A Detailed Cross-Examination of Yesterday and Today's Best-Selling Platform Games
August 4, 2006 Page 2 of 31
Platform games used to enjoy a 15% share of the market in 1998 - and considerably more in the 16-bit era - but 2002 Chart Track results showed a staggering drop to 2%.
As consequence, marketing circles are reportedly deliberating that platform games – as a genre - are not as attractive to consumers as they once were.
We believe it’s not an issue of genre, but an issue of effective design principles of past being forgotten.
Thanks to Naughty Dog and Insomniac, the PS2 has been awash with well-produced platform games and we’ve also recently been blessed by new outings from Mario and Sonic on Gamecube. However, although they’ve all been successful in their own respects, these games have failed to match the astronomical sales success enjoyed by their predecessors.
To prove our point, we’ll use the best selling games of each top-selling platform game series and compare them alongside the recent next-generation updates.
According to online reports, the worldwide best sellers of each series – that were not initially bundled with their respective consoles - are:
- Super Mario Brothers 3 – more than 17 million worldwide total sales
- Rayman – over 4 million worldwide total sales
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – over 6 million worldwide total sales
- Crash Bandicoot – over a million worldwide total sales
And the next-generation products we’ll examine are:
Jak and Daxter, Super Mario Sunshine and Sonic Adventure
Some would say that it’s pointless to compare to the 16-bit or even 8-bit days, as it was a different market and of course, it’s true that the market has changed.
Another truism however, is that if online reports are correct, not a single game – of any genre - has sold as much as Super Mario Bros 3. Being that we’re in an industry which is largely built on forward thinking, it may be productive to look to the past for lessons in improving the present and future of games - and this includes looking in classic game designs and ideas.
For effective feedback, we’ll look at game design elements in these games alongside other relevant conditions, in detail.
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