In a new report tracking popular video games among online audiences, research firm Networked Insights ranked Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet
and Activision's Guitar Hero: World Tour
among its ten highest ranked titles according to "online engagement."
Networked Insights notes that four titles in its top ten software chart, including Guitar Hero: World Tour
, were not included in The NPD Group's published top ten list for October 2008
, which ranked video game releases by unit sales.
According to the firm, traditional video game rankings based on sales and shipping data detail only a small aspect of the gaming audience's engagement with video games. The company claims its data provides a "more holistic story" to in-game advertisers, game developers, and companies marketing virtual goods.
To track online engagement, Networked Insights analyzed not only video game-related content posted online, but audience behaviors around that content such as reading, rating, sharing, linking, and inviting. The study followed 17,000 social media and social networking sites, which included 3.5 million conversations per day and over 120 million unique users.
With four of its top ten titles missing from NPD's chart, Networked Insights says that there is a discrepancy between sales and engagement around video games.
is ranked higher on its list than NPD's due to the game's strong social networking and content creation features, which encourage online engagement. Guitar Hero: World Tour
was number 9 on Networked Insights' list due to "significant buzz leading up to its release" throughout October.
"The video game industry is still growing at a rapid pace and represents a passionate audience that is still willing to spend in this economy," says Networked Insights founder and CEO Dan Neely.
He continues, "It’s imperative that in-game advertisers, game developers and other organizations in the gaming industry learn from their customers to help target their advertising, include user sentiment and feedback in future games, and ultimately build more successful game franchises."