• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • The Politics forum has been nuked. Please do not bring political discussion to the rest of the site, or you will be removed. Thanks.

Xbox Live Arcade SalesGAF Thread Jan / Feb 2013 Of Lets Do This Thing!

So for the past few years you guys might have seen all my XBLA sales analysis stuff over at Gamasutra and some other places.

Unfortunately I'm not getting paid to write my analysis stuff anymore which is a bit sad (I'm still looking though) but in the meantime I thought I'd give this a shot -- straight-from-the-mouth XBLA leaderboard statistics! So instead of writing a lengthy analysis, we can just discuss some of the numbers among ourselves.

So I kept getting XBLA stats throughout January just in case something came up. In the case that it didn't, here are those statistics!

January 2013



Notes:

- Only 2 new releases this month
- Only game I could follow - Retro City Rampage. Wasn't a big hit.
- Both got "Meh" reviews.
- The Cave seems to be doing very well for itself. Despite no numbers, the second week of release had it at 3rd in most downloaded, just behind Trials and Minecraft. See the February numbers.



- Minecraft continues to dominate.



- XBLA DLC continues on as per usual.



- These are the two published "Top 20 XBLA games" lists from Major Nelson.
- Retro City Rampage started at 6th place, dropped to 11th in the second week.

So that's all cool, right? But now here's what I want to do -- have a monthly topic on XBLA stats where I can post the latest of everything as soon as I get it!

So we're two weeks into February right now, and this is what we have so far:

February [So Far]



- Skulls of the Shogun came out with great reviews, but seems to not be selling.
- Skulls' leaderboards are based only on XBLA, not Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. Going to assume those are all worse?
- Team X Special came out and it's gotten poor reviews, very few sales.

LIVE Activity for week of January 28th

1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
2. Trials Evolution
3. The Cave - (2nd week of release)
4. The Walking Dead
5. Castle Crashers
6. Trials HD
7. Shank 2 - On Sale
8. NBA JAM: On Fire Edition - On Sale
9. Skulls of the Shogun - New Release
10. Pinball FX2
11. Sonic Adventure 2
12. NFL Blitz - On Sale
13. Fruit Ninja Kinect
14. Shank - On Sale
15. Peggle
16. Magic 2013
17. Counter-Strike: GO
18. Warp - On Sale
19. Family Game Night - On Sale
20. REAL STEEL

- The Cave Selling Well
- Skulls hitting 9th on release week
- EA Sale

LIVE Activity for week of February 4th

1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
2. The Walking Dead
3. Trials Evolution
4. Hydrophobia - On Sale
5. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare - On Sale
6. Castle Crashers
7. The Cave
8. Trials HD
9. Pinball FX2
10. Earthworm Jim HD - On Sale
11. Dragon’s Lair - On Sale
12. Special Forces: Team X - New Release
13. Sonic Adventure 2
14. Orcs Must Die! - On Sale
15. Fruit Ninja Kinect
16. Peggle
17. NBA JAM: On Fire Edition
18. Magic 2013
19. Worms 2: Armageddon
20. Skulls of the Shogun (2nd week)

- Hydrophobia selling well on sale.
- Skulls almost out of the Top 20.
- Special Forces: Team X starts at 12th place. Not so good.

That's it for now, but when I get the newest numbers for that week, I'll post them in here. I'm basically hoping to conjour up some more discussion about digital distribution sales and how things are going throughout the year. Hopefully it works!

Let me know what you think!
 

Kifimbo

Member
Jun 9, 2004
11,367
0
0
Hope Retro City Rampage did better on PSN/Steam because those sales are pathetic.

Skulls of the Shogun sales are worse. Much worse. Because the game is exclusive to Microsoft, and not on Windows 7. That game bombed. Hope they got a good deal from MS, because 17-bit won't get a lot of money from sales. Fucking Team X Special had a better first week.
 

Leflus

Member
Jun 4, 2011
3,164
0
0
I'm feeling bad for not buying Retro City Rampage or Skulls of the Shogun, but I can't justify buying every interesting XBLA-game on day 1 anymore. I'm knee-deep in Spelunky at the moment, and I have a number of other XBLA games(Mark of the Ninja, Renegade Ops, Trine 2 etc.) in my backlog.

The worst part is that I'll probably buy them when they go on sale, thus increasing my backlog even more.
 

LorDjidane

Member
Nov 2, 2010
1,954
0
560
Grenoble, France
I'm feeling bad for not buying Retro City Rampage or Skulls of the Shogun, but I can't justify buying every interesting XBLA-game on day 1 anymore. I'm knee-deep in Spelunky at the moment, and I have a number of other XBLA games(Mark of the Ninja, Renegade Ops, Trine 2 etc.) in my backlog.

The worst part is that I'll probably buy them when they go on sale, thus increasing my backlog even more.

Same here. No reason to buy a 1200 MSP game day one anymore. With the previous sales of the past couple months, I got 10 games in my backlog. I have enough to play while waiting for eventual price drops on other recent interesting games.

BTW, Minecraft numbers are killing me.
 

Saty

Member
Sep 4, 2009
7,403
0
0
Great topic.

Minecraft does in average week more than MOTN life-to-date, and in 2 weeks more than FEZ's LTD.
 

Gowans

Member
Sep 28, 2006
21,039
1
0
South Shields, UK
twitter.com
I wonder if gen fatigue, XBLA saturation and backwards compat worries have slowed down purchases.

Mulitplat games may get hit be multi console owners hoping they go for free on PSN+.

XBLA is looking dire at tho mo.
 

Goldenroad

Member
Jun 14, 2012
8,421
0
0
Canada
Well...I've got 1200 points, guess I'll buy Skulls.

I don't get how Trials Evo ended up selling less than half of what Trials HD sold. Who could have possibly played HD and not ended up wanting a sequel?
 

Noogy

Member
Jan 5, 2009
3,095
0
0
noogy.com
Sorry to hear you won't be paid to do anymore of these Rlan, I've always found them very interesting (as a gamer and developer). Here's to hoping that you'll be able to continue these analyses in some form.
 

PAULINK

I microwave steaks.
Sep 13, 2010
12,844
12
930
Home
Well...I've got 1200 points, guess I'll buy Skulls.

I don't get how Trials Evo ended up selling less than half of what Trials HD sold. Who could have possibly played HD and not ended up wanting a sequel?

That would be me. Didn't really enjoy the game, just felt really stressful.

Anyways, I'm surprised that Happy Wars is not on the top 20 activity list for the past 2 weeks , what an entertaining free to play game that's been sucking out all of my time for the past 2 days.

Edit: Is it not counted because it is f2p?
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,337
3
0
Thames Ditton, UK
Well...I've got 1200 points, guess I'll buy Skulls.

I don't get how Trials Evo ended up selling less than half of what Trials HD sold. Who could have possibly played HD and not ended up wanting a sequel?

It hasn't really ended up selling less, it's just been out for like three years less, and HD has had loads of discounts.

Anyways, I'm surprised that Happy Wars is not on the top 20 activity list for the past 2 weeks , what an entertaining free to play game that's been sucking out all of my time for the past 2 days.

Edit: Is it not counted because it is f2p?

Yeah, it's only the retail games that are measured by "activity," the XBLA and XBLIG stuff is just measured by how many people buy it. In Happy Wars' case, that's none!
 

OldJadedGamer

Banned
Feb 28, 2006
18,281
0
0
CVG
That would be me. Didn't really enjoy the game, just felt really stressful.

Anyways, I'm surprised that Happy Wars is not on the top 20 activity list for the past 2 weeks , what an entertaining free to play game that's been sucking out all of my time for the past 2 days.

Edit: Is it not counted because it is f2p?

Did Happy Wars ever get fixed?

Hope Retro City Rampage did better on PSN/Steam because those sales are pathetic.

The demo was pretty boring IMO.
 

jlh

Member
Jun 9, 2004
241
0
0
I hate that Skulls has been pretty much completely overlooked even though it's one of the best games released on XBLA over the last six months. I hate to say it but MS has done a really awful job promoting it. I would have expected that since it is their big push to get people gaming across all three of their platforms they would have stepped up the advertisements. Skulls should still be featured prominently on the dashboard instead it's nowhere to be found.

They have got to do a better job with XBLA next gen or everything they have built will be for nothing. The game should have launched at 800 MSP and they definitely need to put a system in place where if you buy it once you can play it on every platform. And you would think that someone would say let's feature this game in a DOTW right now to get some interest going. DOTW has been crap for so long with the same shit discounted every month when they have tons of XBLA games that need a push to sell.
 
Brian Provinciano, aka Retro City Rampage developer, tweeted this to me:

@rlan2 See, good thing it was multiplatform. It's sold far, far better on each PlayStation and Steam than XBLA

@BriProv - @rlan2 MS screwed me around left and right for years, and in the end gave it the worst release date of the year. Their loss.

@nrxic - @BriProv @Rlan2 Why did you even bother with an XBLA release?

@BriProv - @nrxic @Rlan2 a *LOT* of money was spent on the XBLA version. More than all other platforms combined. Didn't want it to go to waste.

@rlan2 I feel very bad for Skulls. This is exactly why you can't cave to MS's heavy handed XBLA exclusivity.

@ckrawl - @BriProv @Rlan2 how has steam been treating you guys sales wise

@BriProv - @ckrawl Sold far more on Steam than XBLA. Sold far more on PlayStation than XBLA. Exclusivity benefits only MS.
 
Rlan, is something similar possible on PSN/Steam/eShop ?

Not really. I used to be PSN ones with kassatsu, but it was almost impossible.

The main reasons being:

- Leaderboards are not a mandatory (or more mandatory) thing on PSN than XBLA.
- All XBLA games have demos, which are the same file with locked off content, so I can check those leaderboards.
- A lot of PSN leaderboards have horrible limitations, like "Top 1000" and that's it.
- With fewer demos I need to get DLC codes for a lot of those games, and it's hard to do now without a website. It's why I got kassatsu to help :p

eShop almost have no leaderboards or very limited ones, Steam does weird things I think with that stuff, not sure.
 

Goldenroad

Member
Jun 14, 2012
8,421
0
0
Canada
It hasn't really ended up selling less, it's just been out for like three years less, and HD has had loads of discounts.

Good point, but I kind of feel like if they can't move it in the next 18-24 months, people may have moved on from the 360 by then. That inevitable end to the XBOX Live marketplace is probably one of the reasons why we are seeing Arcade titles slow down. I mean, why would a developer release a game through a distribution system which might only be around for the next 2 years or less? That certainly limits long term sales potential.

I think high quality Marketplace releases have dropped off for the reasons above, and that leads me to strongly believe that no XBLA games are going to be available to play or download on Durango. If that's the case, I think it's a horrible business decision, but I really hope I'm wrong.
 

jlh

Member
Jun 9, 2004
241
0
0
RCR on PSN has 142,538 on the leaderboards atm if people were wondering

Which is one of the reasons that MS have got to go with a PS+ style setup next gen. They are seriously shooting themselves in the foot and turning developers off left & right. Steam works, PS+ works and at the moment XBLA (unless it's Minecraft or Castle Crashers) doesn't work.

How many developers in the future are willingly going to sign exclusive deals with XBLA knowing that MS will do virtually nothing to promote the game?
 
Which is one of the reasons that MS have got to go with a PS+ style setup next gen. They are seriously shooting themselves in the foot and turning developers off left & right. Steam works, PS+ works and at the moment XBLA (unless it's Minecraft or Castle Crashers) doesn't work.

How many developers in the future are willingly going to sign exclusive deals with XBLA knowing that MS will do virtually nothing to promote the game?

Technically they are, but they don't "feel" free in the same way PSN+ does.

Take Happy Wars for example -- it's free, right? Free for everyone? Well sure, but you need a Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online. Bam!

I bet we'll see more freemium games coming out of XBLA that are entirely multiplayer focused and that's your "free game" set.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,710
0
0
I hate that Skulls has been pretty much completely overlooked even though it's one of the best games released on XBLA over the last six months. I hate to say it but MS has done a really awful job promoting it. I would have expected that since it is their big push to get people gaming across all three of their platforms they would have stepped up the advertisements. Skulls should still be featured prominently on the dashboard instead it's nowhere to be found.

They have got to do a better job with XBLA next gen or everything they have built will be for nothing. The game should have launched at 800 MSP and they definitely need to put a system in place where if you buy it once you can play it on every platform. And you would think that someone would say let's feature this game in a DOTW right now to get some interest going. DOTW has been crap for so long with the same shit discounted every month when they have tons of XBLA games that need a push to sell.
Skulls did better than I expected. Strategy is a tough sell on the home consoles. It would have done a lot better on Steam though.

Did Happy Wars ever get fixed?
How was it broken?
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
4
0
Rlan,

Your tweets to the RCR developer reminded me of something I was thinking of a while ago. Although dev's aren't (and can't be) forthcoming about overall sales numbers, they generally have no problem discussing relative positions of platforms.

I think it would be interesting to try to contact as many devs as possible to figure out, particularly for games that are on 360, PS3, and Steam, which platforms are doing better. I mean, prevailing sense would say that Steam is doing better right now, but I'd be interested in titles with longer legs like Braid. Castle Crashers is obviously doing the best on PSN, but how many others? Gripshift probably?

It'd be nice to get as many as possible on record.
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,337
3
0
Thames Ditton, UK
Brian Provinciano, aka Retro City Rampage developer, tweeted this to me:

It's impossible to compare those numbers. It released on XBLA far later, and when it released on XBLA it was already free on PlayStation (or it had been announced that it was coming) and so sales were bound to be lower. It had also emerged by then the game sucked, whereas original purchasers were able to go in blind.

Not that it might not have still sold like shit on XBLA anyway, but it's still completely meaningless data as it is.

Skulls did better than I expected. Strategy is a tough sell on the home consoles. It would have done a lot better on Steam though.

It's on Windows 8 and Windows Phone too, not sure if the leaderboards are for all three but I'd assume they were. I certainly thought it'd sell better on Windows Phone where there are just bugger all games whatsoever.
 
Rlan,

Your tweets to the RCR developer reminded me of something I was thinking of a while ago. Although dev's aren't (and can't be) forthcoming about overall sales numbers, they generally have no problem discussing relative positions of platforms.

I think it would be interesting to try to contact as many devs as possible to figure out, particularly for games that are on 360, PS3, and Steam, which platforms are doing better. I mean, prevailing sense would say that Steam is doing better right now, but I'd be interested in titles with longer legs like Braid. Castle Crashers is obviously doing the best on PSN, but how many others? Gripshift probably?

It'd be nice to get as many as possible on record.

I did this a couple of times, but usually I just didn't get a response. There are some that are easy to get if I asked (mostly indies). I'd love to know stuff like Walking Dead numbers per platform, or at least where it all stands.
 
Jul 31, 2011
1,028
0
0
It's on Windows 8 and Windows Phone too, not sure if the leaderboards are for all three but I'd assume they were. I certainly thought it'd sell better on Windows Phone where there are just bugger all games whatsoever.
Windows 8 leaderboards are self contained. They are not global, you are only compared to your friends. There would be no point showing your stats to people on XBLA but not you.
 

toythatkills

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,337
3
0
Thames Ditton, UK
Windows 8 leaderboards are self contained. They are not global, you are only compared to your friends. There would be no point showing your stats to people on XBLA but not you.

Weird, I thought you were meant to be able to play on XBLA then switch over to the phone and then back, etc., so I assumed leaderboards would talk between all the platforms.
 
Jul 31, 2011
1,028
0
0
Weird, I thought you were meant to be able to play on XBLA then switch over to the phone and then back, etc., so I assumed leaderboards would talk between all the platforms.
You can do that, sure. Windows 8 games don't seem to have the ability to post to a global leaderboard however, either that or no developer has taken advantage of it. Every Windows 8 game I have played has only allowed you to compare your scores to your friends. Also, traditional multiplayer isn't possible, which is why Skulls of the Shogun only features asynchronous multiplayer on W8, instead of real time (like on XBLA).

The Skulls of the Shogun developers post here, so maybe they could shed some more light on it and the sales figures.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,710
0
0
It's on Windows 8 and Windows Phone too, not sure if the leaderboards are for all three but I'd assume they were. I certainly thought it'd sell better on Windows Phone where there are just bugger all games whatsoever.
It might in terms of attach rate but you have to wonder how many people even bothered with Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. MS's smartphone market share dropped down to 2.9% after W8 Phone launched. OS sales are obfuscated by how the PC manufacturer licensing agreements work.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
4
0
I did this a couple of times, but usually I just didn't get a response. There are some that are easy to get if I asked (mostly indies). I'd love to know stuff like Walking Dead numbers per platform, or at least where it all stands.

I think Telltale said iOS was #1 for The Walking Dead, but yeah I'd like to see breakdown beyond that. Pity no one responded. I think the figure would even be interesting if they were reported in aggregate (IE 30 titles XBLA best, 8 titles PSN best, 41 titles Steam best) without a data breakdown; maybe the promise of the title's identity being anonymous would encourage responses?
 
The problem is there is a lot of shit on these services these days, and there are sales every week. The people who buy these games regular have become conditioned to just wait on a sale for anything they're half-interested in.

Stuff like RCR is just poo, plus it came late, so I'm not surprised it did horrible.
 
First update!



Notes

- I didn't realize January was a "leap month", which meant the NPD gave my first week to January instead of February. The stats are updated because of this.

- I couldn't follow YuGiOh: DD Plus because of limited leaderboards, but it's also a really weird release. It somehow goes OVER the original? I don't even understand it.

- Two releases, Virtual On and Virtua Striker, were Japan only, and don't have any leaderboards we can use for analysis. The only leaderboards are for online battles, which Virtual On has 719 and Virtua Striker has... 25. Hmm.

- The guys at Mojang also gave me some additional numbers -- sales data for the Minecraft Skin packs, for which there are three. Put together the packs have sold 3,897,594 copies total. Wow.
 

Gaspode_T

Member
Jan 18, 2011
3,018
0
0
I had an argument with this guy YEARS ago about needing to promote XBLA more and his answer was something like "a single map pack for any of the popular FPS games generates more revenue than the highest selling XBLA game" - the comment made me cry myself to sleep and still does. I don't know if it was exaggeration but I am guessing no...

For what it is worth I think Minecraft is the one game that proved the formula wrong and hopefully it opened the eyes of upper level managers...
 
I had an argument with this guy YEARS ago about needing to promote XBLA more and his answer was something like "a single map pack for any of the popular FPS games generates more revenue than the highest selling XBLA game" - the comment made me cry myself to sleep and still does. I don't know if it was exaggeration but I am guessing no...

For what it is worth I think Minecraft is the one game that proved the formula wrong and hopefully it opened the eyes of upper level managers...

The thing is a lot of developers and publishers just dump stuff on these services and expect them to sell. That isn't how it works.

Somebody like Undead Labs is doing it the right way, IMO. They post stuff regularly to their site regarding development of the game, have a forum that they actually converse with folks in, post regular screenshots, talk to folks on Twitter etc etc. They're actually trying to nurture some kind of a community before the game comes out.

I've lost count the number of times a game is just dumped on XBLA then you find the developers website, twitter page etc and it's just abandoned.

PlayXBLA pisses me off, to be honest, because the idea behind the site is sound - it's basically an official version of XBLAFans. The problem is the site, Twitter, Twitch etc is run horribly and they hardly ever engage with the audience.
 

mclem

Member
Jan 16, 2007
42,664
4
1,190
For what it is worth I think Minecraft is the one game that proved the formula wrong and hopefully it opened the eyes of upper level managers...

I think basing any strategy on Minecraft's performance is inadvisable; at the moment it does seem to strike me as entirely its own phenomenon, I'm not sure you can map its success onto any other game other than one that's a similar phenomenon, and I'm struggling to think of any that would fit the bill.
 
The thing is a lot of developers and publishers just dump stuff on these services and expect them to sell. That isn't how it works.

Somebody like Undead Labs is doing it the right way, IMO. They post stuff regularly to their site regarding development of the game, have a forum that they actually converse with folks in, post regular screenshots, talk to folks on Twitter etc etc. They're actually trying to nurture some kind of a community before the game comes out.

I've lost count the number of times a game is just dumped on XBLA then you find the developers website, twitter page etc and it's just abandoned.

PlayXBLA pisses me off, to be honest, because the idea behind the site is sound - it's basically an official version of XBLAFans. The problem is the site, Twitter, Twitch etc is run horribly and they hardly ever engage with the audience.

Agreed. The PlayStation Blog has become something incredibly useful for Sony in terms of getting developers at least the spotlight to chat about their game. PlayXBLA, alongside the Major Nelson Blog, are so amazingly inferior.
 

Slate Soda

Member
Jul 3, 2010
8,764
0
0
I've never even heard of Skulls of the Shogun until maybe when it came out. I really had no interest in it; the "boxart" does it no favors. Since I'm hearing good things about it here though, I'll check it out.

Is Earthworm Jim HD worth it? I'm thinking about picking it up after having limited experience with the original.