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Analysis: Top 10 PlayStation Network Titles For April, 2009
Analysis: Top 10 PlayStation Network Titles For April, 2009
May 26, 2009 | By Ryan Langley

May 26, 2009 | By Ryan Langley
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More: Console/PC



[In his regular, in-depth look at PlayStation Network sales data, Ryan Langley of GamerBytes examines the Top 10 selling North American PSN titles of April 2009, from Rag Doll Kung Fu through Flock and beyond, to find out what flew and what fell to earth.]

While the NPD Group may release retail sales data for North America, at GamerBytes we take a look at what they don’t cover – the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.

This time round, GamerBytes has exclusively been given the Top 10 selling PlayStation Network titles in North America for April 2009, information not provided by Sony's Pulse show on PSN this month as normal.

April was privy to three new PSN game releases for digital PlayStation 3 download – Rag Doll Kung Fu, Comet Crash and Flock.

In addition, a number of strong debuts from earlier in 2009 and some perennial chart contenders have turned up to battle it out for the top PSN games -- which Sony releases a ranking but no specific purchase numbers for.

In this analysis, we'll look to see how well each title did, see which March games were able to hold on, and determine what trends this downloadable space might be adhering to.

Here's the North American Top 10 for PlayStation Network games on the PS3 for April 2009:

toppsnapril09.png

Rag Doll fighting fit, Flock Less So?

As you can see, Rag Doll Kung Fu hit the top of the Top 10 list, and many gamers were excited to see a game originally developed by the LittleBigPlanet developers come to the PlayStation Network. Enthusiasm for the title seems to have overcome customer issues such as the lack of an online mode.

We'll probably see it do even better in May, since there was a major U.S. giveaway of the game in association with advertiser Sprint, in which the title was downloadable for free for a limited time.

Proper Games and Capcom's Flock, on the other hand, did not make the Top 10 at all. This is just how the Xbox 360 version fared, which did not hit the Major Nelson Top 10 at all. Capcom did quite a lot to get PlayStation owners interested, with the release of two exclusive demos via the Qore video magazine, as well as releasing a demo alongside the game, but it does not seem to help its first-month sales that much.

However, Comet Crash fared better than Flock, landing in 6th place. This indie Tower Defense title has done roughly as well as Savage Moon did two months ago. While we're not expecting it to last long on the charts, it’s nice to see a game with very little buzz find its niche on PSN, and hopefully it will continue to sell solidly.

Wheels Continue To Turn

Wheel of Fortune has continued to sell well since its March 2009 release, only dropping to third on the charts. While the game is a relatively expensive title at $14.99 compared to most, keeping momentum like this is relatively impressive and unexpected, showing the value of more casual brands on PSN.

After two months of being at the top, ThatGameCompany's Flower has begun to climb down the charts, dipping to 4th place. In addition, the perennial Mortal Kombat II continues to sell far beyond expectations and has not moved from its place in the charts, still staying at 5th place - and showing the benefits of nostalgia.

Further down, Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty appears once again, despite the price going back up to $14.99 from its brief $9.99 sale. Notably, the first Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time trailer was released at the end of March, so continued sales could include gamers getting ready for the next chapter.

Worm and Burn

The very end of March saw the release of Burn Zombie Burn and Worms, but only Worms made it to the charts - taking second place. Team 17's Worms has been a gigantic hit on the Xbox Live Arcade and has continued to be in the XBLA Top 10 since its price drop, and despite Worms PSN coming out at the higher price of $11.99, it didn’t seem to stop it from selling.

Doublesix's Burn Zombie Burn not charting is quite disappointing, as it was an exclusive title that did well in reviews. Luckily, even if it does not do well in the long run it will at least make its money back – Burn Zombie Burn was the first title to be a part of the Sony’s Dev Fund program, allowing those developers to have their development costs paid by Sony (as an advance against royalties) if published exclusively for the PlayStation Network. The game may have also done better in Europe, as developer Doublesix were quoted as being “delighted”, overall, with the sales of Burn Zombie Burn.

Dropping BOY

Elsewhere, Keita Takahashi's Noby Noby Boy has held itself in the Top 5 for the past two months, but has dropped to 10th place this month. Thanks to the official website and this online application. we’re able to see that throughout April there were 8,901 new BOYs reporting to GIRL. Please note that this is a worldwide number, and not just the United States.

While not everyone who bought Noby Noby Boy has reported their BOY length to GIRL, it’s a fairly good estimate of how well the game has done. Last month the total was 19,115 and at 3rd place on the PSN North American charts, by point of comparison.

Downloadable Content for Downloadable Games

After two months of being absent, Sony's own PAIN has returned to the Top 10 list. Since mid March, the PAIN developers have released the Smack Pack and two new playable characters.

While this might not have pushed it over for the March numbers, it may have helped make it to the Top 10 with 4 weeks of sales from people picking up the game for the DLC. In terms of downloadable content, PixelJunk Eden and Magic Ball also released expansion packs this month, but neither caused any disturbance in the Top 10.

Looking forward, May's charts will include titles like Puzzle Quest Galactrix, Texas Cheat’em, Zen Pinball and Trash Panic - titles that are either puzzle-based or potentially quite niche - although you may underestimate the popularity of pinball games at your peril. Will any of them catch on with the PlayStation Network audience? We will do a new rundown next month.

[Thanks to Sony and Porter Novelli for releasing these statistics, and I'd like to also acknowledge my colleagues at Gamasutra and on NeoGAF for spurring discussion and bringing more analysis to the table.]


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Comments


Steve Roger
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It seems like the media is surprised that Flock didn't sell. Just because a major company develops and markets a game doesn't mean people will buy it. Capcom is a great company but I don't think a lot gamers would connect Capcom with a game like Flock so even a little bit of name recognition will not overcome a pretty dismal playing experience. I gave the demo a try and I found it to be entirely dull. The game play is plodding and the look of the thing is like bland plaid. And that is hard to do--make plaid bland that is.



They had a good concept, aliens sucking up farm animals. The gameplay core idea is good. But everything just moves so slow. But what also really sucks is the look of the game. Usually aliens are flashy and spectacular. So should the environments. Not here. It is a baren tiny world.



So, the game didn't make the top 10 because it is an uninspired stinker. I respect the chops of the developer, but the game design decisions were all wrong.

Steve Roger
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I think something like this but more brown and orangey was the inspiration for Flock's art direction:



http://www.dann-online.com/images/25001--Trad_Plaid_Muted_Colors.
jpg

Z Z
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Umm, I have a PS3 and I never even heard of Flock, and I'm a big time gamer and check the PSN store every Thursday. They apparently didn't advertise it very well.



I remember seeing Rag Doll Kung Fu from Steam, but I would have never bought it on PSN. I got it from the free giveaway though and it is pretty cool. I was always a little interested in it when I saw it on Steam. The problem I have with it is the motion controls are annoying, and kind of ruin the experience. Having to jolt my controller around is stupid, turn it upside down to meditate, etc. There may be a way to change it, I'm not sure, only played for a little bit.

Janne Haffer
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I got Rag Doll some week after release (ie not free), it's kind of boring alone but when you have people to play with it's really a lot of fun, glad to see that it sold well.

Like BN said the motion controls are a bit weird to get used to. But if you sit down and just try them out without any opponents to find the "balance trigger point" or whatever you call it, it turns out the moves are much simpler than it seems at first.



Harsh words from Steve about Flock, I think it was a decent puzzler that looked alright, but on the other hand not really more fun than some good free flash games.


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