Despite the number “4” in its title, Just Dance 4 has been one of the top sellers this holiday season, and Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key believes that luck has nothing to do with that.
“Traditionally, that older male is the bread and butter of the industry and so many games are targeting that demographic, and we target it too, but if you want to do something different, find blue water and take risk, you have to think a little differently,” he explained.
“Things like Just Dance don't come around very often, but at the end of the day, it takes tremendous effort to reach that non-standard audience. We have to spend considerable time with retailers for people who are not explicitly looking for games, so you have to reach outside the game industry to be successful. You have to have visible PR at Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien and Ellen DeGeneres for that outer circle of gamers, people who don't hear about games until they've released. This is the fourth try in keeping Just Dance relevant and we think we've gotten pretty good at it.”
But that’s not that different from what Activision with its Guitar Hero franchise which reached the epitome of fame for a short while before crashing and burning. Needless to say, Key had that example in mind when he authorized the development of yet another Just Dance title, but he believes that “Not publishing Just Dance 4 would be leaving money on the table... we believe in it and we feel like there's no reason we shouldn't do it.”
“So it's about annualizing it. It's about making it the top dance game for yet another year. [Just Dance is] a reflection of what's happening in pop culture - as it evolves, so does the brand. Just Dance always has the best new music every year.”
"I would rather not compare it to Guitar Hero; Just Dance is about the latest trends, and Guitar Hero is about great classic rock. I'd rather compare it to a sports franchise - every entry evolves the franchise and changes the roster, and that's what Just Dance does, and every year we're successful. It's not burnout we're worried about and we put a lot of work into keeping it fresh. It's more a console tradition now and we're the number one selling game on Kinect. So long as motion control is used on consoles, I think there's a place for Just Dance.”