Tag Archives: NPD

SuperData June Numbers see the Return of WoW

As we near the end of July SuperData Research has their monthly digital revenue chart for June available, so it is time to take a look at that.

SuperData Research Top 10 – June 2019

On the PC end of the chart some things stayed the same when compared to April and May.  Basically the top five titles remained in the same order.  The “LDFCF” remains solid.  Repetition is dull though, so the interesting part is slots 6-10.

World of Tanks, which seems to live in the 6-8 range, popped up one place to 6th as sales of Total War: Subsided.

In 7th position we have the return of World of Warcraft… or World of Warcraft West… what ever that means in the reporting sense.

WoW had gone missing from the chart in April and May, helping to cement speculation that the Battle for Azeroth expansion had been less than a success with the player base.  Even from where I sit it is hard to deny that mistakes were made.  But for June it is back.

Was that because the long awaited 8.2 patch and the ability to unlock flying in the expansion had finally arrived?  Did the approach of WoW Classic and the load tests get people to re-up?  Or did Blizz fiddle the numbers in April and May so that other titles from its stable would get attention?  One notable thing about those two charts is that WoW went away and Hearthstone appeared one month and Overwatch the next.  Blizz controls the data that is released on revenues, so this could have been an attempt to show they are not still just a one product company.  Or maybe not.

In 8th place if newcomer FIFA Online 3, followed by perennial bottom of the list contender DOTA 2, and Roblox, which pops onto the list every now and then, taking 10th place.

And, to quickly summarize, Fortnite and FIFA 19 maintained their spots at the top of the console chart, with GTA V continuing to place mid-pack (expect it to pop next month with the new casino update for online), while Pokemon Go, with anniversary celebrations kicking off in June, made it to 2nd on the Mobile end, up from 7th, while Candy Crush Saga fell from 2nd last month to 4th in June.

Basically I want to get back to PC topics and bring up an Overwatch revenue tweet from SuperData earlier this week that gave us the revenue build up for the game over its three years since launch.

Overwatch in-game spending

Leaving aside box sales, which I am sure followed the usual pattern of an early spike followed by a low rumble afterwards, Overwatch has successfully crossed the billion dollar mark.  That is a hell of an achievement.  It is interesting to see the PC side lead the console side by what looks like a ratio of 3 to 1.  I wonder if that also happens to represent the breakout of the player base.

But I am also reminded that WoW had multiple consecutive billion dollar revenue years over its life and, were Blizz to break out the numbers, I would bet that it is still good for more than half that much revenue during an expansion year and not a ton less for an off year.  The subscription model is still pretty good when you can make it work.  Or, if you don’t want to go that route, you might need to sell champions like League of Legends, which still surpasses a billion annually selling those and skins.

Again, Overwatch is a big success, but you can kind of see why it only makes the SuperData chart on rare occasions.  It stands among giants.

On to other things… like the NPD chart for June.  As always, the NPD chart combines PC and console titles, covers US domestic sales only, and is both retail and digital, but both categories are not available for everything on the list, as noted below.

  1. Super Mario Maker 2*
  2. Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
  3. Mortal Kombat 11
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Minecraft
  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  7. Marvel’s Spider-Man
  8. NBA 2K19
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. Days Gone

*No digital data

The thing to note this month is how bizarrely different the two sets of charts are.   We can discount the digital titles that NPD does not appear to be getting data from, which is pretty much the entire PC column.   The only overlap is GTA V, NBA 2K19, and Days Gone, all like from console sales, and they aren’t even ranked in the same order.

Meanwhile, SuperData is clearly not getting data from Nintendo or, if they are, then digital sales are not as big on the Switch as they are on other consoles.  But the Switch is definitely on its own plane of existence.  Maybe they’re what is keeping GameStop alive these days.

For EEDAR’s social media impressions League of Legends fell off the list completely, with the top spot taken over by Fortnite, followed by Grand Theft Auto V.  The rest of the list included CS:GO, Overwatch, and MinecraftDOTA 2 also fell off the list this month.  Social media impressions do not correspond to sales, but are a measure of how much hype and talk games are getting on the various social media services.

Finally, news items included with the SuperData monthly report:

  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has one of the best launches in genre history. We estimate Crash Team Racing sold 552,000 digital units worldwide in June despite launching late into the month, marking the second-best launch month of any racing game on console, behind Ubisoft’s The Crew 2 in 2018. Digital sales were likely boosted by the above-average download rates seen so far this year but also point to the sustained popularity of the Crash Bandicoot IP.
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege‘s player base is as strong as ever. June was Rainbow Six‘s best month for Monthly Active Users and sixth-best month for in-game spending on the back of the Operation Phantom Sight update, despite the title being well into its fourth year. Total in-game revenue rose to $36.8 million across console and PC in June, an increase of 50% from May and 9% from June of last year.
  • Overwatch surpasses $1 billion from in-game spending. Blizzard’s MOBA shooter became the 64th game on either console, PC or mobile to generate over $1 billion from in-game content alone. Overwatch is also Activision Blizzard’s sixth IP to hit this mark, after World of WarcraftCall of DutyDestinyCandy Crush and Hearthstone.
  • Publishers are experimenting more with steep discounts. As the free-to-play business model continues to take mindshare in the industry, publishers seem more open to significantly lowering unit prices for catalogue AAA franchises in order to expand the player base. EA’s Sims 4 and Take-Two’s NBA2K19, two franchises that benefit immensely from add-on content purchases, both saw huge spikes in unit sales after prices were brought down below $5.

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.

I Like Lists… Yahoo Has Lists…

So let’s visit Yahoo.

Or Yahoo!, as it is correctly written I suppose.  I always leave out the exclamation point.

Yahoo seems to have some sort of list in its top stories on the main page.  Things like Signs You’re a Green Hypocrite and such.  But once in a while something related to video games makes an appearance.

There were two such lists in the last week that I thought were interesting.

The first was the Most Overhyped Video Games of All Time.

You’ll have to go read their criteria and such, but the list was:

  • Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (1982)
  • Diakatana (2000)
  • Enter the Matrix (2003)
  • Star Wars: Galaxies (2003)
  • Killzone (2004)
  • Wii Music (2008)
  • Too Human (2008)
  • Spore (2008)

I like this list for a few of reasons.

First, I bought that horrible, horrible version of Pac-Man on the Atari 2600.  I saved my money and spent it on the game.  $30 was some serious money back then.

It was so bad.

It was so very bad that we cannot let go of the disappointment almost 30 years later.

So bad that it is blamed for hurting the video game market.

So bad that it even has it’s own sizable entry on Wikipedia.

I think that game broke my relationship with the 2600 for good.

Then there is Star Wars Galaxies there in the middle.  An MMO that isn’t Warhammer Online being tarred with the hype brush.  Well, that is refreshing!  And SWG being called out for something besides the NGE!  It is a two-fer!

And Wii Music.  I’ve already been down on Wii Music Not sure how the hype really was, but the game itself… rubbish.

Finally, Spore.  So much hype.  So much copy protection.  Such a “meh” game.  Even the Zero Punctionation review of the game was probably the most mild review Yahtzee has ever done.

Still, is that really the definitive list of most overhyped games?  I mean sure, Duke Nukem Forever didn’t make the list, having never actually shipped, but I’m sure there must be some other worthy titles out there.

The other list that caught my eye was the Top Selling Video Games of 2010 so far.

I immediately took to this list because its focus was only titles that were released in 2009 and 2010, so the whole thing wasn’t weighed down by the various boxed versions and expansions for World of Warcraft and The Sims.  Or maybe it was just a consoles only list.  They didn’t say that anywhere… in fact they were pretty sparse on the parameters… but these titles don’t totally go against what you see elsewhere.  Have Sims sales dried up?

Anyway, the list for this year, so far:

  1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
  2. Pokemon SoulSilver (DS)
  3. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)
  4. God of War III (PlayStation 3)
  5. Wii Fit Plus (Wii)
  6. Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
  7. Pokemon HeartGold (DS)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360)
  9. Just Dance (Wii)
  10. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

My first reaction was, “Wow, that is a lot of Nintendo focused titles.”

Club Nintendo Indeed!

Nintendo seems to own us with 7 of the 10 titles on that list.  At least only two of them are Mario.

That was quickly followed by “Wow, that is a lot of Pokemon!”  If they hadn’t split them out, combined Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver would have been on top.

And then, I started to wonder how soon StarCraft II would break into that list.  According to that other source I linked, it is closing in on the Top 20 world wide, is already in the Top 20 in the Americas, and has the usual Blizzard momentum behind it.