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In-Depth: PlayStation Network Analysis, September 2011

Console digital editor Ryan Langley examines PlayStation Network's debuts and successes during September 2011, examining the PSN Play promotion's results and the top 20 most downloaded titles in North America.
[Console digital editor Ryan Langley examines PlayStation Network's debuts and successes during September 2011, using leaderboard and chart data to analyze their sales and downloads.] This September, PlayStation Network took some well needed marketing initiative with a new promotion -- PSN Play, featuring four titles -- alongside 17 more game releases. But how has the new program stacked up alongside XBLA's Summer of Arcade promotion? We intend to find out. Thanks to the help of our friends over at PSNStores.com, we're able to give much more data than we could have done alone. We've looked at the Leaderboards for the games we could follow (noting how they may fare against their Xbox Live Arcade cousins) and examined Sony's list of the Top 20 selling games in North America. We've also determined how well the games have fared with reviewers using the Metacritic rating system. Play For PSN The PlayStation Storefront was pushing a new promotion for the majority of September. "PSN Play" brought four games into the limelight, and we could follow leaderboard data for two of them: The Baconing and BloodRayne Betrayal. Unfortunately, neither title was very well received in reviews, and both only added around 15,600 players each to their Leaderboards. That's more than their Xbox Live Arcade cousins, (9,446 for The Baconing and 5,614 for BloodRayne), but it's still not a whole lot. psnnewseptember2011.pngTwo other PSN titles that also hit the Xbox Live Arcade were SkyDrift and Mercury Hg, but once again neither have sold very well. SkyDrift had 4,762 players, compared to 5,154 for the XBLA version, while Mercury Hg had 2,320 players on PSN and 6,078 players on XBLA. Action Returns Some more unique, exclusive titles popped up on PlayStation Network this month, but most of them they haven't really done very well for themselves either -- 4 Elements HD and Cubixx HD have only added around 5,000 players each. One title that did a little better was Elevator Action Deluxe, which added 11,099 players despite limited exposure for the game before its release. North American Top 20 In a new twist, the North American PlayStation Blog has also decided to provide a Top 20 list of the most downloaded titles during September, which we assume is just for that region. psntop20september.pngThe top new title was Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection -- not surprising considering that the original Mortal Kombat II remained a PSN top seller for years. The digital download of Resident Evil 4 was second, likely helped by the discounted price for PSN Plus users. From Dust also saw a great start, hitting third place for the month. From the PSN Play promotion, the highest-selling game for the month was Street Fighter III, a game which was actually released in August. The only other PSN Play game to appear was Renegade Ops, which only hit 17th place. Ultimately it feels that the whole promotion lacked significant "oomph", and was nowhere near XBLA's Summer of Arcade in quality gaming or promotion. One thing that's interesting is just how many PSOne Classics are selling very well -- Capcom and Square-Enix are making good money plugging older titles onto the service. Angry Birds has also made a big mark on the service, as it's still the fourth best selling title this month, and the only PSP Minis title to hit the Top 20. While there's been quite a lot of commotion regarding developers supposedly ditching XBLA for PlayStation Network, the reality is that both services have their ups and downs -- as seen by the lack of sales for many independent games on PSN this month, which is a real shame. Oktoberfest For October, we've got a ton of new titles coming to PSN -- Eufloria, Sideways: New York, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, and Okabu -- all exclusive to PlayStation Network. Hopefully Sony will promote them and we'll see them soar in the charts.

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