Activision has insisted Bizzare Creations' recently released racer Blur was not a commercial flop, despite disappointing US sales.
The publishing behemoth also revealed that Freestyle's peripheral music title DJ Hero, which many consider to be a commercial failure, has sold an impressive 1.2 million copies to date.
Blur sold 31,000 copies in the US in May, although it had only been on sale for five days at the end of the month.
"The audience was split three ways," Activision's Dan Amrich said in a blog post.
"Blur came out a week after Split/Second and the same day as ModNation Racers. I'm not sure what your budget looks like, but I can rarely afford to buy three games in eight days - nor do I have the time to play all of them at once anyway."
Amrich described NPD's sales data for May, which only represents one week in the month, as "very outdated".
"Blur shipped 25th May in the US, 28th May in the UK. Since the June data is not yet available (and won't be for a few more weeks), we are looking at one week of sales and no international data."
Amrich likened Blur's sales performance to DJ Hero's, a game he said benefited from a "long tail".
"While big sales out of the gate are always preferred, a slow first week no longer means a death sentence. A perfect example: DJ Hero was dubbed a flop on its release too, but what it needed was time for its audience to find it, a price break, and positive word from both friends and reviews to circulate. October and November were soft, but after the holiday, DJ Hero had hit about 800,000 units; today it's 1.2 million units and counting, all of which come with a turntable controller. That's not a flop; that's the long tail at work.
"So to suggest a game is a failure because it didn't sell hundreds of thousands of units in its first 168 hours is pretty ridiculous. June's data will be very interesting to see, and I don't expect to hear much about any victories it might represent, since it's a less sexy story than 'Blur failed in week one'. Bad news travels fast."
He added: "For what it's worth, I played Blur a fair amount this weekend, both PS3 and 360, and it was smooth sailing for me. I have never logged on and found less than several hundred players in the lobby, eager to race. Hundreds to thousands of people playing online every day, stable servers, positive reviews…folks, this game is not a failure, and it's an irresponsible disservice to use that word to describe Blur. All it's really guilty of is coming in third in a three-way race. And that was just the first lap."
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