Homefront sells 375K copies in its first day in North America plus some analysis of the data

by: Chuck -
THQ announced that Homefront sold 375,000 in its first day in North America (the game goes on sale in Europe later this week).  I'm guessing the announcement was to assuage some of the fears that caused the stock price of the company to drop 25% earlier this week when the reviews of the game weren't as positive as people hoped.

Jeremy and I have both posted our thoughts on the game and while it's not the AAA blockbuster a lot of people were expecting (largely due in part to the massive hype machine THQ cranked out for the game) it's important to note a few things:
  • It's insanely difficult to launch a new IP, especially in the FPS genre which is flooded with high end games and category leaders.  It's not fair to compare Homefront to Call of Duty:Black Ops as Black Ops is the seventh iteration of the Call of Duty franchise.  Sure the game has a few issues but honestly in some ways it's as good as the game from Treyarch put out last year and the plot is certainly more coherent than what we saw in Modern Warfare 2. A better comparison might be made to Uncharted which while solid in its first outing had a few plot issues but did very well in its second outing.
  • The current Metacritic score for the game is right around 74 or so.  That's not that bad of a score for a brand new IP.  I'm sure the folks at Kaos and THQ want to see something around 90 or so but for a brand new IP that was clearly rushed to market that's a fairly solid number.   The funny thing about the stock price dropping on the perceived "low" Metacritic scores is the fact that there are multiple studies that show that Metacritic scores have little impact on sales.  
  • It's now time for THQ and Kaos to sit back and make sure the multiplayer servers stay up while they wait for the sales numbers to come in over the next few months.  I would hope that Kaos is already working on the design documents for Homefront 2 with an eye to what they missed in the first game.  Given the budget and scope of the game I would estimate they are going to have to sell around 1.5M to 2M copies of the game to make green lighting Homefront 2 a slam dunk.  If it's between 1M and 1.5M then I think THQ will have to determine if this is a franchise they want to lose money on to build up and if it's lower than 1M than I think we've seen the last of Walker and the Montrose resistance.
THQ ANNOUNCES ROBUST FIRST DAY NORTH AMERICA HOMEFRONT™ SALES
Company Adds Dedicated Server Capacity to Meet Strong Multiplayer Demand
AGOURA HILLS, Calif., March 16, 2011 – THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced that first day sales of Homefront™, its thrilling first person shooter with outstanding multiplayer, approximated 375,000 units in North America. The game is scheduled to ship in Europe and Asia Pacific throughout this week.
”Homefront’s excellent multiplayer experience, combined with our commitment to dedicated servers, make this a must-have purchase for gamers,” said Danny Bilson, EVP Core Games, THQ. “Due to the strong and growing demand for Homefront’s multiplayer, we continue to add dedicated server capacity. We are confident that the large-scale multiplayer maps featuring 32 players, vehicles, infantry and drones, will continue to be a major draw for the huge audience of FPS gamers looking for a new experience over the coming months.”
“We are delighted with first day sales for Homefront and are already fulfilling re-orders for the game from multiple retailers,” said Brian Farrell, THQ President and CEO.

About Homefront
2027. A once proud America has fallen, her infrastructure shattered and military in disarray. Crippled by a devastating EMP strike, the USA is powerless to resist the ever expanding occupation of a savage, nuclear armed Greater Korean Republic.
Abandoned by her former allies, the United States is a bleak landscape of walled towns and abandoned suburbs. This is a police state where high school stadiums have become detention centers, and shopping malls shelter armored attack vehicles. A once-free people are now prisoners… or collaborators… or revolutionaries.
Join the Resistance, stand united and fight for freedom against an overwhelming military force in Homefront’s gripping single player campaign penned by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn). Stand alongside a cast of memorable characters as an emotional plot unfolds in this terrifyingly plausible near-future world. Experience visceral, cinematic first person shooter action as you fight your way across Occupied USA using guerrilla tactics, and commandeer military vehicles and advanced drone technology to defeat the enemy.
Multiplayer brings epic warfare to the online arena as infantry, tanks, attack helicopters and combat drones battle across huge, open battlefields. A rich feature set offering layers of tactical depth combined with game-changing innovations like Battle Points and Battle Commander set a new benchmark in online warfare.

For more information on Homefront, visit Homefront-Game.com, or follow the resistance at Facebook.com/Homefrontgame or Twitter.com/Homefrontgame.

About THQ
THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) is a leading worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. The company develops its products for all popular game systems, personal computers and wireless devices. Headquartered in Los Angeles County, California, THQ sells product through its global network of offices located throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. More information about THQ and its products may be found at www.thq.com. THQ, Homefront and their respective logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of THQ Inc.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts may be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the business of THQ Inc. and its subsidiaries (collectively referred to as “THQ”), including, but not limited to, expectations and projections related to the release of Homefront and the multiplayer servers, and are based upon management’s current beliefs and certain assumptions made by management. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, business, competitive, economic, legal, political and technological factors affecting our industry, operations, markets, products or pricing. Readers should carefully review the risk factors and the information that could materially affect THQ’s financial results, described in other documents that THQ files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal period ended March 31, 2010, and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and particularly the discussion of trends and risk factors set forth therein. Unless otherwise required by law, THQ disclaims any obligation to update its view on any such risks or uncertainties or to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.  
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