It's being widely reported that Activision's highly anticipated new game, DJ Hero, undersold in it's first weeks on the market. Ars Technica has a pretty good explanations as to why DJ Hero failed to move many units, despite overwhelming positive reviews and press.
What happened? Activision Blizzard spent a mint promoting the game, including hiring big-name producers and DJs to hype the release, as well as bringing in Jay-Z and Eminem to perform at a star-studded concert at E3. The game had strong early buzz, and it could still be a slow-burning hit. Our guess, though, is that you're looking at an expensive flop of game. Why did a title with so much going for it miss the mark in sales so spectacularly? Read Article
One thing the article doesn't address is that perhaps DJ Hero didn't spend enough time and outreach on the organic DJ culture that exists in this country. Sure, they paid some of the top earners, like Z-Trip and DJ Shadow, to be a part of the game, but Activision's real media buy seemed to center around TV ads featuring Jay-Z and Eminem (two acts who have very little actual connection to DJ culture) in a cynical bid for mainstream appeal.
At my publication, URB.com, we've spent decades immersed in DJ culture, and we know the far too familiar feeling of anticipation followed by disappointment when DJing can't equal rapping or rocking in terms of mass appeal. Next up will be the declarations that DJing is dead, usually from the same folks who proclaimed it the "next big thing--again." I've grown to cherish this semi-outsider status. We will survive and thrive. And DJ Hero will probably be huge in Europe.