TA Gaming Stats - 2012

By Chewie, 3 years ago
This report is for the period January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012.

2012...two thousand and twelve...two zero one two...what to say about 2012...well, for a start, this happened.

This was a year of ups and downs, of Dark Knight Rises and Skyfalls, of ridiculously photogenic guys and ridiculously repainted Jesuses, of Fifty Shades of Grey and 39,000 metre space jumps, of Olympics and Obamacare, of Pussy Rioters and PSY-chos, of Kony and Carly Rae.

In the world of gaming we saw the big budget sequels doing the big business as always. However, we also saw the emergence of some interesting new IPs and more alternatives to the blockbuster titles began to raise their heads into the firing line. Free-to-play made its way onto the XBLA and achievements began sneaking onto non-Microsoft devices. We saw the emergence of crowd-funding, with some projects from cult personalities and companies pulling in millions of cash dollars of support. However, we also saw big departures and the doors closing forever on some organisations. Some developers seemed to have a revolving door of people in and out, with Bowling rolling away from Infinity Ward, Molyneux moving out of Lionhead, Zeschuk and Muzyka bidding farewell to Bioware, and Capps, Fergusson and Cliffy B escaping from Epic, amongst others. We've also seen the ongoing misfortunes of some major players, not least being the steady decline of THQ into bankruptcy. With such turbulent times, who knows what 2013 will bring for our favourite addiction hobby.

At the beginning of the year, we would have expected some big titles on this chart that never materialised. With highly anticipated games such as Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite (Xbox 360) pushed back to this Easter, maybe the early part of this year will give the industry the shot in the arm that it seems to need.

To compile all the statistics for the year, my Ewok helpers the Statisticles and I constructed a special high-end number crunching machine called the Statistron 3000. We had a few setbacks over the weeks, not least of which included the Statistron 3000 thinking that the top genre for the year was 'Zombie' and the most popular achievement was 'That easy one from that game everyone was playing'. Last week we also had a minor catastrophe when Cornelius the Statisticle got stuck inside the inner workings of the machine. However, we're now back on track as it turns out that by hooking himself up to the Statistron 3000 from the inside, Cornelius has actually got it working better than ever.

So, without further ado and with Fenton the Statisticle pushing the buttons and pulling the levers, on with the Stats for the whole of 2012 here on TA.

Games Started
137,408 TrueAchievements gamers started a total of 2,209,747 games between them (2,153 different games).

The Retail Games Started on TA for 2012 is dominated by sequels and spinoffs. I count only three completely new IPs on the entire chart. Cue bemoaning about a stale industry that plays it safe and doesn't take risks on new ideas.

During the weeks (indeed, months) after their release, Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II seemed to wage a closer head to head battle than the American election, with each leading the way over the other at different points. However, with the numbers tallied for the entire year, it's clear which Fall-released shooter rival came out on top. Halo 4 was started by a massive over 73,000 TA'ers, landing it comfortably in first place, whereas CoD: BlOps 2 manages just over 55,000 starters for a fourth place finish. These numbers are considerably more impressive when we realise that these game were released in November, so managed to pull in these figures in only two months.

It's the battle of the RPGs next as our game of the year, Borderlands 2 (Xbox 360) lands in second place with over 56,000 starters, outdoing what for many was one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year, Mass Effect 3 in third place.

Interestingly, in fifth and sixth are two games from the same series: new release Assassin's Creed III grabs 38,000 starters, with last year's Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360) pulling in 26,000. With numbers like these, especially for a game released the previous year, I think we'll be seeing plenty more assassin-based time-travelly-wavvelly shenanigans in the years to come.

Other games released last year that make an appearance include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in eighth, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in tenth, Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360) in twelfth, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary in fifteenth, Saints Row: The Third in sixteenth, Battlefield 3 in eighteenth and Dead Island (Xbox 360) in twentieth. Many of these games came out towards the end of 2011 so it's little surprise that they would appear on the chart this year.

Like Assassin's Creed and Halo, the Resident Evil franchise gets a double entry this year. However, unlike the other series entries, Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360) and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City were both released this year. Although, Operation Racoon City was handled by a different developer than Capcom and is a spin-off from the main series, the sheer abundance of Resident Evil cropping up recently (especially with the upcoming port of Resident Evil Revelations) as well as some mixed reviews, has lead to accusations of some over-zombie-milking from some quarters. However, the decent numbers on these tables suggest that fans feel there's life in the series yet. Also, zombie-milking sounds gross.

Released at the tail end of the year's release schedule, Far Cry 3 does very well to pull in over 21,000 starters and a fourteenth place spot. This game took a lot of people by surprise with its quality and polish and word-of-mouth has led to consistently high numbers going into the new year.

Those few new IPs I was talking about make their appearance on the lower half of the chart: Dishonored does pretty well with over 21,000 starters, landing it a number thirteen spot. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning grabs seventeenth place with almost 20,000 starters and last year's Dead Island (Xbox 360) shambles into twentieth place. We're already getting a sequel to Dead Island, in the form of Dead Island Riptide (Xbox 360), but will it do as well as its predecessor and will it prove what the other games on the table have done: that sequels sell? I don't know if the rumours of a sequel to Dishonored will pan out, but with decent sales, it's looking quite likely and I'd say it would probably do well. A sequel to KoA? Seriously unlikely.

Top Retail Games Started

Whilst Retail is full of sequels, Arcade leads the way when it comes to original ideas. As well as new intellectual properties, the Arcade also introduced and developed some new business and purchasing models, with free-to-play, episodic content and app integration being a key component in some of the popular titles. The Arcade also pulls in some very impressive numbers at the top of the table, with the top four games pulling in enough numbers to challenge even some of the titles on the Retail table.

Minecraft had been around on PC for a few years, building up a massive fan base of dedicated players and fans, before making the jump to Xbox in May in the form of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, so it's little wonder that this massively popular dig-and-build-em-up leads the way significantly on Arcade Games Started for 2012, with over 35,000 starters.

Probably the biggest overall success for Arcade this year, despite coming second on this chart, is The Walking Dead (Xbox 360). The recipient of multiple Game of the Year Awards, the game has become a vanguard for storytelling in gaming and used a monthly episodic release to allow for a reduced cost per episode and also leave fans salivating for more. Being featured as part of the Countdown to 2013 Sale that included the first episode for free also meant that people in their droves decided to pick up the title. Me? I enjoyed making Lee die over and over and over in every single action sequence, but I also bawled like a baby at the end. Analyse that.

As the sequel to the hugely popular and notoriously difficult Trials HD, the arguablyy easier racing puzzle-platformer Trials Evolution (not including the tough as nails DLC) pulls in a hefty 23,000 starters for third place.

Although its unique free-to-play selling point surely accounts for many of Happy Wars (Xbox 360)' over 20,000 starters, that shouldn't take away from most players sheer enjoyment of the title. In fact, it was named Best Action Game here on TA and the developers have even reached out to us to thank us for the accolade and consistently provide updates and fan support for the title. A free game that's also excellent and supported strongly by the devs? Why aren't you adding to these numbers?

A lot of releases on the Arcade this year were tinged with nostalgia, being either sequels, remakes or reboots to classic titles: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD makes it into sixth with over 8,000 starters, The Simpsons Arcade shows up in eleventh with nearly 6,000 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pulls in over 4,500 at seventeenth. Even developers of popular retail titles have dabbled with the Arcade for games that act as sort of spin-offs to their main titles: Alan Wake's American Nightmare, a semi-sequel/spin-off of 2010's Alan Wake, grabs seventh place and Rock Band Blitz, a peripheral-less arcade spin-off of the popular Rock Band franchise, lands fourteenth place.

The Walking Dead and Alan Wake aren't the only horror-tinged titles popular on the Arcade in 2012. Deadlight and I Am Alive in eighth and tenth also provided plenty of dreary atmosphere, thrills and shocks. Maybe we aren't seeing the death of survival after all with Retail franchises such as Resident Evil and Dead Space moving more into action territory. Maybe we'll still be able to get our fill of chills with titles such as these.

Other new, interesting and exciting titles to make to the chart include Fez at fifth place with over 10,000 starters, Gotham City Impostors in ninth, Mark of the Ninja in fifteenth and Dust: An Elysian Tail in eighteenth. Even last year's Bastion continues to make an appearance, I would imagine not only due to the numerous times it has cropped up in sales, but also down to its sheer quality.

And then there's Voice Studio at sixteenth. I'm going to pretend that all over 4,500 of those who started it did because of a genuine desire to improve the language and dialect support of Kinect's voice recognition system, and not because of the free and easy Gamer Score... I know I definitely started it for the former after numerous times of my Kinect thinking I wanted to search ... instead of ...

Top Arcade Games Started

Time for some fan service. Some have been a bit vocal in the comments of past articles about the fact that I haven't started to bring you Stats for some of the other platforms that have been cropping up with achievements lately. Let me correct that now:

1 - Wordament (WP)
1 - Wordament (Web)
Windows 8
1 -Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Win 8)
2 -Microsoft Minesweeper (Win 8)
3 - Microsoft Mahjong (Win 8)
4 - Wordament (Win 8)

Yes, Wordament is an immensely popular title across multiple platforms. This obviously includes the game's original platform, Windows Phone. It grabs a comfortable lead on Games Started for the platform, with over 6,000 starters. Now, is this game popular because it's free, like say Voice Studio? Because it's good, like say Minecraft? Or because it's free and good, like say Happy Wars? Well, considering that the next four games on the list, Breeze (WP), Shuffle Party (WP), Minesweeper (WP), AlphaJax (WP) and Sudoku (WP), are also free, I'm going to say that it's mostly so popular because it's free, but it gets that extra boost in numbers because it's also great.

Free titles litter the rest of the chart, with Bug Village (WP) in ninth, Flowerz (WP) in twelfth and Gun Bros (WP) in eighteenth.

Unlike Retail and Arcade, a large number of these titles come from previous years, showing enduring popularity (or a lack of better choice). Big name titles such as Angry Birds (WP), Doodle God (WP) and Fruit Ninja (WP) continue to command decent numbers. Cut The Rope (WP) is also a familiar name after being a popular game on other platforms. However, it's new to WP this year and so pulls in decent numbers at eleventh and will probably continue to do so by virtue of its recognisability.

Many of the year's other new releases for the platform also make appearances towards the lower half of the chart, such as Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp (WP), Feed Me Oil (WP), Roll in the Hole (WP), geoDefense Swarm (WP), Chickens Can't Fly (WP) and Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution (WP).

Top Windows Phone Games Started

Games Completed
56,585 TrueAchievements gamers completed a total of 406,706 games between them (2,040 different games).

In what could be considered an unusual turn of events, many of the games featured on Retail Games Completed are different to the ones on Retail Games Started. What we mostly have is a mix of easy completions and big name titles from previous years.

Two titles that were released this year but weren't popular enough to put them on the Games Started table are The Darkness II and Prototype 2 (Xbox 360). However, they're both popular enough and prove significantly easier completions than their predecessors, with both at around a third of players having completed them, to put them easily in first and second place on the table with almost 4,000 completions apiece. This year's Final Fantasy XIII-2 also missed out on being on Games Started, but gets eighth place here with 2,600 completions and a quarter of players having finished it.

Last year's Saint's Row: The Third also pulls in a high number of completions, giving it a third place spot with over 3,700 completions. Other titles from last year include L.A. Noire and Dead Island in twelfth and thirteenth, despite both being large open-world style games.

A lot of these contenders represent earlier instalments for titles that have released this year, suggesting people were eager to wrap up the last chapter before moving onto the next one. This includes 2009's Borderlands in sixth with over 2,700 completions, Mass Effect 2 in tenth with just shy of 2,500, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in fifteenth (if you consider it to be a predecessor to CoD: BlOps 2), the double Halo whammy of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo: Reach, and two helpings of Ezio with Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360) and Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360).

Of course, this wouldn't be TA unless we saw some ridiculously easy completions grabbing high numbers on these tables. LEGO titles are notorious for how easy they are to finish. This year's LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is no exception, pulling in over 3,300 completions at fifth place. Last year's LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean also grab big numbers at seventh and sixteenth. This year's other LEGO title, LEGO The Lord of the Rings, doesn't make an appearance, but that's not because it's any harder than the others; it's just that not enough people had quite finished it yet seeing as it was released at the end of November. Other notoriously easy completions that make it onto the table are NCIS in ninth with 2,500 completions and Captain America: Super Soldier in twentieth with just over 1,500.

Top Retail Games Completed

Unlike Retail, the same two titles easily dominate on Arcade Games Completed that did on Arcade Games Started. By virtue of being so hugely popular and also being easy to complete, Minecraft and The Walking Dead both pull in very high numbers, with the former grabbing an unprecedented 12,000 completions and the latter securing 7,000. A couple of other new releases prove to be quite easy completions, with Deadlight and Fez in fifth and ninth places.

Like Retail, the Arcade is littered with games that are there because they're easy but, unlike Retail, there are also many there because they're free. Voice Studio joins Harms Way and a total of six Kinect Fun Labs titles to show that people love getting free and easy Gamerscore. Not so free, but even easier Gamerscore is provided by two of the three vintage SEGA beat-em-ups that were released together at the end of November, Sonic the Fighters and Virtua Fighter 2, which currently sit at crazily high 96% and 84% completion percentages.

Two titles from Double Fine appear towards the bottom of the table thanks to appearances in multiple sales throughout the year: Costume Quest takes eighteenth place, whilst Stacking takes twentieth.

Top Arcade Games Completed

Many of the top Windows Phone Games Completed are also the ones Started, but in a very different order. Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp proves the easiest completion at number one with 1,800 completions. From there it's a steady descent down the table through most of the familiar titles from the Games Started table. Games on the table which proved popular and easy completions that didn't quite make it onto Games Started, include Collapse! (WP), MonstaFish (WP), Kinectimals (WP), Monopoly (WP), Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (WP), Spider Jack (WP) and UNO (WP).

Top Windows Phone Games Completed

Achievements Won
180,332 TrueAchievements gamers won a total of 55,011,836 achievements online between them (68,031 different achievements).

Retail Achievements Won is made up of achievements from the top three games on Retail Games Started: Halo 4 pulls in most of the achievements, with a total of thirteen (and the top eight spots), Borderlands 2 nabs four achievements, whereas Mass Effect 3 takes three.

Top Retail Achievements Won

Three different titles also make it onto Arcade Achievements Won, but Minecraft clearly dominates. It takes fifteen spots, including the top twelve. Four achievements for the first episode of The Walking Dead also claw their way onto the table, but I wouldn't be surprised if most of the next 30 or so achievements came from that game. A solitary achievement for Happy Wars makes it onto the table in nineteenth place.

Top Arcade Achievements Won

Windows Phone Achievements Won represents a little bit more variety with four titles making the table. Wordament secures the top seven spots, as well as two more a little further down. The rest of the table is split between achievements for Breeze, Shuffle Party and Minesweeper.

Top Windows Phone Achievements Won

There were times this year when both Action-Adventure and Role-Playing both managed to overtake Shooter in Genre, however it's clear that, with the massive popularity of games such as Halo and CoD, Shooter still retains the overall edge.

Action-Adventure follows close behind with a bit of a jump down to Role-Playing in third, despite strong representation from the likes of Borderlands.

Then there's a significant drop down to the next group of genres, which include Action, Sports and Racing.

The massive popularity of Minecraft launches Simulation into a decent mid-table position, but the Kinect Fun Labs can't pull off the same feat, leaving Special languishing at the bottom.

Total TrueAchievements won by Genre
  • Shooter409,007,073
  • Action-Adventure363,496,942
  • Role-Playing262,936,105
  • Action134,423,097
  • Sports118,418,728
  • Racing81,298,667
  • Platformer41,939,631
  • Music & Rhythm26,751,193
  • Simulation25,809,526
  • Adventure25,320,247
  • Puzzle19,368,184
  • Party18,299,858
  • Strategy16,958,529
  • Card & Board15,208,720
  • Vehicular Combat6,077,732
  • Special5,501,784

I haven't bothered to put together a special, revelatory ending for you after our epic time together. I'm hoping that it was the journey that mattered. If enough of you complain, I may put out a video montage of clips showing 'what happened next', but I'm not sure you'd want to watch me making tea, scratching my pelt and catching up on Nashville.

So I'll just leave you with this:

2012 OUT!
[Drops mic]
[Pushes Statistron 3000 out a window - Fenton and Cornelius attached]
[Exits page right]
Written by Chewie
Chewie is a Wookiee from Kashyyyk. Since helping the Rebel Alliance defeat the Emperor, he has taken up Achievement-Hunting and Newshoundery on TA. Also, ice-skating.