While rumors are starting to swirl about Modern Warfare 3 and its potential 2011 release developed at the hands of Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch's Black Ops is still claiming accolades for its incredible performance last year. The NPD Group has finally released its December and year end video game sales data for 2010, and not surprisingly Black Ops reigned supreme. Its total sales of 12 million copies, split among four platforms, more than doubles the sales of the next best selling title, Madden NFL 11.
Black Ops' incredible sales began with a record breaking 5.6 million units sold, shattering the record previously held by Modern Warfare 2, which launched to a then staggering opening of 4.6 million units. Black Ops then went on to shatter the five day sales record of $550 million, also set by Modern Warfare 2, by raking in more than $650 million during its first five days. The final caveat was that Black Ops decimated Modern Warfare 2's $1 billion landmark by reaching it before Christmas, while Modern Warfare 2 didn't accomplish that feat until early in the next year following its release.
Across the ocean in the United Kingdom, Black Ops' success has also been unparalleled. In its first week it sold £113.8 million ($177.3 million), setting a record for single week video game sales in the UK. This is despite a late release and fierce competition from runner up FIFA 11 in the football hungry nation.
The massive success of Black Ops would seem to indicate for once and for all that blockbuster games have become the driving force of the gaming industry, but this is not the case. NPD analyst Anita Frazer explains:
"This might lead some to think the industry is becoming more hit-driven with sales more concentrated among the top titles, but in fact, sales of the top 10 titles this year represented about the same percentage of total unit sales as they did last year."
What about the representation of blockbuster titles in the top 10? Frazer explains further:
"On an SKU basis, games that are in the top 10 for the month that aren't reflected in our title-level best-selling list include Kinect Sports from Microsoft, UDraw Studiowith UDraw Tablet from THQ, and Dance Central from Microsoft. Outside of Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed, the top list on both a SKU and title level basis reflects an array of content that is appealing outside the core audience for gaming that you might expect to sell well during the holiday timeframe."
If that's a bit too verbose, what she's saying is that the top 10 continues to contain titles that do not fit the blockbuster games category, although this isn't necessarily reflected in their sales charts for title-level games. If anything, this is a sign that casual games and peripheral driven products for consoles are here to stay, and that they will continue to be an important part of the gaming industry. The charts Frazer is referring to are listed below.
Interesting to note is that Modern Warfare 2 still managed to make the list for top selling games of 2010, despite a large chunk of its sales taking place in 2009.
In any case, Call of Duty: Black Ops' sales successes are extremely impressive. Treyarch and Activision have delivered a game that players clearly can not get enough of, and Game Rant congratulates them on their achievements.
Ranters, how many of the top selling games of 2010 did you play? What do you think will be the top selling games of 2011?
Source: Industry Gamer, Gamasutra