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In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade sales analysis, December 2011

December is typically a down month for console digital game sales, but how did big releases like Sonic CD and Trine 2 fare? Gamasutra breaks it down by the numbers.

Ryan Langley, Blogger

January 19, 2012

5 Min Read

[Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines December 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of titles like Sonic CD, Trine 2 and Joe Danger] As the year winds down, the last few big retail titles have been released, news stories on gaming blogs are starting to slow, people go home for the holidays, and under everybody's noses a bunch of Xbox Live Arcade games get released. Can quality titles like Sonic CD, Trine 2 and Joe Danger use this to their advantage? For the end of the year, we've pieced together leaderboard statistics and Metacritic ratings from games, allowing us to determine what went right or wrong for the newest games, older titles, and downloadable content. With no "Games for the Holidays" promotion, how will each game fare on the marketplace? Voltron's Movie Night The first two releases for December were Scene It? Movie Night and Voltron: Defender of the Universe. While November's trivia game Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was released in Europe only release, Scene It only made it out to the United States, and ended up doing better as well by adding 18,848 players to the Leaderboards. Voltron is the second dual-stick shooter from Behaviour Interactive this year alongside Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime, both of which have scored below 50 on Metacritic. Voltron only attracted 9,257 players during the first 5 weeks of release. The second week for the month had only one release - Apples To Apples, based on the card game. Unfortunately we have no way of figuring out the Leaderboard numbers. The game currently has a Metacritic rating of 64. xblanewdec2011.pngDanger: Sonic Boom Week three for December gave us the two best rated titles for the month - Joe Danger: Special Edition and Sonic CD. Joe Danger, being a enhanced port of a year and a half old PSN indie darling, kind of fell flat with its audience, gaining only 16,810 over three weeks. This also not helped by the fact that December is a time when people are paying less attention to release lists and websites, so fewer people seem to have purchased the game Sonic CD gained 16,810 players in three weeks - at only 400MSP. However, the game was released on everything -- PSN, iPhone and Android phones came out at the same time. Based on the Leaderboards on the iPhone, more than 167,676 players downloaded that version, which is a whole lot more, and those who may have bought the iPhone or Android version may have ignored the console release. The PSN version only shows the Top 1,000. Trine Makes Its Way To XBLA While the original Trine was a PSN exclusive, the sequel finally made it to Xbox Live Arcade courtesy of Atlus. The game was received very well, but thanks to being released the week of Christmas it was ignored by the press and gamers alike. The game added 16,810 players in the two weeks of its release. The final release of the month was All Zombies Must Die, which didn't get enough reviews to warrant a Metacritic score, and we are unable to follow the game's Leaderboards. xbladlcdec2011.pngAbundance of DLC A lot of DLC was released during December, including Magic 2012, Fruit Ninja Kinect and Orcs Must Die, but we could only follow a few of them. Bastion announced and released a new piece of downloadable content, titled Stranger's Dream for 80MSP (free on the PC). However it seems very few people actually cared, with just a little over 1,000 new players since release, and this is also while the game was on sale for a week. Defense Grid added a brand new Portal based DLC called "You Monster," courtesy of the developer working on Counter-Strike: GO. But thanks to a broken patch for the system and a variety of other issues, it was very difficult to actually get to and play the content. Only 2,152 players have added the piece of DLC. Pinball FX 2 added a new four table package called Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue, expanding on the 6 tables already available. The DLC added 10,426 players for that pack in its first week for a total of 18,400. Not as hot as the original pack did, but considering the sales of brand new games available this month, it proved that Pinball FX 2 developers are making a mint of this stuff. xblareg2011.pngFruit Ninja Explosion During the month of December, Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja Kinect was given away as a download code in every Kinect bundle along with the retail title The Gunstringer. Courtesy of this, and just downloads in general, Fruit Ninja Kinect has exploded with over 300,000 new players in two weeks, making the game now have 739,782 players total, and still climbing fast. It was also on sale for half price on Christmas day. A lot of games were also on sale during this time - including Beyond Good & Evil, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and Peggle, all which added a large amount of new players during their time at half price.

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