2010 Best Sellers

Video game players heard the call and snapped up more than 12 million copies of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops in 2010, making the title the best-selling game of the year, according to a report released Thursday by NPD Group.

Though sales of video games played on consoles such as the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 fell 6% to $9.36 billion in 2010, total game software sales were about $15.5 billion last year, roughly flat compared with 2009. That’s because sales generated by PC games, smart phone games and online virtual goods grew last year, making up for much of the lag in console games, according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier.

 

Top 10 games for 2010

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard)
  2. Madden NFL 11 (Electronic Arts)
  3. Halo: Reach (Microsoft)
  4. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo)
  5. Red Dead Redemption (Take-Two Interactive)
  6. Wii Fit Plus (Nintendo)
  7. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
  8. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision Blizzard)
  9. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
  10. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive)

Top 10 games for December 2010

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard)
  2. Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
  3. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (Activision Blizzard)
  4. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
  5. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nintendo)
  6. Epic Mickey (Disney)
  7. Madden NFL 11 (Electronic Arts)
  8. Michael Jackson the Experience (Ubisoft)
  9. NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive)
  10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Electronic Arts)
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UPDATE: Uncharted Waters Online

Following the start of the Open Beta stage of Tecmo Koei’s multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG), Uncharted Waters Online, they have released a selection of artwork showing some of the characters, boats and scenery.

Uncharted Waters Online is a MMROPG set within several timelines during the Age of Exploration as a romantic and historic fictional account of the era. Players will live and play real world of 15th century to make their own history. Players may choose from among 6 nationalities: England, Dutch Republic, Ancien Régime in France, Spanish Empire, Kingdom of Portugal, and Republic of Venice. As well the player may choose from several occupations after choosing a basic class: adventurer, merchant, and soldier.

For more information or to join the open beta, please visit the official Uncharted Waters Online website at: http://global.netmarble.com/uwo/.

Via Electronic Theatre

Online Gamers In China Up 41.5 Percent

According to China newspaper Xinhua, a report by a publication of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says that, “Chinese are living a lifestyle in which the Internet has become a preferred channel for them to purchase goods, seek entertainment and acquire information.”

The numbers that the report provides certainly support this. The report says that China had 265 million online game users (or at least registered accounts) by the end of 2009, up 41.5% year-on-year from 2008, and had 108 million online shoppers by the end of last year, up 45.9% from 2008.

China had 420 million online users overall as of June 30, and had 384 million at the end of 2009, which would mean that 69% of China’s Internet users at the end of 2009 were playing games online and 28% of the online population in China made online purchases.

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The world internet users barrier broke the two billion user setpoint in 2010 but the Chinese market represents over 20% of the total global internet users.

The online connections on the mainland are north of 420 million users. But what is exceptional is that the mainland online users represent  31% of the population are connected to the world wide web. Apart from the exceptional number of users the Chinese authorities have implemented a very advanced internet service and over 98% of users are serviced with broadband, but the width is a problem and connection speeds average 857kbps much slower than in the USA, South  Korea and Japan. Also in need of further development are IP addresses as China has only 250 million IPv4 connections. China has the ongoing problem of installing the network infrastructure digital backbone that can support and keep up with the supply demand

Via TNW Asia, Shutter Voice

Not Another Top Ten MMO List….

This time by Yahoo’s Associated Content

MMORPG’s may not be very old but they are one of the hottest genre of games on the market. Some MMORPG’s cost to buy and then cost every month you play, some cost for the initial game then are free, and some are free all the time. MMORPG’s take a large amount of your time so knowing which games are the best will save you lots of time. Here is a list of the top 10 MMORPG’s.

1. World Of Warcraft.

No game has a larger number of players. This is the most massive of the MMORPG’s. While Ultima Online may have popularized the MMORPG World Of Warcraft took the MMORPG to a whole new level. No other game has received so much attention in the media from people dying while playing it, psychological studies on it, economic studies, and no single game has been parodied in the media more then World Of Warcraft. This is little question that World Of Warcraft deserves the top spot on this list.

2. Ultima Online

Yet another aging game on this list but Ultima Online could close down and it would still belong on this list of its historical importance to the genre. I will not go into describing the game if you know anything about MMORPG’s you know about Ultima Online already. All I will say is what most already know that Ultima Online is the game that popularized the MMORPG genre. This is the grand daddy of all MMORPG and what is amazing is it is still being played after over 10 years.

3. Mafia Wars

Is Mafia Wars a MMORPG? This is an arguable point and because of this I think that at least one Facebook game needs to be represented here. It certainly is massive in its numbers beating most every game on this list for players. It is played online, and it is a kind of roleplaying game. The in game interaction though is limited compared to other MMORPG’s. Whether or not you consider Mafia Wars a MMORPG you can not deny its huge popularity. Mafia Wars also goes to show that a game can be good and free.

4. Guild Wars

Guild Wars is another example of an aging MMORPG. Guild Wars does not charge a subscription fee. Once you buy the game you can play as long as you like. Some expansions have been made but not as many as other MMORPG. Guild Wars offers gameplay on PVP servers of none PVP servers for those like myself that don’t really like PVP. While Guild Wars is getting older it is still popular and Guild Wars is doing what Star Wars Galaxies should do and is making a Guild Wars II which means Guild Wars II should replace Guild Wars on this list soon. It is likely that Guild Wars II will be just as popular as Guild Wars was at its peak.

5. Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI has the distinction of being the first cross platform MMORPG. The gameplay for Final Fantasy XI is a bit different as it is a console based game not a computer based  game. Having limited inputs may bother some players. Playing Final Fantasy XI is a bit different then other MMORPG’s. Final Fantasy XI is getting a bit old but still has a strong following. The real reason for the popularity of this game is the Final Fantasy world which it is based in. If it were not for this being a Final Fantasy game it would likely not be as popular now as it once was, yet now it has more players then ever because it is a Final Fantasy game. If you are a fan of Final Fantasy then this would be a good game but otherwise I would not suggest it.

6. Star Wars Galaxies

Unfortunately Star Wars Galaxies seems to be on its last leg. Though Star Wars Galaxies has seen many expansions it is old and the number of players has been dropping. Star Wars Galaxies is a better game for most players then Star Trek Online though because it is more planet based and even when in space there is much more to do. On planet you have so much more to do then Star Trek Online and there is so much more depth to the game because of its age and all the expansions. A brand new Star Wars Galaxies II would be a good idea to update the game graphically. Star Wars fans will love this game. Lucas Arts has a good reputation for making good games and this was a good game when first released. Unfortunately age has not been treated it well.

7. Star Trek Online

The Star Trek franchise is big so it is amazing that it has only this year got a MMORPG of its own. Star Trek Online takes place in the far future past the Star Trek the Next Generation. You play as a captain of your own ship and you can be a member of Starfleet or after a time you can become a member of the Klingon Empire. The game takes place both in space and on the ground. A majority of the gameplay is in space. The gameplay between space and land are very different with the space gameplay being more developed. Being a newer game the graphics are some of the best. If you are a Star Trek fan you will love this game but if you are not all the time in space and what would be perceived as lack of action might make this game not the right one for you.

8. City Of Heroes/Villains

These are two games made by the same company but I am going to count them as one in the same. You will have to decide for yourself whether you prefer playing a hero or a villain. Both games are basically the same but being played from opposite ends of the law. Everyone wants to be a superhero and thanks to City of Heroes now everyone can. City Of Heroes/Villains lets you chose a costume, and powers. City Of Heroes/Villains cost to purchase and then charges you a monthly fee to continue to play.

9.Pirates of the Caribbean Online

With the popularity of the Pirates of theCaribbean it was just a matter of time before there was a Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG made. Pirates of the Caribbean Online is also on this list because it is a kids game and there are literally hundreds of kids MMORPG games many of which like Pirates of the Caribbean Online are free to play. With kids MMORPG’s being so popular having so many people playing so much time one had to make the list. With the backing of a major franchise and being free Pirates of the Caribbean Online is the kids game to make the list. The Pirates of the Caribbean Online is a pretty simple game and not at all top of the line in terms of graphics, the game looks a bit dated even though it is not that old but the reality is when it first came out it was a bit dated. You are also limited in what you can do unless you pay to upgrade your account. If you do not mind this dated game and want to be a part of the Pirates of the Caribbean world then this game could be for you.

10. Free Realms

Free Realms is made by Sony so had a lot backing it. As the name suggests Free Realms is free to play. Free Realms is very similar to World of Warcraft with a similar setting, and theme. Free Realms is more family friendly and kid oriented then World of Warcraft. Less emphasis is placed on battling other players and more emphasis is placed on individual gameplay.

StarCraft’s Rating Battlefield

The Internet, taken as a sort of buzzing collective, can be hard on games. The Amazon ratings for StarCraft 2 have become a battlefield, with many rating the game based on features that gamers feel should have been included, or trashing the game because it’s only one-third of the full release; the Zerg and Protoss sections of the campaign will be released at some point in the future. Looking at Blizzard’s history with shipping games, we feel safe assuming that it won’t be a matter of months.

The question is a good one: is StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty a hobbled experience, cracked into three parts in order to feed the chubby god of Activision’s bottom line? We’re still spending hours each day playing the game to get ready for the full review on Sunday, but we have thoughts on the matter we’re ready to share now.

This is a large game

Battlefield Nerd: Amazon ratings have become a battleground with this week's debut of StarCraft II

The original game featured 10 missions for each of the three races, for a total of 30. StarCraft 2 only has 26 missions, according to the archives terminal on your ship’s bridge. Did Blizzard think we wouldn’t notice the missing missions? For shame! I’m off to rant angrily in the comment sections of popular online retailers! One gamer complained in our forum that he was able to beat the single-player campaign in a single sitting. One 17-hour-long sitting [Update: this person has since contacted me to explain he wasn’t complaining, he played this long because he was engaged with the story.]

The number of missions nearly matches the entirety of the first game, but that’s only half the story. The single-player missions in StarCraft 2 are nowhere near as formulaic and repetitive as we’re used to. Each mission has at least one gimmick, one trick, or one new unit to introduce to the player. Lava that rises and lowers? Zombie-like enemies that only come out at night? Trains to attack while you avoid a roving death squad? Weapons to steal and then use against the enemy? These missions are much more involved and creative than most real-time strategy games, and that level of care and design doesn’t happen quickly.

Most missions take around 30 minutes to complete on Normal difficulty, so even if you beat each one the first time you play, and never go back for the secondary objectives, the game is 13 hours long. In reality, each mission has secondary, and even tertiary, goals; you’ll rarely be able to do everything during your first attempt. That’s not counting playing each mission across the difficulty levels, which will force you to use different strategies to succeed.

That’s only part of the story here, as there is a significant amount of content in conversations, flavor text, upgrade choices, research options, mercenaries to hire, and TV news reports to watch in the hub areas of the game. The game shares some similarities with Mass Effect and Wing Commander in this way; moving your ship around and interacting with the world is a good time. The game also takes some artful jabs at Apple and Fox News. If you aren’t willing to spend some time between each mission you’ll be missing out on a big part of the game. So we’re up to what now, 15 hours? 20?

You can also play competitive games against the AI to practice your strategies before venturing online, and the game features an array of challenge missions to build your chops. The great thing about these challenges is that they give you a safe place to build up your skills in the game, allowing you to learn the higher-level tactics and tricks at your own pace. Here’s a basic challenge:

Test your knowledge of Protoss units and what they counter. Defend your Pylons from all three waves, and try to keep as many units alive as possible.

On the expert end of things, you’ll be asked to kill enemy units using only hot keys. These challenges aren’t easy, but mastering them will give you a deeper understanding of the game. Nothing like this was available in the first game, and it adds hours upon hours of single-player time to the game. There are nine challenge missions, with 27 achievements to earn.

There is a full game’s worth of story and single-player content here, no question. We’re dealing with a game that ships with much more content in the box than its predecessor, and we’re complaining that it’s being kept artificially short? Come on.

Via Ars Technica; Related 10 Things You Already Love About StarCraft II

Blizzard Reigns

Reign Man: Starcraft II debuts as this week's top-selling PC game in North America and the UK, and currently leads as the biggest-selling software title across all platforms in both regions. (Gamasutra)

Starcraft II: Wings Of Liberty has dominated both the UK and North America PC Charts for online retailer Amazon this week.

The news was revealed by Gamasutra in the site’s Sailing The World weekly column and shows Blizzard’s dominance especially in North America.

Blizzard holds all five spots in the US with both the standard and collector’s edition of Starcraft II entering and number one and two respectively for both the UK and US.

The original Starcraft Battle Chest, World Of Warcraft and the expansion Burning Crusade fill the rest of the spots.

Top five PC charts for Amazon can be found below:

North America:

  1. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard)
  2. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty – Collector’s Edition (Blizzard)
  3. Starcraft Battle Chest (Blizzard)
  4. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard)
  5. World of Warcraft (Blizzard).

UK:

  1. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard)
  2. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty – Collector’s Edition (Blizzard)
  3. The Sims 3: Ambitions (EA Games)
  4. Football Manager 2010 (Sega)
  5. The Sims 3 (EA Games).

Via IncGamers

Numbers Are In: Gamers Prefer To Download

It’s no secret that digital downloads of video games — be it on the console or PC — are growing in popularity.  However, the latest numbers may come as a surprise to some.

According to a newly published study by market researchers at the NPD Group, entitled “PC Games Digital Downloads”, almost half of the purchases of PC games in 2009 were done online.  The survey estimates that 21.3 million PC games were purchased online, while 23.5 million games were sold in U.S. retail stores last year.

That places the percentage of downloads at about 47.5 percent.  Overall Steam was the most popular download service, followed by Direct2Drive, Blizzard’s direct download system, EA’s direct download system, and the World of Warcraft MMO.

Via DailyTech