Daily Archives: April 16, 2008

How Cooking Mama pwnd Middle-earth

There is this list, a list of the top 100 games sold over the last year, and there isn’t a single MMO on it.

How could this be? I had to find out the details!

So I followed the trail of links back to original article.

I first saw it on Massively, which linked back to Joystiq, which lead me to Next Generation.

There I found the actual list of 100 games, plus the details about how the list was compiled.

And, as usual, the devil is in the details.

First, the list is for game sales between March 1, 2007 and March 1, 2008. Fine, I can go with that.

But then, the list is also restricted to games that were actually RELEASED between March 1, 2007 and March 1, 2008.

Ah, ha!

So, the list really isn’t the Top 100 best selling games of the last year.

Sorry Blizzard, Burning Crusade didn’t make the cut.

Not that I will cry too many tears for Blizzard. Do they need to be at the top of another list?

(Somewhere Brad McQuaid is saying, “Hey, if we’d delayed a little longer, we might have had a shot!” No Brad, go back outside and play.)

So within that time frame, the number of massive titles is pretty sparse. 2007 was the year of postponement for MMO titles.

Still, there were some titles that had some potential to make the list.

Pirates of the Burning Sea was in the right time frame, if a bit late in the 12 month cycle. Judging from the recent server merge news however, where they are reducing from 11 to 4 servers, I am going to guess that they weren’t in the running.

Then there was Tabula Rasa. It did not make the list either, but it got a bit of a lukewarm reception at launch as well, so that wasn’t a big surprise.

And, finally, there was the real contender, the high point of 2007 as far as massive games went, Lord of the Rings Online.

It got excellent reviews and has a strong following compared to any subscription MMO other than WoW.

LOTRO just had to sell 490,000 copies to make the list.

And it failed.

So the bottom positions of the list contain titles with mediocre reviews like Naruto: Ninja Council 3, NASCAR 08, and Cooking Mama: Cook Off, console titles all.

So what does it mean?

The death of PC gaming? (*ducks rock thrown by Darren*)

The ascendancy of consoles?

The failure of MMOs to attract the mainstream?

That goofy search criteria (games both released AND sold during a given time frame) make for goofy results?

That NPD sales figures, which do not count electronic sales or some major retailers (Um, Wal-Mart?) are completely flawed?

Next Generation, in a follow up to this list, has their own analysis of the data, available here.

In reading their analysis, I think the real meaning might be summed as, “Don’t pan for gold in the shower,” to borrow a line from Scott Adams.

Or more specifically, don’t go looking for PC MMO news on a site that seems to only care about console games.