one. Otherwise there’s only playing on a big screen and Cross-Play features to encourage people to keep both the PS3 and Vita versions.

  2. Who knows? Its a mystery because I was expecting to chart a lot higher. Maybe there’s too many larger releases. Or maybe it’s a bit ‘niche’ looking so people pass on it.

  3. It’s simply not interesting. “Me too” products are not what I want or need from Sony.

    • +1

      • Very productive comment, thank you for your insight!

      • I don’t really get the issue with +1 on this site. It does add insight. It means he feels the same way. If he’d have written “this is also the same reason for me” then you wouldn’t have said anything, yet it means the same thing and would have taken him longer to write, would’ve meant you didn’t waste time with your reply, and I didn’t waste time with this reply.
        +1 can be insightful, plus it saves a lot of time.

      • In fact, perhaps we should start embracing +1. Since we can’t have the “like” button, if we all did +1 after comments we like, Tef could easily reintroduce his comment of the week feature in the community chronicle :-)

      • +2

    • +1

      • someone had to do it, and its an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by

      • +1

  4. “but perhaps the lack of visible scoring is a problem”

    This is only a problem in 3 minute timer matches. In Stock or Kill based matches you can see the exact score you need. The game also makes more much sense when you play using those settings.

    2v2 with first to 5 kills is infinitely more fun than FFA 3 minute timer. I’m not sure why Sony only showed FFA 3 mins. It’s the least entertaining and the most confusing. 2v2 with stock of 3 lives is also a lot of fun. Again, don’t know why Sony didn’t show these modes.

    Even ranked matches use the 3 min formula. You can only customize games that make the game fun by doing player matches. I don’t get why they did that.

    • 2v2 stock sounds like a lot of fun, I hope my copy arrives tomorrow.

      • I played online with a few people for over 3 hours yesterday. One of the guys is a tournament organizer in Florida that hosts one of the bigger fighting game events of the year. The other guy was the community manager over at Namco.

        The framerate in the stream is a bit choppy at times (something I plan on fixing soon). But it should give you an idea of what the game is like. It’s a hell of a lot more entertaining I think.

      • FWIW I like the game.

      • Video won’t work on my phone, but it sounds like a good time!

  5. It’s only been out, what, three days? Give it a fair chance before gunning it down. It’s a new IP and somewhat of a niche title, like Smash Bros it’s the sequels that’ll really make an impact as it’s then more known.

    • All new games are based on their opening weekends though. I get your point, of course, but it’s hardly encouraging.

      Maybe people didn’t even know it was out.

      • I have LBP Karting and I still don’t know that it’s out lol

      • It’s not, but there’s a lot of competition this time of year, perhaps it shouldn’t have been pushed back, or been pushed further. Let’s hope sales pick up over December.

      • This is true but some titles are slow burners and this could easily be one of them. It’s a shame to think it’s being swallowed up by the busiest period of the year – let alone up against the juggernaut franchises like COD, etc.

        Only the salmon that jump highest get caught by the bear come feeding time*.

        *Mike’s Useless Analogies™

  6. I expect that it didn’t chart well as every parent or potential buyer is getting it for Christmas and we’ve all been given years of experience in buying games now that even the people who aren’t ever going to be on a gaming website know that it’s best to leave buying a game till late as they will almost always drop in price and make their Christmas money go a bit further.

  7. Big Boys playing Big Boy systems no what a fighting game is and what a party game is. And Big Boys might play party games, but they sure as hell don’t want to be the one who buys them.

    • That’s untrue, big boys have no problem buying party games. Young teens do, ’cause it “ain’t cool”.

      • This must be true: he said “ain’t”!

  8. Nobody wants to play it. That’s the problem.

  9. The power of Peter. Sony can advertise all they want but if Peter isn’t buying it, neither is Joe Public!

  10. it should climb over xmas I hope because it is bloody good, I’m not that keen on fighting games but this game is really fun.
    going to try it on my Vita later.

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