Don’t get me wrong; Maggie Q is absolutely gorgeous and is a great actress, although I see her more often in American films than Asian ones in the more recent years, and has done more spokesperson and modeling lately. But trying to gain market share with Need For Speed: Undercover in Asia? Come on.
Here’s the thing: there are several franchises of racing games that dominate the racing markets in Asia — none of them owned by EA, as far as I can tell. If you’re going to break a market, the best way is to either take something that a hot racing series in Asia (Initial D) and play off that, or you become the publisher of an already hot racing title (Gran Turismo) and you kick it up a notch.
I think the biggest mistake made here by EA Asia head Jon Niermann is assuming that using American tactics of playing up a hot Asian star will actually sell the item in whatever Asian market they’re targeting. That’s not the case in China, since they’re numero uno in pirated goods and Maggie Q is more of a Chinese action star than Japanese so it’s not there either, although I’d assume that the big console gaming market would be in Japan. Why an American guy is heading an Asian operation isn’t making sense to me; it wouldn’t worry me if it weren’t for the fact that this guy just isn’t understanding the Asian gaming market.
Just my own thoughts, but every single racing game on the console side that has been super popular in Asia has always had their beginnings on a Japanese publisher: Ridge Racer and Gran Turismo come to mind since those are the ones that still hit it big in the Akihabara District.
Maggie Q might be enough to break into the video game market, but somehow I would put my money on other franchises before Need For Speed: Undercover. It’s not that it’s a bad franchise, but I think that it’d be better suited here in the United States and will actually perform better in sales here than in Asia regions.