Saturday September 8, 2007 10:53 am
Games With Online Multiplayer Sell More
A research paper from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has been released that suggests that games with online support can be crucial to a game’s retail success. Not surprisingly, another way to boost sales is to create a quality game (defined as those with a 90+ score on Metacritic), with these well-reviewed titles outselling the average release well above 5-to-1.
While making good games typically means making good money, naturally, it is a bit surprising to see the report indicate that sales can be doubled by dropping in an online mode. With online games selling twice the number copies that offline titles do, it’s curious to note that over half of games released don’t offer even basic online support.
Read More | Ars Technica
All of which makes the success of the Wii a little hard to reconcile. Nintendo is fairly well known for its mediocre online presence yet it is the top-selling console of the last year by far. Even more confusing is that Nintendo ships every Wii with online capabilities yet even recent news about obvious online games like Guitar Hero III have been plaugued with “will-they-or-won’t-they” rumors.
The other possible connection is that while they may perhaps be lacking in online mode, the function of online play—social interaction—is built into most Wii hits. Games like Mario Party 8 and Wii Play are by nature social games and if the driving force behind gamers demand for mulitplayer titles such as Gears of War is to play with others, it makes a little more sense. The desire for community can readily be met by games with complex network play strategies but for some it may be just as easy to enjoy some multiplayer by inviting over a few friends.
Some other interesting tidbits in the report include the fact that the obviously desirable critical success (90+ on Metacritic) is pretty tough to come by: In the period examined in the study (November 1, 2005 through June 1, 2007) only 2% of games achieved this mark. But it is still significant to note that critical success translates into increased sales (the 5-to-1 mark is identified as being a 531% increase in gross sales over the average of $11.5 million). Sometimes games like Psychonauts get rave reviews but flop commerically and speculation persists that critics and ratings are irrelevant, but according to this study, that just isn’t so. The study also notes that the Nintendo Wii is releasing more games than any other system provided you factor in downloadable games (Virtual Console) but the PlayStation 3 has the highest average review score on Metacritic at 73 compared to the overall average of 69.
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