Interview: Ubisoft's Key Talks Just Dance 2's New 5M Unit Milestone

Ubisoft's Just Dance 2 for Wii has sold through 5 million units -- it's now a 10 million-unit brand overall, and the company's Tony Key tells Gamasutra why Ubisoft's betting on dance games as "the new face of the music genre."
Just after Ubisoft revealed its Michael Jackson: The Experience game hit 2 million units, it's achieved another milestone: Just Dance 2 for Wii has sold through 5 million units, and the publisher says it's got a dance game boom on its hands. After just 10 weeks, Just Dance 2 has become the Wii's highest-selling third party game, Ubisoft SVP of sales and marketing Tony Key tells Gamasutra. "Clearly, people have discovered the Just Dance brand," he says. "Just Dance, Just Dance: Kids and Just Dance 2 sold 10 million copies in 2010 all on Wii only, which makes it the third-biggest [game] brand globally of 2010" after Call of Duty and FIFA, he adds. "The accessibility of the game has really brought tons of new consumers into the market," Key says. And games made to be played with more than one person have a natural advantage, he continues. "That automatically generates more demand for the product, because every time you play the game with other people, they want to go buy a copy instead." Key admits it's interesting to see this type of explosive success for a motion-controlled dance game on Wii -- just as the other consoles are rolling out their own motion control solutions at last, and now that Harmonix's Dance Central is fast becoming the toast of Microsoft's Kinect. "This is a game that requires motion control; the Wii was just the perfect platform for it," says Key. "We are going with dance on the other platforms; we just announced yesterday that Michael Jackson: The Experience is coming to those platforms. And we've seen some competitive titles on Kinect doing well." "Clearly, motion gaming and dance go hand in hand, and this dance category is bigger than people realize," he adds. "We've struck a nerve with our Just Dance brand, we extended it with Michael Jackson and we feel like we can even be much bigger than this." The room for growth, Key points out, comes from the fact that thus far Just Dance has done such strong numbers all on one platform, proving there's still room for big third-party success on Wii. "It's a nice surprise for the industry as a whole, I think," says Key. "And I believe we drove hardware sales." Key says Ubisoft doesn't expect to automatically forge the same kind of brand victory on Kinect and Move, but says there's plenty of opportunity in the booming dance category for everyone. "We think the sky's the limit in the dance category," he says. "We do anticipate competition, because we've proven that this is a great market to be in, and we welcome it because we think there's a lot more business to be done in the dance category." "This is the new face of the music genre," he adds.

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