November 25, 2011 6:00 PM | Ryan Langley
[Console digital editor Ryan Langley examines PlayStation Network's debuts and successes during October 2011, using leaderboard and chart data to analyze their sales and downloads.]
This October saw a ton of new prerogatives -- a new "PSN exclusives" selection, which attempts to promote games that are exclusive to the service, as well as PS2 Classics, a selection of classic titles from the pervious era of games.
But how have these new titles, alongside a myriad of other new releases, stacked up alongside Xbox Live Arcade, and how have they done against one of the busiest retail months of the year? We intend to find out. Thanks to the help from our friends over at PSNStores.com, we're able to give much more data than we could have done alone.
We've looked at the Leaderboards for the games we could follow (noting how they may fare against their Xbox Live Arcade cousins) and the officially released Top 20 games in North America. We've also determined how well the games have performed with reviewers using the Metacritic rating system.
He's On Fire!
In the first week of October, we got a complete glut of titles. For the standard PSN fare, we received Eufloria, Sega Bass Fishing, Space Channel 5 Part 2, Crysis, and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition. We could only follow Sega Bass Fishing unfortunately, which ended up being one of the worst reviewed titles for the month. It also only added 6,650 players for the month.
According to the Top 20, however, which you can see below, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition ended up being the most purchased title for the month, and Crysis also did well hitting third place, both being some of the highest rated games for the month.
Additionally, the week also comprised a new type of download -- the "PS2 Classics" collection, featuring God Hand, Grim Grimiore, Maximo, Odin Sphere, and Ring Of Red.
Of that group, two made it into the Top 20 for the month -- Odin Sphere at 15th, and God Hand at 19th. It's unknown how much these titles actually cost to produce, but with no outlying functionality like Leaderboards and Trophies, they'll likely recoup their costs after a month or so.
Alongside all the releases in the first week of the month, Chrono Trigger also popped up on PSOne Classics -- and ended up being the 4th most downloaded title for the month.
The second week of October contained only one new title -- Sideway: New York, which has no Leaderboards we could follow and didn't appear in the month's Top 20 list.
Despite an empty second week, the third contained an explosion of content, featuring Beat Hazard Ultra, Okabu, Payday: The Heist, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, Dungeon Defenders, Real Steel and Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space.
Of these, the only titles we could follow were Payday, Real Steel, and Dungeon Defenders -- the rest didn't make it into the Top 20. Payday ended up being the second most downloaded title for the month, however the game was given away for free for those who picked up all of September's "PSN Play" titles, and it's unknown if these numbers contain those who downloaded it for free.
Real Steel showed low Leaderboard numbers, but it's likely these haven't been logging play correctly. The game ended up in the Top 20 at 17th place.
Dungeon Defenders has both a placing and some quality download numbers -- 37,383 players were on the Leaderboards over the month, miles ahead of any game we could follow otherwise, and slightly higher than the 35,946 Xbox Live Arcade players. The game gained a place as the 7th most downloaded title for the month.
Also available in this time frame was Pinballistik -- though only in Europe. For its limited region release, it only added 3,460 players, quite low.
Festival of Zombies
The final week contained Infamous 2: Festival of Blood, Daytona USA, PixelJunk Sidescroller, Worms Crazy Golf, and Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone. None of these titles appeared in the monthly Top 20, but this is likely due to the limited amount of release time.
It appears that few bought PixelJunk Sidescroller, seemingly the lowest selling title in the PixelJunk series, though Racers may fit this category. Only 4,516 players appeared in the first week. While I love the PixelJunk series, it might need to shake things up a bit before the brand falls into obscurity.
Daytona USA likely has more players than it proclaims as it doesn't count those who just play online or strictly Arcade mode, and Worms Crazy Golf doesn't seem to have hit much of a player base.
The Top 20 List
Alongside all of the new releases, Resident Evil 4 HD continues to sell well for Capcom alongside its PSOne classics, clearly still a big franchise for PlayStation owners. From Dust and Mortal Kombat: Arcade Kollection are also selling well from last month. It's a bit of a shame to see so many old games on the list compared to new content, but we are a nostalgic generation of gamers.
We also followed some other games from last month. BloodRayne and The Baconing have dropped off significantly in sales since their PSN Play promotion, and all other titles haven't sold well at all, which is a shame.
November is already a quiet month for the PlayStatiion Network -- titles like Max & The Magic Marker, Jurassic Park: The Game, Hydrophobia: Prophecy, and BurgerTime: World Tour are touted as the big releases. This might be a good thing however, since it's such a busy time for the retail space, and these will get lost in the mix.