Super Smash Bros.Brawl and the fanboys

In February 2008 the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (SSBB) on the Wii was being treated by some sectors of the game playing community as if it were the second coming. They were little short of hysterical about how this was the greatest thing ever and how it would dominate the market for the year.

Against this background I wrote an article on here putting SSBB into context. It is a truly excellent game (currently it is the fourth best Wii game on Metacritic with 93), which is something that gaming always needs. And though I said it would be massive I said that it would not be one of the biggest games of 2008, just like Super Mario Galaxy (metacritic 97) hadn’t been one of the biggest games the year before, and for the same reason. The Wii is mainly owned by very casual game players and SSBB is a game for serious game players. So there is a mismatch of the game against the owners of the platform it was on.

I went on to say that many gamers games on the HD consoles would do better than SSBB on the Wii and that casual games, such as Wii Fit, would do better than SSBB on the Wii. In fact I said that Wii Fit would still be in the charts long after SSBB was forgotten. All this was sensible analysis based on my knowledge of the market and experience.

The article set off an amazing tirade of abuse from the fanboys. The article received vast numbers of comments from them, most of which were personally rude and abusive towards me. Obviously I deleted them. But I left a lot of the non abusive comments for posterity just so people can see how misguided fanboys are. The ignorant abuse wasn’t limited to here, it was elsewhere on the interweb. Just look at this thread on VGChartz for example.

But now it is nearly a year later and we can look back at what actually happened in the market. I was right and the fanboys were wrong. In the UK all formats chart for the year SSBB only managed to come 36th. And like I said would happen it was beaten by lots of gamers games on the HD consoles. GTA IV at number 3, for instance. And the casual games on the Wii massively outperformed SSBB. Mario Kart at number 2 and Wii Fit at number 5 for the year, for example. And as I pointed out, these casual games keep selling for far longer, Wii Fit is currently the number one best selling game in the UK.

So the fanboys have egg all over their faces. Will they be contrite and apologise for their abuse? Will they revisit their thread on VGChartz to say how wrong they were? Hardly likely, is it?

The fact remains that the Wii is a brilliant toy and so the vast majority of its users are casual, but when it comes to serious gaming the Xbox 360 is by far the best console, with the PS3 also being significantly better. And you don’t have to take my word for it, just look at what the serious gamers on rllmuk forum are saying.


  1. Only using UK figures is cherry picking numbers. SSBB has sold over 8 million copies worldwide (official Nintendo figures as of 31st september 2008 had it at 7.47 million) so I wouldn’t it as failure. Even Gears of War 2 has sold much less copies than SSBB. I could say with your logic say that Halo 3 is failure by using Japanese charts where it only sold 100k copies. And even GTA4 only sold 300k copies there (PS3 and 360 versions combined).

    Ok, you are right, GoW 2 and SSBB are both failures and there were no big successes on 360 last year.

  2. Not only does Bruce’s argument depend on ignoring worldwide sales of SSBB, it also requires Mario Kart Wii to be arbitrarily designated a casual game.

    Both are games full of cartoon characters, focused on multiplayer and accessible to anyone over the age of three, and are part of franchises that have received strong commercial and critical receptions over multiple generations of hardware. So why is SSBB “hardcore” and Mario Kart “casual”? Is it the plastic wheel?

  3. Indeed, combined sales data released this morning suggests that SSBB was the 4th-biggest selling game in the world last year. The only “HD gamer’s game” to beat it was GTAIV, with the other slots above it in the chart taken by Wii Fit and Mario Kart.

    So, sorry Bruce but it looks like the fanboys were right on this occasion.

  4. It was still only 36th best selling in the UK, where I am.

    I suspect that the world figure was influenced a lot by Japan, not the biggest readers of these articles.

  5. Besides the fact that Super Mario Galaxy was a November release so it had 1,5 month to be one of the biggest game in 2007… I could say that Halo 3 was a failure cause looking at the Japan data it only sold 100.000 copies… But I won’t cause that would be cherry picking data…

  6. lol, you never fail to amaze.

    As pointed out you are clearly misrepresenting the sales numbers. Wii Fit was the only ‘casual’ game to beat SSBB. GTAIV only beat it due to being on multiple consoles and Mario Kart is not a casual game by any means.

    You are the one who needs to eat crow. Also, what will you say later this year when new ‘gamers games’ become multi-million sellers and topping the best games on PS360.

    Madworld, The Conduit, and many others are coming…

    Face it. Wii is the PS2 of this gen. It has loads of casual games simply because it has by far the largest marketshare. 2009 and beyond will also see Wii take all the ‘gamers games’.

    Here’s to missing your crazy theories on vgchartz.

  7. So Bruce, rather than cherry picking data to try to convince people that you’re awful prediction wasn’t as bad as it was, why don’t you just admit that you were wrong?

    Seriously, anyone who can’t admit that a game that sold more than 8 Million units worldwide (of which over 6 Million are outside of Japan and continues to sell tens of thousands of units worldwide every week a year after it was released) was one of the biggest games of the year is not thinking rationally.

  8. Wow you are a funny one. Why don’t you revise this page with worldwide numbers and then see who has egg on their face. Face the fact that it sold very well worldwide and even though it may have sold well in Japan it still sold unlike games on the HD consoles. Cherry picking numbers to suit your article just to have another go at the Wii will make you look foolish. Vgchartz has it at 8.25 million sales and GTAiv is at 6.82 million for 360 and 5.4 million for the PS3. Shows how well it has done compared to what many people were calling the game of this gen.

  9. The biggest sales of SMBB was in America, not Japan, and it sold pretty well outside of UK in the PAL regions as well, as far as I know, UK is the only place where the 360 is selling well in Europe so I’m not surprised that you’d want to do comparisons like these, but unfortunately, looking at things at a non-global perspective during this day and age is very outdated and ignorant hence why your article is flawed and not actually useful to anybody. UK is after all, not the center of the world, perhaps a refreshing way to look at the world is needed on your part.

  10. In 2008, Super Smash Bros Brawl sold approximately 4.5 million copies in North America, making it the fifth best selling SKU in that region. It trailed only Wii Sports (11.4m), Wii Play (6.1m), Mario Kart Wii (5.5m), and Wii Fit (4.9m). It outsold all 360 and PS3 SKUs, including GTA IV, Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty 4, and Gears of War 2.

  11. Firstly let’s look at the real NPD figures for the USA instead of the VGChatz guesses:
    Game Software (in units sold)
    1) Wii Play with Wii Remote (Wii, Nintendo) – 5.28 million
    2) Mario Kart Wii (Wii, Nintendo) – 5 million
    3) Wii Fit (Wii, Nintendo) – 4.53 million
    4) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii, Nintendo) – 4.17 million
    5) Grand Theft Auto IV (360, Take-Two) – 3.29 million
    6) Call of Duty: World at War (360, Activision) – 2.75 million
    7) Gears of War 2 (360, Microsoft) – 2.31 million
    8) Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, Take-Two) – 1.89 million
    9) Madden NFL 09 (360, Electronic Arts) – 1.87 million
    10) Mario Kart DS (DS, Nintendo) – 1.65 million
    Please note SSBB came 5th when you add in the formats.

    Then let’s look at the original article:
    And you will see that I was a lot more right than I was wrong:
    I said it would be massive.
    I said GTA IV would beat it (though not by as much as I thought, that 18+ must bite).
    And I said that Wii Fit would beat it (though once again not by as much as I thought, largely because it was supply constrained).

    Obviously SSBB did amazingly well for a serious game on the Wii. But my point remains that HD serious games and Wii casual games can and will beat a serious game on the Wii, all other things being equal. This is because a large number of the total installed base of the Wii are very casual “toy” users. Nobody can deny this.

    Also if you look back to the launch of SSBB, the fanboys were whipped up into a frenzy that this would be the best selling game of 2008. And they poured abuse on anyone who questioned this. Yet they have been proven wrong and have egg on their faces. My predictions were far more accurate than theirs, as you would expect.

    And, finally, all the above is for the USA. The UK is now the second biggest market for video games in the world. And here SSBB came 36th. Doing far worse than even I expected. And I live here.

  12. I’m quoting you: ” GTA IV will sell several times as many as SSBB. And by the end of the year there will be many HD titles that feature on the annual charts ahead of SSBB.”
    How many HD titles worldwide???
    1 GTA4… the game you said: “going to transform the balance in the market strongly in favour of the HD consoles.”

    Let me quote you again:
    “I think many commentators are underestimating how big the shift in the balance of power will be with GTA IV.”

    You underestimated SSBB and overestimate GTA4.. just admit it…

  13. I have already said that GTA IV outsold SSBB in America (only) by less than I expected. Please read what I write. But it still outsold SSBB by over a million copies when all the fanboys said SSBB would come out on top. They were wrong.

    And the failure of more HD titles to outsell is largely down to the failure of the PS3 in the market during 2008. I didn’t factor in that Sony could make such a complete mess of things.

    And this is the end of me wasting my time with fanboys on this subject. So I am not going to approve of any more comments on this article.

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