[Sister site GamerBytes' editor Ryan Langley examines the successes and failures of the past 12 months of Xbox Live Arcade games -- from Limbo to Path Of Go, as he checks in on Leaderboard statistics over the whole of 2010.]
Back in July, we released a list of Xbox Live Arcade Leaderboard statistics for the first half of 2010.
Now with the year complete, we've got a full analysis of 175 releases on Xbox Live Arcade -- both XBLA games themselves, as well as the downloadable content released alongside them.
This list has the amount of players on the Leaderboards for a game from the beginning of 2010, the stats we collected at the end of June, and the stats collected at the end of the year.
This sort of information is crucial for publishers and developers alike -- determining the costs of what is still a very young marketplace is still very difficult, and we've attempted to make it easier for you to try and understand it all.
Please note: Not all of 2010's released games are here. Many had to be skipped due to a lack of information available to us, such as Costume Quest and Plants Vs. Zombies, which have no Leaderboard support.
Here's the full list as we've compiled it:
Of the 38 new games we could follow by the end of 2010, discounting any games released for free, sales were quite good. Eight of those games added over 100,000 players during that time, including Super Meat Boy and Monday Night Combat.
The clear winner this year was Dead Rising Case 0, a game released for just $5 and was picked up by an impressive amount of players. The winner money-wise was Playdead Studios' Limbo, which neared 600,000 players, and is now one of the best selling downloadable games of all time. Other popular games included Monday Night Combat, Lara Croft: Guardian Of Light and Hydro Thunder -- all parts of Xbox Live timed promotions.
Itís nice to see that all of these titles tried tackling something different. Few of the top games had any sort of crossover in terms of gameplay styles, and if there were any similarities in terms of genre, the top titles offered different experiences.
On the other hand, it also means that a lot of games didnít do so well. Twelve games failed to hit 10,000 players total for their six month tenure on the platform, with one of them (Microsoft Research's Path Of Go) not even hitting 1,000 players total.
In addition, games like Unbound Saga and Quake Arena Arcade, despite supposedly being in popular genres, failed to gain players, although they were released relatively late in the year.
It's still early for a few of the games that currently fall under the 100,000 sales mark -- Pac Man CE DX will hit over 100,000 players, we strongly believe, as well as World Of Keflings, DeathSpank and others. Ultimately it is difficult to hit this 100k worldwide milestone on XBLA at all -- this is a key thing to remember when putting money into making digital games such as these.
A Full Year
We also have stats for those games we followed in the first half of 2010. Of the 22 titles we could follow using Leaderboards, two continued on to sell another 100,000 units or more in the second half.
RISK Factions and Toy Soldiers were both tremendous successes for the platform, and Snoopy Flying Ace was able to cross the 100,000 player mark for the year. Few games were able to continue selling a lot after their time on the new release list.
Keep Going And GoingÖ
Based on these statistics, two games just canít be stopped -- The Behemothís Castle Crashers, and RedLynxís Trials HD. Both games added 300,000 new players each in the past six months.
Other big winners include the old favorite UNO with 134,000 new players, and Peggle with 110,000 in the past six months. Geometry Wars 2, 'Splosion Man and A Kingdom for Keflings also held on strong throughout the year, certainly helping those developers when it came to developing their new titles.
Outside of possibly Limbo, it doesn't seem like 2010 created that "ultimate money maker." Limbo and Dead Rising Case 0 have made bank, that's for certain, but to whether they'll cross a million users like the biggest XBLA titles is uncertain at this point. And this is despite 6.8 million new Xbox 360 consoles sold in America alone during 2010.
We will continue to publish an analysis of Xbox Live Arcade each month through 2011, and we will come back to the big list at the end of June. With several promotions at hand such as the "House Party" and publishers like Disney looking towards the digital realm, who knows what might be in store for the rest of 2011?