[Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines November 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of titles like Burgertime: World Tour and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
After some blockbuster, bloated weeks of releases throughout September and October 2011, November was a complete and utter barren wasteland. A whopping four new releases popped up throughout the month, just one a week, and only a couple were reviewed.
Still, we're here to discuss how Xbox Live Arcade is doing. Using pieced together leaderboard statistics and Metacritic ratings, we've determined what went right or wrong for the newest games, older titles, and downloadable content.
Do You Even Know What Came Out This Month?
The first title for the month was BurgerTime: World Tour
, a reinvention of the '80s franchise for digital distribution. This is Frozen Codebase's fifth Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network title behind Zombie Wranglers, Screw Jumper, Elements of Destruction
, and Kick Ass
It's also the developer's second title to hit over 50 on Metacritic. It barely hit anybody's radar, being purchased by only 2,410 players in the first week, and a total of 5,178 times for the month.
Dual Stick Fusion
Title number two was Fusion Genesis
, a top-down shooter by new developer Starfire Studios, helmed by Chris Tilston, lead designer for a portion of Rare's mid-'90s to mid-'00s work. However, the top-down shooter genre outside of Geometry Wars
hasn't been faring well lately, and Fusion Genesis
was no exception.
The game was downloaded and purchased only 4,409 times during its opening week and 8,390 times over the month. Bear in mind, this was also the busiest retail week to have a digital release in -- Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3
, and Saints Row 3
were clearly more important in most players' eyes.
is another strange beast -- a game with an incredibly limited amount of discussion prior to release, even with the PC version a few months prior. It seems that everyone was so busy that nobody bothered to review it -- just Gamespot (6/10) and Official Xbox Magazine (45/100), and only 330 players appeared on the leaderboards in the first week.
Who Wants To Be A European Millionaire?
The final new release was Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Special Edition
. It's also possibly the only title to not get an American release -- it was only available in Europe. The game is based and licensed on the UK version of the show, while the U.S. version was released as a Kinect-only retail title.
Being European only, and with almost zero discussion of the game before release, the game saw very few downloads. It also received zero reviews from publications that Metacritic deals with, which is something that doesn't happen everyday.
Downloadable Content Continues To Thrive
This month we had a new piece of DLC we could follow -- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire's
"movies" expansion, which was downloaded 1,421 times in the first week. While low, it's a high attach rate for a game that only added 4,745 players.
Pinball FX 2
continues to do well as always, but its Core packs for Marvel, FX 1
and FX 2
were discounted to half their regular price, which boosted their sales up a fair amount, and even helped their other tables sell a little more.
Thanks For Giving
This month, we were actually able to follow a lot of titles that were put on sale. Limbo, Scott Pilgrim,
and Ms 'Splosion Man
saw some good sales increases during their week of being price cut, but the majority of the deals were for Thanksgiving weekend.
Some of the sales were just a single day, but we all saw some good numbers out of them -- Sega's titles like Phantasy Star 2
saw a boost of new players, Magic 2012
triples the previous week's sales.
went on sale for what seems like the fourth time this year and saw more players at $2.50 each, and Super Meat Boy
blasted them all out of the water with over 14,00 new players in one week.
We continue to look at some of the new releases from the past few months. The most fascinating game of the lot was Fruit Ninja Kinect
(Disclaimer: Made by my employer, Halfbrick!), which saw a huge boost in sales for the last week of the month -- over 31,000 new players.
The reasoning seems to be thanks to a Thanksgiving weekend Kinect bundle featuring Kinect Adventures, The Gunstringer
, and FNK
. It appears to be doing huge numbers thanks to this, which is great to see.
Major Nelson Top 20
After a few months with little in regards to the Major Nelson Top 20 lists, the blog updated three of the four weeks for the month, displaying how some of the older titles we don't follow have been going.
We can see Sega's Daytona USA
continued to do well on Xbox Live Arcade for the few weeks after its release, and even Guardian Heroes
kept a spot up there. Toy Soldiers: Cold War
dropped out of the Top 20, leaving Fruit Ninja Kinect
as the only Summer of Arcade 2012 game left in the pack. Its sales are likely based on the downloads on the storefront, and not the previously mentioned retail codes.
Clearly the final week was taken up almost entirely by deals, except for the occasional big title. Real Steel
is the "crazy" game this month, still sitting as a top download despite low reviews and little care about it from the gaming press.
A Quiet December, OR IS IT?!
December has already started off at walking pace, Scene It?
and Apples & Apples
being the two current releases, but we'll be finishing off with a bang with Joe Danger, Trine 2
, and possibly Sonic CD