Archive for the ‘XBox 360’ Category

Following the much praised Modern Warfare 2, again the Call of Duty series has broken all records for the first day sales. After all the court cases, the feuds, and the tantrums that followed MF2 Treyarch has pulled this one out of the bag. The first day sales being reported as 7 million copies worldwide, everyone must be happy with that!

 

But what I am finding more and more, when people talk about gaming sales. They are talking Xbox and PS3, but when it comes to PC versions everyone shuts up. It’s all about perception, and the PC sales are just embarrassing. Even though it took a while, I found that the sales market share of the Xbox 360 was at 59% and the PS3 at 36%. The PC market share was not so clear cut!

 

“Xbox 360 takes the largest proportion of sales with 59%, 36% for PS3 and the remainder on PC, Wii and DS.”

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops Sales Top $360 Millionhttp://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/23252/Call-of-Duty-Black-Ops-Sales-Top-360-Million/

By: – “-Sparky-” Nov. 11th, 2010 10:08 am

 It seems that the hype surrounding Call of Duty: Black Ops has paid off for Activision. The game launched on November 9th in North America and the U.K. with massive ad campaigns that spread across gaming websites, billboards and television ads. Day one sales for Black Ops totaled 5.6 million copies or $360 million dollars.

 These sales figures eclipse last year’s launch of Modern Warefare 2 which sold 4.7 million units within the first 24 hours. Activision is hailing this launch as the “biggest launch in entertainment” surpassing the opening weekend set by the film Avatar last December.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops Sells 7 Million Copies on Day Onehttp://gamrfeed.vgchartz.com/story/82685/call-of-duty-black-ops-sells-7-million-copies-on-day-one/

by Brett Walton on 10 November 2010

 According to early VGChartz estimates, Call of Duty: Black Ops has become the fastest-selling game of all time with over 7 million units sold on day one following over 4.5 million preorders as reported earlier in the week. If the 7 million for Black Ops holds true, it would make the launch around 10% larger than Modern Warfare 2 and the biggest of all time.

 Lending some extra weight to our estimations are reports that over 4 million users have now connected to Xbox Live to play Black Ops and similarly impressive figures via PSN. Breaking the data down, we estimate over 3.6 million units were sold in the USA, 1.4 million units in the UK, over a million units in continental Europe and 350,000 units in Canada. Xbox 360 takes the largest proportion of sales with 59%, 36% for PS3 and the remainder on PC, Wii and DS.

 

 

The article states, perhaps a little flippantly, the “remainder on PC, Wii and DS” fight for the rest of the market share scraps. This sentence is all too telling! It wasn’t even worth the effort to work out the remainder, which was 5% of the sales. On top of all of that the PC has now been pigeon holed with a girl’s game console and a girls, hand held, game console.

 To claw some dignity back for the PC gamers, am going to assume and desperately hope that the sale market share was 3% for PC, while the Wii and DS combined was the final 2%. I chose this because I seem to remember the market share for Modern Warfare 2 was also 3% for the PC.

 

 I suppose it’s interesting to know that the Xbox and the PS3 games are more expensive than the PC version. Under the Euro, both Console versions sell at a MRSP of €54.99, while the PC version is €10 cheaper, at €44.99.

GameStop Irelandhttp://www.gamestop.ie/core/common/default.aspx?quickSearch=Black%20Ops 

 Price Check (27/11/2010)

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Std (Xbox 360) = € 54.99

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Std (PS3) = € 54.99

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Std (PC) = € 44.99

 

 The table below shows us that the PC sales brought in just under 10 million Euros for Activision. This isn’t bad, but dwarfs in comparison when compared to the sales of the Xbox or even PS3. Even if 210,000 units were sold at the console price, you still be looking at a drop in the pond.

  

 Even though the more expensive Xbox 360 version and PS3 out sold the cheaper PC version, “The Poor Pirate Excuse” tells a different story. The PC version has been downloaded illegally a disproportionately amount of times compared to all the console versions put together. For the full story you can read here at: wordpress blog

Below are the main two slides from that blog:

 These pie charts show the illegal downloading proportion for the same game title across several different gaming platforms. The difference between the console, marked in Red, and the PC platform marked in Blue, is extremely clear and one sided.

 

This table shows the percentage value of the illegal downloading on a Console platform vs the PC platform. As you can see, generally the PC platform has a clear majority easily averaging 95% of the illegal downloads. Unless it’s a “high want value” game, then people who own a console are far more willing to illegally download it, the percentage becomes roughly 75%.

The Tables and Pie Charts dispel a belief that piracy happens because games are way too expensive. This is wrong, bearing in mind that PC games are normally cheaper than Console versions and that they are a want and not a need. The evidence shows that for Call of Duty: Black Ops the PC sales are out stripped by 2404% for the Xbox, and by 1467% for the PS3. Then in the same light, the PC illegal downloaders outweigh the consoles by 78%, compared to 22%. It just doesn’t make any sense.

It makes perfect sense if you cast a big shiny light on piracy and say it for what it is! Illegal downloading and pirating software material is far greater and easier on the PC. That nobody wants to pay for a game, when the perceived value of a PC game has become nothing.

Unlike the Xbox and the PS3 that need modchips to play the games. And this is no longer completely true as the hacks are getting much simpler! Most people are unwilling to use these kind solutions as it normally requires some complex steps and if it goes wrong then warrantees are void. The PC is a different beast, as the user normally has a certain degree of computer skills. For them, rar files and an illegal ISO, is a park walk with a Segway!

 

So how many times was Call of Duty: Black OPS illegally downloaded on its first day? Well this is a hard question for a number of reasons.

Firstly, in the piracy world, things happen a little differently, the game was available 5 days before, on Thursday 4th November.

Secondly, the piracy market isn’t exactly like the conventional retail market.

Normally illegal torrents released on the official date do not peak straight away. They climb rapidly and then peak in 1-2 days; afterwards the tail off comes down slowly for about 1-2 weeks, were it reaches a saturation level. Normally at saturation level the Seeder graph line meets the Peer level, and it can stay like this, slowly decreasing for many months. Just through observation, torrents stay active for many years, depending on the popularity of the game. Black OPs downloading peak didn’t happen until Friday 12th and Saturday 13th of November 2010. Below is an example of the time line for one illegal torrent for the PC game Mafia 2.

 

So counting all the illegal downloads up to 1 day of the official release date across 7 illegal torrents for Call of Duty: Black OPS. We have a total illegal download count of 592,736, this is more than twice the PC sale estimate.

 

If we count the Seed and Peers of all the torrents, to when it peaks on Sunday 14th, from when it first appears on Thursday 4th. The illegal downloads figure dramatically rises to 1,817,990. From our experiments, most illegal downloaders don’t anticipate a release, but as soon as they hear of it, say a TV advert, then they join the P2P network.

However the Torrent Watch experiment was not designed to find the specific illegal downloads on any particular day. It was designed to say over the period of 6 month the average estimated loss, which we say is 10%, of a game would be roughly… this much. In this case over a period of 6 months there would be an estimated figure of 26,713 downloads a day. This comes to €120,181 per day, which is 26,713 x €44.99 x 10%. So if you imagine this loss over 6 months, being 182.5 days, you come to a rough amount of €21,933,032.

This is how we arrived at this figure of 26,713 downloads per day for Call of Duty: Black OPs. Torrent watch looks at the aggregate Seed and Peers 4 times a day. This gives us two curves per torrent, showing the numbers currently downloading from the illegal market. To turn this into an illegal download figure we estimated the rough time it takes to download 7 GB. But this depends on a number of factors like network speed, if people are sharing, the users connection speed and so on. So we generalised it, and said that if someone was to download 7 GB in 2 days (48 hours) they would need an average connection speed of 41 kb/s. In today’s internet connection terms is small, and seems like an average download speed!

 

The table shows the total recorded Seeders and Peers, and the number of days the tests was active for the particular torrent. You can see the total count of Seed and Peers for each of the Call of Duty: Black Ops torrents. From these numbers we calculate our recoup figure, taking the 10% as the minimum, to see what the return could be!

I suppose it really depends on the popularity you place on the PC platform, as 3-5% worldwide market share never felt right to me! While I don’t think it’s in the same bracket as the PS3 or even the Xbox, I would like to believe that the actual share is much higher. There is no bases for saying this, but if we look at the gradient of the Xbox to the PS3 which is 0.61. By extending this gradient for the PC it gives a unit count of 1.5 million, a total sale of roughly €67 million, and a recalculated market share of 18%.

 

But as I have said; other than a straight gradient through the Xbox and the PS3 there is no proof for this. However on a subjective look, my own personal belief, it does feel more in line with the total sales. But I guess we shall never know? But WarFace will struggle to find out one day!

 

As for records, this is sure to be the most illegal download of this year. Torrentfreak releases those figures around the 27th December. My predictions for games in this year’s top 10 will be in this order Call of Duty: Black OPS, Mafia 2, Fallout New Vegas, Medal of Honor, Darksiders, PES 2011, and StarCraft 2: Wings of liberty.  As for the number of illegal downloads, I am guessing it will be a whopper of a number at around 6-7 million illegal downloads.

The more worrying fact in all of this is the constant rise of illegal downloading. In 2008 the top most illegally downloaded was 1.7 million (Spore), last year 2009 it was 4.1 million (Modern Warfare 2), and if this year is as I suspect! Then it paints a bad picture for the PC Platform, and a very shaky one for the future of PC gaming!

 

 Well as a publisher I’d have to ask myself why bother releasing a game for the PC at all?

Why don’t I just give it away for free…?

 

At least for that PC game the piracy level would be 0%, and that would be another record!

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As a PC man, this is hard for me to say, so listen carefully as I shall say it only once.

“Consoles might be a more popular gaming rig!”

Oh… I think I am going to be sick…

Well it’s true, while there are many benefits of all platforms, the PC has always been highly adaptable and versatile. It is even possible to use Wii remotes with a PC! But of course the main benefit is that a PC is graphically better in all respects, with the worst problem being the cost and complex nature of the machine.

But as a “sit down in your living room and help you relax”, you have to admit, Consoles win every time.  There is nothing better for many a hard worker around the world to come home. Switch on the Box, and the Console and start playing. Which would mean that consoles would be far more popular, right?

Some of the claims I hear from Pro-Pirates is that PC games are rubbish, they have no lasting content, and aren’t worthy of being bought. Gaming consoles are far more popular, but is piracy levels greater than the PC? No, deep down we all know that piracy is greater on the PC because it’s easier, and because it’s easier people pirate more!

What really amazes me about this kind of quote, that “PC Games are rubbish!” People don’t seem to understand that most games are released across the platforms. So if a game that does well in sales, then it can’t mean that the game is rubbish, as it will be the same content across the platform board. More often than not “rubbish” games do exceptionally well in console sales and exceptionally well in PC piracy.

This leads me to believe that pirates are lying! This is just an excuse, so pirates can justify not having to pay for a game. Games are expensive, and no one likes buying a product, and having the feeling they have just been ripped off. But how come we can understand that compensation fraud is driving up the costs of insurance, but not piracy driving up the costs of games. It’s killing the PC industry; just not kid yourself into believing otherwise!

There are some Good Games, Bad Games and Downright Ugly ones too; the platform has nothing to do with the quality. Actually the quality should affect the consoles versions even more, because you can always patch a PC game. A console game is much harder, unless you hold off, as the recently released Fallout: New Vegas stands testament to!

Watch this it’s very funny and scary (PC Version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKIkw3LIoQ

On a PC game this can be patched and downloaded easily and quickly, as in the case for this Steam version.

One of the best was to judge piracy level is to look at the game releases on the PC and Console Gaming rigs. For the Consoles we have the Xbox 360, the PS3 (PlayStation), The Wii, PS2, and Hand Held Devises such as the PSP (PlayStation Portable). These are just to name a few, but in this test I have only looked for the main three XBox, PS3, and PC.

I have used a torrent search engine, because it makes life so much easier, and then searched for games that stretched the platform divide. The torrent search engine provides a static count of the Seed and Peers. I took those results and then divided up the torrent by the platform, either PC or Console, and counted the total seed and peers.

Image of the search for Call of Duty: Black OPS 

If we look at the table of all the torrent results we find some astounding results. We have all assumed that piracy for the PC was greater than the Console, but to find the huge gap between each level is shocking. 

The last two columns show the percentage increase between the Console and PC. So for Call of Duty Black OPS, you can see an increase of 146% (Seed) and 452% (Peer). As a ratio that would be nearly 1.5 and 4.5 greater than the console. Now consider the average illegal PC game will have 18 times more seeders and 20 times more peers than its console counterpart. 

The pie charts show the Console as red, the seed being dark read and the peers being light red, while the PC being in blue. Each individual game title shows a clear majority of blue compared to red sections.

But it is also worthy of note that of all the games displayed, there is a clear two tier piracy level. On the one hand you can see the 6 of the games clearly show a console minority of under 10%. While 3 games show a clear console minority of around 25%.

 

This indicates that the 3 games (Call of Duty: Black OPS, Star Wars: Force Unleashed 2, and PES2011) are highly anticipated games. This allows you to draw a number of conclusions!

Either    (1) The PC platform is far more popular than Consoles!

Or           (2) That people really don’t want to pay for games, and the PC is the machine for the Job!

If you’d like to download the data sheet, that has all the names of the torrents and their counts, you can do so here.  (http://www.warfaceaps.com/files/PCvsConsole Data Sheet.pdf)

What should be taken away from this?

I think it is a good idea to note, from this experiment at least, it suggests there are two types of games. The ones that do well and the ones that do not, platform and cost does not decide. Of course there is probably a sliding scale of games ratings. But unpopular games don’t get pirated more, in fact, as suspected the more popular games are, funnily enough, pirated more.

But what is clearly stated here is that piracy on the PC is far greater than the Console. The lowest percentage being 72%, this shows a serious problem with releasing games on the PC. If you owned a gaming company, producing something that you worked hard on, no matter if it was rubbish. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that there is an awful gamble when it comes to the PC platform.

I know it’s probably not true, but I’d like to think that the PC catapulted gaming into the main stream. If I am honest, piracy probably had something to do with the widespread gaming situation we have today. But if I take that one step further, I believe that piracy will also have a hand in undoing all the great work it started.

A Great Shame!

It is always with a great hesitancy that I publish any results that prove something about the PC. It is so hard to get any kind of statistics on the subject, and even harder to know if it’s from a trustworthy source. In this case publisher companies don’t often release results for PC game sales. What they tend to do is to release a combine sale figure, if they do it at all. A combine result of consoles and PC makes it difficult to know how well/badly the PC games are doing in the fight against piracy!

Mass Effect 2 Week One Sales Top 2 MillionBioware’s sci-fi sequel comes out swinging during its launch week.

By Dustin Quillen, 01/29/2010

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3177757

Wondering how Mass Effect 2 is selling just three days out from its January 26 release date? If EA’s internal figures are to be believed, things are going just fine over at Bioware. The publisher announced that Commander Shepard’s spacefaring sequel has moved over 2 million copies this week.

BioShock 2 Ships 3 Million, GTA IV Sales Top 15 Millionhttp://www.n4g.com/pc/News-485636.aspx

Take-Two announced new sales figures today during its fiscal 2010 first quarter results. The company’s first major title in 2010, BioShock 2, has shipped 3 million copies.

 

Assassin’s Creed II sales soar over 6 million January 14, 2010 in News

http://www.gamegrep.com/news/28696-assassins_creed_ii_sales_soar_over_6_million/

Despite being threatened by several other titles back in Novemeber 2009, Ubisoft today confirmed that Assassin’s Creed II has surpassed 6 million units sold.

 

I spent many days searching the internet for news articles, reports, and whitepapers. I was lucky to come across the next two pieces. While these are not definitive by any means they do go a long way in proving trends.

PC Games 14% of 2007 Retail Games Sales; World of Warcraft and Sims Top PC Sales Chartsby Aaron Linde Jan 24, 2008 5:16pm CST

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50939

Data from the sales-tracking firm NPD reveals that retailers sold 267.8 million games in 2007, 36.4 million of which were PC titles. Console games brought in $6.6 billion, selling 153.9 million units total, while portable software hauled a record $2 billion in revenue with 77.5 million units sold.

1 World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade 2.25 million
2 World of Warcraft 914,000
3 The Sims 2 Seasons Expansion Pack 433,000
4 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 383,000
5 Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 343,000
6 Sim City 4 Deluxe 284,000
7 The Sims 2 281,000
8 The Sims 2 Bon Voyage Expansion Pack 271,000
9 Age of Empires III 259,000
10 The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack 236,000

 Table Edited

NPD: Record Year for Industry Totals $17.94 Billion; Halo 3, Nintendo Consoles Dominateby Nick Breckon Jan 17, 2008 7:01pm

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/50809

The top ten software titles follow, listed in order of units sold:

1 Halo 3                                                                 X360 4.82 million
2 Wii Play with Wii Remote                           Wii 4.12 million
3 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare              X360 3.04 million
4 Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock             PS2 2.72 million
5 Super Mario Galaxy                                      Wii 2.52 million
6 Pokemon Diamond Version                      DS 2.48 million
7 Madden NFL 08                                              PS2 1.90 million
8 Guitar Hero II                                                  PS2 1.89 million
9 Assassin’s Creed                                            X360 1.87 million
10 Mario Party 8                                                  Wii 1.82 million

Table Edited  

 

Normally the Top 10 Charts will only tell you what games are the current favourites. Revealing the position they hold, what their previous position was, but no sales figures or units. What is so good about these two charts are the clear differences, though again I state clearly that this is by far definitive, and only allows us to draw some generalisations!

If you look at the figures between the two tables, one thing is very clear; that Console sales outstrip PC game sales many times over. The differences are huge, so huge there has to be a good reason for this. As you can see the largest percentage increase is 873%, and the average is 655%. So straight away I am more likely to sell 6 times more on the console than the PC.

Rank PC Retail Sales Console Sales Percentage increase!
1 2,250,000 4,820,000 214%
2 914,000 4,120,000 451%
3 433,000 3,040,000 702%
4 383,000 2,720,000 710%
5 343,000 2,520,000 735%
6 284,000 2,480,000 873%
7 281,000 1,900,000 676%
8 271,000 1,890,000 697%
9 259,000 1,870,000 722%
10 236,000 1,820,000 771%

 

Now there are probably a number of reasons why people prefer to play games on the console. Some people prefer a big screen TV, and PC machine specifications can confuse a lot of people. But personally I believe the biggest reason why console sales are 6 times higher than PC, is because console games are harder to pirate.

The other note worthy thing about the PC table, the results are very gradual until they hit the top two spots, where the results suddenly start to double.

 

This isn’t a coincidence, and I believe it is because of the special nature of the top 2 games. World of Warcraft games are purely online server games, which means they have a pretty unique protection system. Anyone who disobeys the rules, yet alone tries to play the game illegally can be met with severe punishment, like being kicked off the server for good. So anyone caught with a duplicate serial key, a unique identifier, will lose their game and makes it almost impossible to pirate.

What does this say for the sales of PC games?

WarFace is setting to find this question out! While it will be almost impossible to rule out piracy, we are going to account for it. By taking results of both illegal downloaders and customers, we can find the ratio. WarFace will once and for all answer one of the biggest questions of the modern age!

Piracy is bad? Isn’t it?

Yes of course, but what I am talking about here is how bad is it? This is one of the main problems with Piracy! Any figures or statistics are hard to measure, hard to quantify, and even harder to get. Anyone looking into Piracy will know about the game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”. Not because it was the most pirated, or that it was one of the best selling game of 2009. But because of all the attention, people have actually gathered some piracy and sales statistics for it. So when people talk about the scale of PC Game piracy, people always refer back to Modern Warfare 2.

The Game itself had as much praise as it did criticism. Some people loved it, and some thought it was not as good as the last, however good or bad people still kept talking. The story for this game doesn’t end just with its piracy story. However if you would like more information I suggest reading it from this very informative site. (http://www.modernwarfail2.com)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2 is a first person shooter developed by Infinity Ward, and published by Activision. This game was highly anticipated, because it was the sequel to the bestselling Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. During the release months it received much critical acclaim and lots of TV advertising. You can read more here at Wiki.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_of_Duty:_Modern_Warfare_2)

 

What does that mean? Is piracy a big problem?
Yes, but it is not a clear cut answer! One of the main ways game publishers can tell if a copy is pirated is through support. For example, as cheeky as it is, even people who download the game illegally will sometimes require tech support. From this, and the suspicious questions asked, Publishers can guess as to the number of illegal copies that exist in the market.

The best way to see the problem is to compare the sales and piracy pattern. When Modern Warfare 2 for the PC is matched against the XBox 360 version, we find an almost trend reversal. That the sales for the Xbox matches the piracy level for the PC; and the Xbox piracy figures matches the sales for the PC. Of course the scale is different, but it does give an insight into the sales that should have been for the PC, if Piracy wasn’t a problem.

 Picture taken from PCFormat, Issue 239, May 2010, Article: A World of Piracy, by: Tamsin Oxford.

 

So there is a problem?!?
But no one is sure how big the problem is! Most pro-torrent sites will point out that an illegal copy won’t mean a direct sale. Also arguing illegal copies are people speaking out about the restrictive DRMs bundled with the software. Claiming that if Game Publishing companies removed the DRMs, resulting sales would go up. There is no evidence to support this, and even evidence to support the opposite.

The PC Game “World of Goo” suffered a 90% piracy rate at the hands of illegal downloaders. The fact is even more shameful as this was the first release from a small independent games company. The game itself was released without a DRM protecting its media, and also received critical praise as being one of the best puzzle games of 2008. Did resulting sales increase? No, a shame, but a lesson learned!

DRMs aren’t too restrictive, are they?
But the customers have a point … DRMs ARE restrictive! They generally only annoy the customer, but the illegal downloaders rarely experience any DRM issues.

In 2008, Assassin’s Creed was released for the PC. What is significant, is the game’s DRM, which was badly cracked, and thousands of illegal downloaders got their hands on this game. DRMs have security features that if someone attempts to remove the security protection, the game will fail. In this case, this is exactly what happened; the resulting bug was called the Jerusalem bug. (Referring to the place “Jerusalem” that when entered into during the game, would cause it to crash! Not the actual living insect, yes there is one!) But of course this wasn’t discovered until much later and Ubisoft received the full brunt of blame, not the people who tried to remove the DRM.

Is it right that DRM’s are on the game in the first place? No.
Is it wrong that companies use DRMs? Again the answer has to be No!

So there is nothing the Publishers can do?
Two horrible words, Cloud Computing! For many reasons, this is the worst thing to hit the PC gaming industry since the … DRM. Don’t get me wrong the technology is very clever and has much potential, just like the …DRM. But honesty I can’t blame the Gaming Publishers for wanting to protect their products. What is really troubling is that OnLive beta across America in June 2010, and I feel that this is too early.

Cloud computing, for gaming, the game sits on a server and is streamed by video to the user. There are a hundred and one benefits to the game publishers, and nearly none for the customer. But what I don’t like about this the most, is you will never own your game in any way.

What’s the Answer then?!?!
We have it, and we want to tell you all about it! We have all the benefits:
• Not an intrusive DRM!
• A complete Piracy Solution, a Strategy!
• Benefits for Customers and Game Publishers!
• New Markets!
• New Control over your products!
• Low Costs, High Returns, Larger Profit Margins!
Come find out what we are talking about!

Information Sources:
Wikipedia Review of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”
Modernwarfail2.com: Sales flop in the UK!
Gamespot.com: Five-day sales hit $550 million
TorrentFreak.com: Most Pirated Game of 2009!
Arstechnica.com: A Crying Shame, World of Goo piracy rate near 90%

Picture taken from PCFormat, Issue 239, May 2010, Article: A World of Piracy, by: Tamsin Oxford.