And The Sims Shall Continue to Rule Them All

I haven’t seen an Entertainment Software Associate sales chart in a while, so I was keen to see their new 2015 Essential Facts publication that includes a couple such charts.  The big news, The Sims still dominate the chart when it comes to PC gaming.


The Sims and a few of the usual suspects

The Sims and a few of the usual suspects

Yes, the source is NPD, whose data collection has flaws.  But some data is better than no data I guess.  They say they are better at collecting data on digital distribution in any case.

Blizzard is pretty well represent, with World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III all hitting the charts for both base games and expansions.  And you can see the hole that The Elder Scrolls still has on gamers.  It is also nice to see Civilization V on the list.  But 8 out of 20 on the list for The Sims is pretty funny.

On the console list, which holds less interest for me, I will note that Mario Kart 8 made the cut for the Top 20, which I am going to guess means that every single Wii U owner bought a copy.

And then there was how we buy games.

Digital vs. Physical

Digital vs. Physical

Digital sales are clearly the bigger slice of the pie now, though if you look at that footnote as to what counts as digital, that casts a pretty wide net.  For what NPD counted, physical still looks like a force that cannot be ignored.  I guess GameStop won’t be going out of business any time soon.

Anyway, the report is an interesting little glimpse at video games in 2014.  Game Informer sums it up if you don’t want to look at the PDF.

11 thoughts on “And The Sims Shall Continue to Rule Them All

  1. carson63000

    The ongoing massive Diablo III sales continue to provide a massive slap in the face to the hardcore forum whiners who STILL sometimes insist that nobody likes it, and the only reason it sold any copies at all was Diablo II fans who didn’t realize how bad it was going to be, and WoW subscribers who got it for free with an annual sub.

    This entertains me mightily.

    It’s interesting to see that 2014 was the first year that they reckoned more digital sales than physical. Personally I haven’t bought a physical game in a box since WoW’s Wrath of the Lich King expansion in November 2008.

    I have to say, though, it’s a little depressing to see a top 20 list with one lone, solitary new game (Titanfall) on it. Very Hollywood. Moviegoers get sequels and remakes, gamers get sequels and expansion packs and bundles.


  2. carson63000

    Sorry, also meant to say.. The Sims occupy 8 of the top 20 slots.. and yet the accepted wisdom in MMORPG design is still that sandbox games MUST include extreme hardcore full-loot PvP, because nobody wants to play a sandbox where you just build things. Amusing.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Carson – Plus, if you look at the console charts, there is Minecraft. I am not sure if the PC sales are being tracked, but the PlayStation and Xbox360 sales are.

    Also, Skyrim is kind of sandbox-y in its way, right? Sure, you kill things, but totally solo.


  4. mbp

    What is this 2001 all over again? Where is Age of Empires 2 and Medal of Honor Allied Assault?

    It looks to me as if they got a very lopsided view of the digital download market. Have they talked to Valve? Amazon? Gog?


  5. dachengsgravatar

    I was surprised to see that there was absolutely no overlap between the top 20 computer games of 2014 and the top 20 video games of 2014. Surely Minecraft, for instance, was bigger on the PC than on gaming platforms?


  6. SynCaine

    My guess is the computer sales numbers are mostly garbage, likely because Valve didn’t share with NPD. Wonder if other sites like GMG, GoG, etc did, guessing no. Seems the major sources are the old-timey ones they normally get, like EA and Activision (check page 15), which explains the chart looking so off. Also we know the biggest game out right now is LoL, but that doesn’t have a box price, so it doesn’t make the list. Pretty silly to put together a list of top sellers and leave off so many games that most gamers are actually playing (LoL, DOTA2, CoC, etc).

    The video games chart looks more accurate, and I’m guessing that is because the normal sources of info NPD gets (Gamestop, basically) still give them a fairly valid picture.

    Also all of the trending data in the report is based on a survey of 4000 people, which isn’t tiny, but also isn’t quite that broad either.


  7. SynCaine

    Oh and Carson, I believe per the last Activision earnings report, D3 isn’t that huge in terms of sales anymore, which further drives the point home on how silly the chart really is.


  8. kiantremayne

    What intrigues me is seeing Elder Scrolls Online at number 4 and Wildstar nowhere in the top 20. Both were selling through physical as well as digital channels, at least here in the UK. Possible conclusions are 1) the data is garbage, 2) ESO actually did a lot better than the haters wanted to admit, at least in terms of initial box sales (which suggests the B2P move was driven by retention issues, not poor up-front sales) or 3) Wildstar’s performance really sucked out of the gate.


  9. wowstorylines

    I’ll happily admit that I am one of those people that plays Sims when I want a break from World of Warcraft. It’s a nice change of pace and….more importantly sometimes, a pause button. :D


  10. SynCaine

    @Kian – I’ve always been under the impression that ESO sold a TON of boxes, that was never the problem. I’m not even sure the overall population was a problem, I think they retained ‘enough’ people to keep going. I think the console release, more than anything, is what caused the business model change. I suspect if ESO was PC-only, it would still be a sub MMO.


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