OPINION: Slump? Tell that to Red Dead

Rockstar Games must have missed the memo that the games market is supposed to be struggling.

In the face of a heatwave and miserly customers, the firm this week shifted hundreds of thousands of Red Dead Redemption to secure the biggest opening of a single game so far in 2010.

And despite fraught relations with one super-sized retailer and a shortage of copies on PS3, it notched up over 10m in two days. Impressive.

In fact the game was in such demand that within hours of going on sale it had sparked crazy shopfloor rumours that stock was scarce due to a sunken cargo ship.

Ridiculous-sounding, of course, but it became so widely spread that I imagine punters imagined it was Niko Bellic himself blowing the boat up before escaping in a helicopter.

RDR’s success shows that Rockstar, and parent Take-Two, isn’t just a GTA one-trick pony – and that even in this climate big hits can still surprise.

However, Rockstar’s style and adult-only content is unique to it and no one else – and its success is shared only with retailers.

Glance over the sales figures for the other games available last weekend, both new and established releases, and you see there’s plenty of pain others are feeling. I expect there is a lot of frowning going on at every publisher that isn’t Rockstar Games.

Hopefully this is just momentary gloominess. Certainly, RDR’s blockbuster arrival suggests sunlight is starting to break through the clouds.

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