Prey Fails to Reach Number One Spot Following Bethesda’s Strict Review Policy

Prey debuted behind Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in its launch week, with Arkane’s spiritual successor to the 2006 game of the same name charting at number 2 in the UK sales chart.

With Prey being a multi-platform title launched by Bethesda, one of the gaming industry’s biggest publishers, many expected more from the sci-fi game, with it failing to take the top spot in its release week. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Switch remaster of the 2014 Wii U game, has instead managed to remain at the top of the charts despite it only being released on one platform, while Prey launched on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

It has been suggested that Prey‘s failure to reach the top spot is an unfortunate side effect of Bethesda’s strict review policy, with the publisher having announced last year that it would no longer send out pre-release review copies to media outlets. While the policy didn’t hinder the success of games such as Skyrim Remastered, as Prey was a lesser known release it seems that the lack of buzz for the game leading up to its launch has stifled its sales.

Also: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Frustrating Multiplayer Suggests Nintendo Isn’t Ready To Sell a Paid Online Service’s Christopher Dring tweeted that MK8 had bested Prey by 600 copies, meaning that the difference between the two game’s sales was slight, but will still likely disappoint Bethesda. Considering that Prey didn’t have much else in the way of competition in terms of new releases, with only Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy also making its debut this week in the number 31 spot, more attention being placed on the game prior to its release would have likely bolstered its sales. However, the lack of pre-release copies ensured that the press had little to talk about prior to its launch, limiting the amount of coverage it received.

Most of the major outlets should publish their Prey reviews this week, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will belatedly impact the game’s sales and help carry it to a successful second week. However, Prey‘s struggles in its first week indicate that while prohibiting press access to their games may help Bethesda prevent negative coverage, it also significantly decreases the amount of attention their games will receive. While this likely won’t harm well-established franchises such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, which are popular enough that they can succeed regardless of their pre-release coverage, for games that aren’t as well established it may hinder their sales.

(H/T Chart-Track)