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In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade Sales Analysis, May 2011

Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines May 2011's Xbox Live Arcade sales, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of XBLA titles from Bangai-O HD to Gatling Gears.
[Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines May 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of XBLA titles from Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury to Gatling Gears.] The month of May brought us both sides of the Xbox Live Arcade market -- games like Bangai-O HD and Gatling Gears getting great Metacritic scores, and Star Raiders and Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale having very poor ratings. We take a look at each of the latest titles from the Xbox Live Arcade in May, checking their Leaderboard statistics and placing on the weekly Top 20 lists, to help gamers and developers alike see how well the digital space is performing. Missile Fury The first two releases for June were Treasure’s Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury and Square Enix’s Moon Diver. We unfortunately could not follow Moon Diver due to the Leaderboard structure, but we could follow Bangai-O easily. Bangai-O only hit 10th most purchased XBLA game of that week, which is a fairly poor performance. It did however have the best Metacritic score of the month, so critically it was a success. The game added only 8,190 players for the month. Get To Gatling The second week brought two more titles – Gatling Gears, developed by Vanguard Entertainment and published by EA, and Star Raiders, published by Atari. Gatling Gears had less players on the Leaderboards than Bangai-O’s first week, but ultimately had a longer tail. The game was 6th place in the Top 20 for its first week and added 9,340 players for the month.
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Star Raiders is an interesting title indeed. Originally set to be a retail game, Star Raiders was ultimately cancelled back in April, or so we thought. Out of nowhere, the game appeared on Xbox Live Arcade, stripped of its intended multiplayer component and looking like it was barely holding itself together. The game ended up with the 6th worst Metacritic rating for an XBLA game, and couldn’t even muster 1,500 players on the Leaderboards. Game Over Yeaaaah The third week wielded a new game from Sega – Sega Rally Online Arcade, a port of Sega Rally 3 done by the very capable Sumo Digital. The game received decent reviews, citing the lack of content as the main complaint, but considering the games’ roots it’s understandable. Based on the Leaderboards, the game fared the best, but by best it only appeared to be 11,349 units. The game was the third most downloaded game of the week. Put A Dagger To It The final new release of the month was Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, another Atari release. We unfortunately could not follow the game as it only shows the Top 50 players, but the Metacritic score of 47 likely means it will not fare well. This makes it the third Atari published title in a matter of months which has been unable to hit 50 or above on Metacritic. You have to wonder what the heck they're thinking.
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The Top 20 Returns It’s been some months since we’ve seen a consistent Top 20 list from the Major Nelson blog, but we were lucky this May – three of the four weeks are accounted for. Many of the weekly deals were of games we could not follow including Castlevania, Age Of Booty and Deadliest Warrior. Those that did all seemed to do well for themselves, as they hit the Top 10 quite easily. Last month’s Outland and Section 8: Prejudice have both continued to do well on the Xbox Live Arcade, which is good to see considering their great Metacritic scores. The old Dead Rising cases and Game Room continue to do well despite being available for such a long time.
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Fantastic Pinball Pinball FX 2 continues to do remarkably well for itself, selling at least 1,000 copies of each table per week, which when put together makes a good chunk of change for Zen Studios. They released one new table – the Fantastic Four table, which added 20,370 new players in two weeks, which is on par once again with their other tables.
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Ninja Cave, Man We also followed some other older titles from earlier in the year. Trouble Witches Neo and NIN2-Jump from May did not do very well in June, but Fancy Pants, Full House Poker and Torchlight have all continued to sell consistently throughout the past few months. Looking at June Looking forward June is going to be a fairly empty month – already there’s been two weeks with no new releases, but we do have some big titles on their way, including Half Minute Hero and Magic The Gathering 2012.

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