THQ delivered its first-quarter earnings report yesterday after the stock-market close, and as expected, UFC 2009 Undisputed was the main topic of discussion.
Here's what we learned:
1) Undisputed has sold 2.9 million units to date, echoing recent statements made by Lorenzo Fertitta. The game was the best-selling video-game title in the June quarter.
2) THQ is taking the UFC franchise to new gaming platforms including handheld ones, and possibly the Nintendo Wii. I personally feel the PS2 would make much more sense because of its huge installed base and the fact that third-party Wii games are a total crapshoot.
3) Just 30% of Undisputed sales were to international markets (Canada probably did well here), vs. about 50% for THQ's WWE franchise. Given the UFC's efforts to expand internationally, that 30% figure should grow significantly.
All in all, it's obvious that the UFC is THE hottest game franchise in the sports category. EA will have an awfully tough time coming up with something to match the UFC/THQ juggernaut, especially if the UFC signs some of the better free agents out there.
It's also worth nothing that the impressive 84 Metacritic rating given to Undisputed could go up next year - further boosting sales. This year's game was impressive but there is plenty of room for improvement by cleaning up the interface and menu systems, further finetuning the gameplay, and adding new fighters and features.
For example, it would be awesome to connect with other gamers online the day of a pay-per-view event to play through that night of fights. THQ could post the results to see how the results of simulated fights compared with the real ones. I'd also love to see a reasonably-priced WEC add-on, fighter entrances, more classic fights, and maybe even a Pride mode (not holding my breath on that last one).