One year ago, I was telling you how the success of Professor Layton had been slowly waning. True, the first one was a major hit, and the series still belong to the high-seller club. But the transition to 3DS has obviously been difficult.
Having launched with 3DS in Japan, Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles (5th of the series) suffered from Nintendo’s failed strategy at that time. Vgchartz estimates that it sold only half of The Last Specter and Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney low initial sales suggest a downward trend in its home market. The game does seem to have legs but is likely to remain below the average of both series. The Mask of Miracles benefits from a cheaper digital version on the e-shop to gain further sales. Nothing at stake though, because the upcoming 6th installment will be the last one.
However sad it wight be, our time cracking Layton’s cases are soon over. The latest game didn’t drive hardware at all in the US, as sales are as poor as last year. In Europe, the series’ biggest market, the 5th Layton did only one third of what The Last Specter sold during the Christmas period. Everywhere and although it remains one of the biggest games on the system, the Layton series keeps losing ground.
It can mean only one thing : casual gamers that had come on board with DS haven’t upgraded to 3DS. To this audience, Professor Layton as well as video games were no more than a fleeting trend in which there is no reason to invest 170€ again. For their kiddies, the obvious choice will be mario. Layton’s misfortune illustrates how difficult it has become for Nintendo to go beyond mario. Nevertheless, Satoru Iwata is aware of that and seems ready to tackle the challenge of diversity. The large promotion campaign around Fire Emblem and future releases such as Project X Zone or Rune Factory 4 tend to show that guenuine efforts are being made.
That leaves only faithful fans of the Professor, who buy all the games day one and are craving for more. Let’s hope that PlvsAA and the 6th Layton at least cross the borders and reach them.