Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS sold through just 89,000 copies in the U.S. in March 2009, far below analyst estimates.
According to NPD numbers revealed to Gamasutra, the DS debut of the GTA franchise significantly underperformed even the lowest analyst estimates for the month.
The game did not appear in the NPD Top 10 for the month, meaning that it sold less than 205,000 units -- ultimately, though, its U.S. debut was less than half that predicted by EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich.
At the time, Divnich believed that sell-through of 200,000 would be disappointing in itself, explaining: "With the majority of publishers currently taking a risk-adverse stance, we expect this to slow the growth rate of future mature rated titles on the DS."
As a comparison point, the EEDAR analyst noted: "Previous GTA titles on the PSP have sold in excess 1 million units lifetime... The performance on the DS highlights clearly the demographic differences between the two platforms in the handheld market."
But with the actual game sales even lower than Divnich expected -- and massively lower than the estimates of Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter, who suggested that Chinatown Wars might sell as many as 450,000 units for the five-week month of March -- this may be considered a disappointing result for high-quality M-rated titles for Nintendo's handheld platform.