When I was collecting data for my sales analysis of 2011, I came across the sales of the Professor Layton series. I was shocked (and sad) at the sight of a collapse I certainly wasn’t expecting.
The series loses ground at every iteration in every region. It drops like a rock in the United States, where to the 4th episode only sold 150’000 : 7 times less than its European sales in less time! Did Mario and Kinect games make Americans so stupid that they can’t even solve a puzzle? The situation so critical that Nintendo didn’t even mention Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles in its 2012 3DS schedule.
This 3DS Layton game also marks a decrease in sales for the series in Japan : trapped in the initial line-up, it hasn’t benefited from the surge in 3DS hardware sales during the holidays. Like most of 3rd party games on 3DS, it suffered from the domination of the Mario games. Smartphone should be part of the explanation as well : many of those who started gaming with “The Curious Village” will have switched to this more economical way to entertain themselves when commuting.
However, the very existence of the series shouldn’t be at risk, because of still excellent overall sales. The Professor is not likely to know the same fate as Phoenix Wright, also because the two brightest intellectuals of the DS will soon create a united front to end this downward spiral.