The gaming of the rankings of the top-selling titles of the decade are boring.
According to the NPD Group, seven out of ten console games of the most successful in the US since 2010 are part of the Call of Duty series. Two of Rockstar Games (GTA V n°1 and Red Dead Redemption 2 to n°9), while the last one is Minecraft.
In the UK, as revealed by the BBC this month, things are not very different: the three titles in the top ten are Call of Duty and five are FIFA.
With this we do not want to remove the merits, the success of these games. The dominance of Call of Duty and FIFA and it shows how strong they have become these franchise, how good the publisher to push and grow these brands, and how faithful is the public who buy every year the new chapters of these series.
“No one denies the success of Rockstar and shooter military in the US. And we can’t pretend that the Uk is obsessed with football.”
We remove time from the equation, the parameters that are most obvious. The UK album charts take into account only the sales of physical, and then the digital is a significant omission (although it is unlikely that including the download, the results become inferior to titles such as FIFA, for example). And, of course, the different culture of the two markets must be taken into account. The English love football and the FPS) But it should be! The market in the US encompasses a series that portrays its military as the heroes that save the world, and two series of video games that reproduce the most iconic of modern cities, the united states and the Wild West, respectively? It is not at all strange.
And of course, all of these three IP’s are enormously popular among the masses. Minecraft started as a indie title, but has spent the last six years under the ownership of Microsoft and perhaps the title is the most affordable of all on the list.
So it is not surprising if each of them is so high in the ranking. This does not, however, makes it less annoying by the fact that two super franchises dominate when you look at the situation from a wider point of view.
Call of Duty occupies seven positions in the top ten of best-selling games in the decade in the US, and three in the chart of the United Kingdom.
Look at the other Top ten of the decade on BBC, and you’ll see that the entertainment industry suffers the same problem to a certain extent. Ed Sheeran occupies three positions in the individual and more music albums sold, while 50 Shades of El James has three in the ranking of the books (and thoughts?). But no single franchise or author of these comes even close to the phenomenon of the FIFA, which occupies half of the ranking of the games.
The movies have, without a doubt, the same problem of the games, with Disney, which occupies at least seven positions in the top ten. But if you divide this ranking for the franchise, or internal division, we have: two Star Wars, two of Marvel comics, two live-action remake, and a sequel to Pixar. Looking at the chart in this way, there is definitely more variety than the ranking of sales of games in the UK.
The ranking of the TV programs was so dense that the BBC has created a sub-ranking that excludes sports, in which the only X Factor occupies more than one position. Then we heard GfK Entertainment, which is in charge of compile the official charts of games in the UK, and NPD, to see if the same happened in our industry.
The Top Ten UK of the Games of the Decade (excluding Call of Duty and FIFA)
- Grand Theft Auto V
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Red Dead Redemption II
- Battlefield 3
- Fallout 4
- Just Dance
- Just Dance 2
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Zumba Fitness
Do you see? A lot more interesting. Of course, Rockstar still occupies two positions, but the rest of the chart sees a number of other games. We are a RPG fantasy and a post-apocalyptic, another military shooter, modern, Star Wars, a fitness game and a couple dedicated to the dance.
“The best-selling games of the previous decade (2000-2009) reflect an innovative industry”
Zumba is a case that’s particularly interesting. It was not a brand gaming very well known, and it was brought to market by Majesco, the publisher of the industry as a whole. In spite of this, managed to resist for 13 weeks in first position in the chart week, setting a record of 28 consecutive weeks at the top in the ranking of the games for the Wii. If you combine that with the couple of Just Dance from Ubisoft, we have the three titles of dance/fitness in the ranking of best-selling games of the decade in the UK. All this of course is not considering sales Call of Duty and FIFA.
In the US, things are starting to change. By removing Call of Duty and games of Rockstar from the ranking, we have three games of the Battlefield (the shooter’s military occupy 14 positions of the top 25), the three titles Nintendo (Mario Kart 8, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Smash Bros Ultimate – experiences that are different from each other), Destiny, Star Wars Battlefront, Skyrim, and Minecraft (not in order of writing).
No matter how you rotate the thing, there is no way to deny the success Rockstar or of shooter military in the US. In the same way, the same applies to the obsession of the English to play football on the couch. The public decides the popularity of the products, and decided that Grand Theft Auto is, in both markets.
But compare it to the ranking of the top-selling titles in the US in the previous decade (2000-2009), compiled by NPD:
- Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
- Wii Fit
- Rock Band
- Wii Play (with Wii Remote)
- Guitar Hero: World Tour
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- Mario Kart Wii
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Call of Duty: World at War
It is not totally different, but looking at the titles Nintendo in the ranking, this list shows the best innovation in the industry.
Of the three titles Nintendo, only Mario Kart Wii is a part of a long-lived franchise, and moves away a lot from the other two. Wii Fit has shown that there is a lot of interest in games that are also good for health, while Wii Play (that has undoubtedly been very successful because it included a controller in the box) shows that the experiments with the motion control were making accessible gaming to a slice of a bigger audience, a situation unprecedented in history.
Look at the rest of the league and you will see other innovations. Guitar Hero and Rock Band have launched the musical experiences with a controller, only that you were becoming a true rockstar. Mondern Warfare revolutionized both the series and the shooter genre in general. San Andreas undoubtedly is remembered as the Grand Theft Auto series, which revolutionized the open-world criminal, as it is made on the basis of GTA 3 but it touched new heights of epic. Only Mario Kart Wii has offered roughly the same experience that the players already knew each other.
Guitar Hero and Wii Fit have represented something very new if we compare them to the games the best-sellers of the last decade.
Now look again at the games the best-sellers of the years ’10. Grand Theft Auto V, even if it follows the pattern of GTA 3 (as almost every other game is open world in the ranking), is designed with great expertise, and has redefined the rules of entertainment, expanding still further with the online mode. Minecraft is also a title remarkable for the way in which allows children to express their creativity. But every Call of Duty, the list continues to repeat the formula Monder Warfare. Yes, it is true that each of them offers something new, but the formula is almost always the same. And the same can be said for FIFA every year: its mode driving is Ultimate Team, which, despite it evolves year after year, is based on the same pattern since 2008.
And perhaps the latter explains why there is so little innovation in these rankings, it happens everywhere. Minecraft, although he debuted in 2009, is an example of a game that evolves in time, even before it was released to the public. The result? II system’s Early Access, that sees the developers to sell games that are not complete but that will improve. FIFA Ultimate Team show how the monetization models are changing, using actually loot the box even before that, the politicians and the commissions that regulate the gambling, to begin to regulate the games AAA.
“The publisher of the most successful at this juncture to expand a model offering a ‘more of the same’ rather than try something totally new “
Fortnite blends the two things, constantly updating to maintain its audience and generate billions without selling a base game (even if Epic has not spread regularly on the proceeds coming from the game, so it is not possible to draw a comparison conventional). League of Legends, even if it was launched at the end of 2009, has turned into a franchise, multi-billionaire, even if (like Fortnite) we do not have financial data accurate.
There are other aspects of the market that may not ever be celebrated with these rankings. The mobile market as we know it, was born in 2008 with the App Store, but since then it has transformed into the largest segment of the entire gaming industry of the past ten years. In tow are the titles free-to-play, become an integral part of the daily agenda of the players (as opposed to console games which are consumed on the couch when you have the time). Pokémon Go, Candy Crash do not appear even.
And there have been attempts to invent new types of games in the past decade. We have seen the emergence of virtual reality, although it has remained a niche market, is creating an experience in gaming that is different from anything that we have seen in the past. In the retail market, there has been the rise and fall of the gender-toys-to-life with Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Even if none of the brand ranks high in the chart, each of them has created a fresh and high demand for the industry. Also Nintendo has followed this trend with the sale of the figurines, Amiibo.
But for a myriad of reasons, these innovations have not sold well enough to pry from the zone of comfort the super franchise history. And then we were left with two top ten that show the performance of the market, traditional retail, and console and PC are dominated largely by a handful of franchises. The publisher of the most successful at this juncture to expand the model by offering more of the same rather than try something totally new .
Looking toward the next decade, with the rise of cloud gaming and the shift to the digital market, we can only hope that the classic market of PC and console gaming is moving towards the exploration of new ideas, to find other reasons to attract people rather than going to infinity the same way. We should hope that the audience of these platforms (the same one that decides this ranking) to expand to embrace more tastes and preferences. Not everyone wants to buy the same experience year after year. We hope that by looking at the top-selling titles of the ’20’s, players should not think that everything what the players want is to kill in the military shooter.
And we hope that someone (anyone) releases something better than Call of Duty. Please.