A Nintendo community
for the fans, by the fans!
 Go to forum index
Where are all the 3rd party sales coming from?
Editorial by 
Editor-in-chief
January 15, 2010, 00:41:16
 
I was originally going to make a bigger argument here, but discussion started already, so no point going back and changing it now. So instead, here is mostly raw data with a few points of my own, and the rest will be down in the discussion below. I admit there are a couple small leaps to get this data, such as using an April '09 attach ratio with current sales numbers, but for the most part it is based off of what seems to me to be fairly accurate data, and should work for a general estimation.

To clarify though, this was not meant to be a discussion on "core" gaming only, but was in respect to comments certain 3rd parties have made recently which makes it sound like they do not see much of any real 3rd party sales potential on the Wii, core or not.

So by my estimation, the total amount of 3rd party game sales for each console in the NA region is...

*hold your breath*

Xbox 360- 149.11M
Wii- 111.24M
PS3- 67.66M

Not quite the dire situation some 3rd parties would have us believe, is it? And keep in mind a few points...

A. The Xbox 360 was released a year before the other two consoles. Do the numbers by the year and the Xbox 360 / Wii are neck and neck.

B. These are only NA numbers, the Wii sells a lot more games (relative to the other consoles) in Japan, and the Xbox 360 sells a lot less games outside of NA.

Some points on the other side of things...

A. No information on which 3rd party games are selling, could be all casual games. But the fact is, they're still selling.

B. No information on how many 3rd party games are released per platform. I vaguely recall hearing the Wii actually has the most 3rd party game releases, so those sales may be dispersed between more games.

C. Generally publishers look at the PS3 and Xbox 360 as the same market, since they mostly do multiconsole games between those two. And even PC at times. So the Wii has to do more than just match one or the other, it is really up against both or all three, in some ways.

Here is how I got to those numbers. Feel free to double check my math and tell me if I missed something. I also limited my 1st party numbers to games at 500k sales or above, I figured at that point there were only so many games below and they wouldn't add up to anything significant for an estimate. I also tried not to select games that were 1st party published but did not seem to have exclusive rights to that console (Ninja Gaiden II on Xbox 360, for instance).

Xbox 360
NA attach rate- 8.3 games per console
NA total console sales- 21.50M
NA total game sales- 178.45M
NA 1st party game sales- 29.34M
NA 3rd party game sales- 149.11M

NA 1st party game sales by game
Halo 3 7.75M
Gears of War 3.80M
Gears of War 2 3.54M
Halo 3: ODST 3.23M
Forza Motorsport 2.49M
Fable II 2.13M
Mass Effect 1.45M
Halo Wars 1.08M
Crackdown 1.05M
Forza Motorsport 3 0.99M
Perfect Dark Zero 0.74M
Project Gotham Racing 3 0.58M
Project Gotham Racing 4 0.52M

Wii
NA attach rate- 6.2 games per console (Wii Sports not included)
NA total console sales- 30.56M
NA total game sales- 189.47M
NA 1st party game sales- 78.23M
NA 3rd party game sales- 111.24M

NA 1st party game sales by game
Wii Play 13.9M
Wii Fit 9.54M
Mario Kart Wii 8.89M
Wii Sports Resort 5.09M
New Super Mario Bros. Wii 4.52M
Super Smash Brothers Brawl 5.07M
Super Mario Galaxy 4.42M
Wii Fit Plus 3.34M
Mario Party 8 3.46M
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess 2.95M
Link's Crossbow Training 2.83M
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games 2.69M
Animal Crossing City Folk 1.49M
Super Paper Mario 1.44M
Wii Music 1.32M
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games 1.24M
Mario Super Sluggers 0.96M
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree 0.91M
Wario Ware Smooth Moves 0.89M
Metroid Prime 3 Corruption 0.88M
Mario Strikers Charged 0.86M
Pokemon Battle Revolution 0.78M
Punch-Out!! 0.76M

PS3
NA attach rate- 6.5 games per console
NA total console sales- 12.35M
NA total game sales- 80.28M
NA 1st party game sales- 12.62M
NA 3rd party game sales- 67.66M

NA 1st party game sales by game
Resistance: Fall of Man 1.44M
MotorStorm 1.53M
LittleBigPlanet 1.40M
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune 1.31M
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 1.30M
Killzone 2 1.01M
Resistance 2 0.89M
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue 0.88M
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation 0.81M
inFamous 0.75M
MLB '08 The Show 0.64M
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction 0.66M

NA console games and 1st party game sales taken from VGchartz (lol)

April 22, 2009 attach ratio taken from Kotaku

So my question again is... where are these 111.24M NA 3rd party game sales coming from if it is so difficult for 3rd parties to sell games on the Wii?

URL to share this content (right click and copy link)
Posted: 01/15/10, 00:41:16  - Edited by 
 on: 02/24/11, 23:04:23    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
Top 10 3rd Party Games Sold on the Wii

1. Guitar Hero 3 3.17M
2. Guitar Hero World Tour 2.44M
3. Lego Star Wars 2.11M
4. Carnival Games 1.88M
5. EA Sports Active 1.45M
6. Rock Band 1.38M
7. Game Party 1.32M
8. DDR: Hottest Party 1.22M
9. Rayman Raving Rabbids 1.19M
10. Beatles Rock Band 1.11M

Quick, how many core games do you see? The argument has always been core 3rd party games do not sell well on the Wii. I'm not saying it's true but that's what the argument is. I don't care if Game Party sells a hundred million copies on it's own, it doesn't make the Wii a viable market for core 3rd party games now does it?

Now compare that to Microsoft's top 10:

1. Modern Warfare 2 6.02M
2. Call of Duty 4 5.59M
3. GTAIV 4.72M
4. Call of Duty: World at War 4.32M
5. Guitar Hero 3 3.34M
6. Assassin's Creed 3.08M
7. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.46M
8. Madden 08 2.39M
9. Lego Indiana Jones 2.38M
10. Madden 09 2.27M

Now all of these games have some casual appeal but the difference is that they offer a fair amount of depth and have high production values.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 01:14:53  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 01:30:03
But there aren't any equivalent games of their ilk that are available on the Wii.



HERE WE GO AGAIN


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 02:18:01
Why is Call of Duty more "core" than Guitar Hero again?


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 02:22:07
JSlakov said:
Why is Call of Duty more "core" than Guitar Hero again?

Are you wanting to argue the production values and depth of Call of Duty vs. that of Guitar Hero?


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 02:37:21
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the production value or depth of Guitar Hero. The only difference is girls don't like Call of Duty. That's what makes it more "core".


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 02:57:15
Even if you judge that every Wii game sold to date is casual, isn't it time for companies to at least try making some excellent bridge games?

Look at Nintendo selling 20 million Mario Karts or new Mario platformers. Wii gamers aren't protozoa only capable of waggling their way through quiz games, they aspire to more action packed experiences. They flex their newfound limbs and hop up the muddy evolutionary banks onto the land where the mighty coregamersauruses roam around. 3rd parties could be thinking about that, even if they look at those new 4m Wii owners in December and say "Pfff. Casuals."

What are casuals? They are the gamers of the future. They are the the little kids, the women, the never gamers, the lapsed gamers. Just as the NES brought in new blood and trained them up with increasingly complex interactive systems so the Wii has the potential to create new fans of gaming out of these noobs. These are people looking for quality, looking for fun. They watch TV, they talk to their friends. They can be reached. Even if you mark the entire Wii buying population as casuals and ignore all of the other types of Wii owners, there's the potential to entertain these people and expand their horizons.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:06:26  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:13:35
It's a number of things, I wouldn't say Guitar Hero is a casual franchise but calling it a core franchise doesn't sit well either. It's more of a bridge title than anything else. Your Megaman 9 example doesn't work because that was a design decision made by Capcom, to emulate the retro style. It's still very much a core game.

Like I said, Call of Duty is a core franchise that has some casual appeal. Despite that though, the controls for it are complex, there is a definite learning curve. There is a lot to take in to consideration at any given time, it is much more complex than simply pressing buttons in time with what's on the screen despite how difficult that could get.

Let's not turn this in to a debate over what core means since at the end of the day it's subjective. In my opinion, that Wii top 10 list is way more causal than the 360's list.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:08:06
Ok, fine, let's table the "core" discussion and think about this. Aren't "casual" games obviously going to make up a big part of the Top 10 games? I mean the whole point of "casual" games is that they appeal to a broader amount of people than "core" games, right? I bet the PS2 list is pretty "casual" as well, but even then it's not a fair comparison because PS2 never reached out the way that the Wii did.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:13:41
Based on this list though I think stephen is arguing the quality of games that sell.

Guitar Hero/Rock Band are the very definition of Casual games, what have you been smoking? I don't know how anyone can argue that.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:16:52  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:18:17
@JSlakov

Why would it not be a fair comparison?

As a point of interest the top 10 PS2 3rd Party Sales:

1. GTA San Andreas 18.16M
2. GTA Vice City 14.2M
3. GTA 3 11.6M
4. FFX 7.95M
5. NFS Underground 6.49M
6. NFS Underground 2 6.38M
7. MoH: Frontline 6.29M
8. FFXII 5.69M
9. MGS2 5.58M
10. Kingdom Hearts 5.50M

Still doesn't look anything like the Wii's list IMO

@Simbabbad

Megaman's Retro style IS it's presentation. So much so, they added the ability to enable technological glitches of the time. There aren't any games from new properties being released in that style.

I brought up the core argument because what brought his post on was Capcom's statement that their 3rd party stuff doesn't sell on the Wii. Simply saying oh well 3rd party stuff sells great on the Wii is ignoring the true root issue. If we accept that there aren't a bunch of great 3rd party titles on the Wii and yet people are still buying a bunch of 3rd party content then that's fairly troubling. That would by definition mean that they are buying casual, or some mediocre stuff we all agree isn't a very big effort.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:28:39
Have you not been paying attention this generation? The entire thing about the Wii has been that it has sold to people who weren't interested in video games before, right? Those people are going to outnumber the "core" gamers no matter what and buy the games that appeal to them. It doesn't say anything necessarily about the sales of those "core" games that will obviously fall below the "casual" ones, since Top 10 is relative.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 03:34:01
Man, that PS2 Top 10 is hideous.

Also, it's interesting how this discussion always centers around US numbers. We might have the most accurate info on that region (and Japan), but Europe is a big place with a lot of people, and they seem a bit more open to supporting third-parties, from what I've observed.

I think people who are coming from an anti-Nintendo position like to act like the US is the only region to strengthen their argument, but I'd really like to see some rough global stats.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 04:38:59  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 04:43:01
stephen08 said:
@JSlakov

Why would it not be a fair comparison?

As a point of interest the top 10 PS2 3rd Party Sales:

1. GTA San Andreas 18.16M
2. GTA Vice City 14.2M
3. GTA 3 11.6M
4. FFX 7.95M
5. NFS Underground 6.49M
6. NFS Underground 2 6.38M
7. MoH: Frontline 6.29M
8. FFXII 5.69M
9. MGS2 5.58M
10. Kingdom Hearts 5.50M

Still doesn't look anything like the Wii's list IMO

@Simbabbad

Megaman's Retro style IS it's presentation. So much so, they added the ability to enable technological glitches of the time. There aren't any games from new properties being released in that style.

I brought up the core argument because what brought his post on was Capcom's statement that their 3rd party stuff doesn't sell on the Wii. Simply saying oh well 3rd party stuff sells great on the Wii is ignoring the true root issue. If we accept that there aren't a bunch of great 3rd party titles on the Wii and yet people are still buying a bunch of 3rd party content then that's fairly troubling. That would by definition mean that they are buying casual, or some mediocre stuff we all agree isn't a very big effort.

Sort of hard to argue with that logic. Except that a couple of those were exclusives (FFX, FFXII, MGS2) and were HUGE franchises before they came to the PS2. Some of the others had the PS2 as the lead SKU (GTA III, GTA SA) and had momentum from their success on the PS1. Was Kingdom Hearts a PS2 exclusive?

Anyways, the PS2 had NONE of the stigma that was thrown at the Wii. Nor did it have the 800 Gorilla of Sony first party devs destroying games from HUGE 3rd-parties like EA, Square-Enix, Rockstar and Capcom. And those companies put their A-teams on the PS2 from Day one; much to the chagrin of poor Sega and the Dreamcast. I remember to this day the lack of enthusiasm at EA towards the Dreamcast on my interview and subsequent 10 days of employment there (before I got the FUCK out of that rudderless EA.COM team). They were drooling for the day that the PS2 was out (this was in summer 2000). They could hardly be bothered thinking about the Dreamcast.

Still there is merit to what you list. The PS2's top games are 3rd party ruled. Nintendo's will probably never be. But It still would behoove them to (if they DO make Nintendo games) shoot for the best quality experience possible (game, PR, marketing) and not try to keep bashing the Wii whenever they feel bitter that their Rail-Shooters, spin-offs, watered down ports, stealth releases or crap mini-games don't sell well.

I like Rail Shooters (they become fun again after 40 :D). But I can only buy so many of them. And I don't dig games which are hard but have a squeaky voiced kid running around with a monkey on a screen with blindingly bright colors.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 04:48:22
@stephen08 I mostly did this in response to recent publisher comments from 3rd parties basically saying it's difficult to sell 3rd party games on the Wii and they are switching their focus elsewhere. What type of games are selling isn't the point, games are clearly selling. If they can't sell "core" games (not that they try) and the "casual" market is flooded, maybe they should try the logical thing?

Doing a comparison top 10 list is kind of a bit inaccurate though, considering the Wii barely gets the type of games the 360 does. In fact Stephen, take a look at the lists again. The franchises on the 360 list that the Wii actually got are Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel, Madden, and Lego. We know the first two Call of Duty's on the Wii have sold close a million in the US... so they just missed the list (and keep in mind they're nowhere near the quality of the 360 games either). Guitar Hero and Lego are on it. Marvel I think must have been a pack-in, no way did that game sell that much on its own on 360 (besides it's not a game to be proud of). So that leaves Madden, which I think still sells alright on the Wii, though it's a "casual" franchise anyway.

Now, let's imagine that the Wii got a high quality GTA... would it make the list? Tough to say, but I'm fairly certain that yes, it would sell over a million copies on the Wii. Assassin's Creed? I dunno. Frankly though, I think if the Wii got the same franchises at the same level of quality, the top 10 per console lists wouldn't be all that different. Really though, that's the thing. I DON'T KNOW. Do you? 3rd parties simply don't give the Wii these type of games, so all we can do is speculate.

And I hope you weren't expecting to see The Conduit and MadWorld up there.

In fact, you hit the mark yourself, you just don't continue on to the next logical step...

stephen08 said:
Now all of these games have some casual appeal but the difference is that they offer a fair amount of depth and have high production values.

Only I will add something else... they're all pretty high rated as well. And the next logical step is... the Wii doesn't have 3rd party games like this. So how could these non-existent games be on the list?

Of course, on the other side of things, one point I missed above is that the 360 and PS3 are basically the same market for publishers, there are almost no 3rd party exclusives between those two consoles now outside the ones Microsoft and Sony pay for. And the PC is often in there as well. So that does make it a bit tougher to sell on the Wii. I actually think Sony got very, very lucky this generation. Their system is that much tougher than the Wii to try to sell games on (outside a few big IPs) but they basically survive from 360 publishers/developers. If it was just Nintendo versus Sony, Sony would be TEH DOOMED. But since they get the multiconsole development from the lead 360 SKU, they keep getting the games.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 06:36:38  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 06:38:49
I agree with Zero completely.....

All we are really doing is comparing apples to oranges so some people who get all in a huff about it are not thinking things through....

What is getting us gamers upset (the ones that have Wii's) is that the 3rd parties are still not getting it..most of the titles that have lots of effort into it are 'niche' games and unfortunately the companies like Capcom are not seeing that.. Games like Madworld is not going to sell a bunch of copies. Casual games are selling because the market has exploded..but that doesn't mean the 'core' have dissapeared... We have and probably will always be out numbered. Just like it has been for decades...

I find it madening when other companies say it's hard to compete against Nintendo games on Nintendo consoles for two reasons:

1. When they say that, they are not putting in AAA effort into a game - This is Nintendo people, stop crying. I want to see some value here.
2. When 3rd parties continue to slack, Nintendo doesn't have to work as hard - and therefore ignore options that people are dying for..It's a shame that, with some games, Nintendo's 2nd or even 3rd level teams are outdoing the competition..

As far as Sony getting lucky - that is so true.. The first year was the worst launch in any consoles history - it was laughable.. Could you imagine if Blu-Ray lost? Nintendo had themselves and Rare back in the N64 days (which saved their ass) but Sony can actually thank a competitor for their survival... Sony should send Microsoft some flowers... LOL

S


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 16:59:06
No kidding. Someone on the IGN Wii GB was actually complaining about no 3rd party Wii games in the December NPD top 10. But let's take a look at the games in the top 10, shall we? They fall into exactly two types:

A. Nintendo 1st party Wii games (sometimes highly rated)

B. Highly rated, highly publicized, large attention to production values PS3/360 games

Can we really expect Silent Hill Shattered Memories to compete with Modern Warfare 2, Left4Dead2, and Assassin's Creed 2? How is it that people still don't see the huge gap in what 3rd parties give the other consoles versus what 3rd parties give the Wii?

I honestly feel like this is what is happening... Publishers put all of their first tier / A-level games on PS3/360. That's undeniable. But then they see the huge Wii userbase and think ok, we can put our second tier / B-level games on the PS3/360 and not only be competing against a huge assortment of first tier games, but our own first tier games. OR, we can try out that Wii market, where our second tier games not only won't have much competition, but can become "first tier" games by default, as there is no first tier. And therefore they should sell like first tier titles sell. And you hear this argument from people all of the time, especially on the Wii GB.

Bad logic though, because there is Nintendo first tier, and then there is Nintendo second tier which, like it or not, is the most popular second tier line-up there is by far. And even if there weren't, second tier games don't become first tier games simply by the lack of first tier games. If people are not excited about the games on the console, they will either go elsewhere for their gaming, or buy less games.

Now, I'm not saying 3rd parties should all be rushing to put their first tier games on the Wii. That'd probably be a mistake. What they need to do, however, is understand the market better. And stop blaming the market for not getting overly excited about second tier games. Second tier games rarely get much hype (except in the case where publishers market the hell out of them *hint hint*) and they rarely get big sales. This isn't going to magically change just because you move your second tier games to a console without as much competition.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 18:55:39
I have a confession to make. I bought all those games (or most of them at least). I've purchased over 100 million Wii games. Hell, I bought 150,000 copies of Madworld alone. I'm gathering them all together so I can build a giant light reflector to put into orbit. Once it is complete, I will reflect the Sun's light onto NCL's headquarters so it can be basked in the heavenly glow that Miyamoto's earthly presence requires. Or it could incinerate them. I'm not sure which.

I'm sorry I have deceived everyone and I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 19:37:35
@Zero
I think the real (simplified) issue is, it's Capcom/Konami/Ubisoft's C-team (or, more likely, Cavia or Tose, or something) against Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Katsuya Eguchi, etc., etc.

I mean, what the fuck do they expect? It's like putting the Buffalo Bisons against the Yankees.

I had to look that up.

And that's without even bringing marketing into it. Nintendo depends on the Wii and DS to survive. Do third-parties sincerely believe they can bring their reheated shit to the console and thrive? Are they dumb?

The answer is yes. There should be a lot of scrambling after this month's NPDs. But there won't be. Because most third-parties are totally inflexible and utterly unable to adapt to changes in the market.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 20:31:36  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/10, 21:28:44
You know, I do often feel like I am being generous when I say publishers bring their b-teams to the Wii. Because it is rarely even that. But, at least most of the games we get hyped about are b-team games.

Marketing and presentation are both huge as well. How can people not see this? Look at Assassin's Creed. There was no way that game deserved 8 million sales. And it wouldn't have gotten them either. Except that Ubi made it a must have game before it even released through a massive marketing campaign. Which paid off, and then some. That's probably why the original Red Steel was so huge too, remember how it was massively PRE-launch hyped? But they're just sort of ignoring the sequel, and when it ships and dies, they will say the Wii core market has left them.

Blah.


Posted by 
 on: 01/15/10, 20:54:57
Browse    1