Monday, April 14, 2008

Aussie Game Charts

These come out every week, of course, but people I talk to always seem surprised to find that what's selling in Australia isn't matching up with what they expect to be selling.

So for the week ending April 6, as reported by Gamespot:

Top 10 Full-Priced Games (Australia)
1. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, PlayStation 3
2. Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?, Nintendo DS
3. More Brain Training from Dr Kawashima: How Old Is Your Brain?, Nintendo DS
4. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock double pack, Wii
5. Transformers: Decepticons, Nintendo DS
6. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Wii
7. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Nintendo DS
8. The Sims 2: Castaway, Nintendo DS
9. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, PlayStation 3
10. Sight Training: Enjoy Exercising and Relaxing Your Eyes, Nintendo DS

So - what's selling? Mainstream. What's selling? Casual. What's selling? Licensed. And, speaking broadly, for Nintendo systems. To the best of my knowledge, the only reason GT5 is at the top is it just came out late last week - the rest of those games you'll note have been on shelves for a while now. In the case of Brain Training, for more than a year.

If you look back over Aussie game charts for the last - oh, three years - it's pretty much the same story. What Australia wants to buy is Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, The Sims, and anything reasonably casual-friendly released for the Nintendo DS. Driving games typically do well, and Aussie sport games make a showing, as do the WWE franchise wrestling games.

Just a little reminder that almost the entirety of what we think of as gaming is better characterised as "niche or fringe gaming".


Tom said...

Fringe gaming? Well there's some truth to what you say, but only some. Sales aren't the only measure that is relevant. Games like Counterstrike: Source still have an enourmous active userbase, but are barely represented at all in games sales these days.

Some game genres have much greater planned redundancy than others, and lend themselves to future sales. The fact that these games are getting the sales doesn't mean that others aren't just as culturally significant.

Greg Tannahill said...

I'm not talking culturally significant; Citizen Kane remains an incredibly cinematically significant movie, but I'd guess that less than 5% of people in the West today have actually seen it.

I'm talking money. And money talks, and money dictates what new games are going to be made. If you're not where the money is, then you're not going to be the favoured child of the industry. You're the fringe.

And the "enormous active userbase" of Counterstrike: Half-Life 2 sold around 5 million copies. The Orange Box sold a few million more. Doubtless there are a significant number of illegal copies out there, but let's say there are maybe 8 million people in the world who could possibly own Counterstrike, of which let's be generous and say half still play.

So that's less than WoW's active userbase of 10 million (userbase, not sales - WoW sold a million units in its first month), which in turn is less than Maple Story's reported (although somewhat suspect) userbase of 71 million.

The Guitar Hero franchise by contrast had sold 14 million units as at Jan 08 in North America alone, not counting downloaded songs, and remembering that a Guitar Hero unit may or may not include the guitar peripherals which also sell at a profit.

And let's not talk about how frikkin' massive the money train from The Sims has been...

Lel said...

....and lets not talk about how much bigger it's going to be once Sims 3 comes out in 2009.

I shudder to think.