We all know that from 2005 to 2009, gaming had a ****load of big new series and franchises that expanded the size of the market. But what about more recently? Well, I decided to look back at all the new series, franchises, IP's, etc from January 2010 onwards, and I think I've identified what the biggest 20 of them are.
Note that the definition of "new series" is a big vague. I tried to pin it down as much as possible, but there are some questionable absences regardless. For example, is Wii Fit the same series as Wii Sports? If Call of Duty Ghosts the same series as Modern Warfare? Ultimately, I went with my gut instinct. So if something seems weird, and you think I should have included or counted out something, you're probably right.
Anyhow, here are the Top 20, as of March 15, 2014.
20. Homefront - THQ, 2.46 million
Starting off this list is a failed series from a failed company. Homefront was supposed to be THQ's answer to the Battlefields and Call of Duties of the world. However, it ended up selling short of expectations and being a critical failure. Nevertheless, with over 2.4 million copies sold, it hardly flew under the radar.
19. uDraw Studio - THQ, 2.54 million
Man, THQ had no luck! This series got off to a good start with the Wii original, but a lack of quality support for the necessary peripheral doomed the series. Expanding the series to the HD consoles did little to help, especially since the Wii audience was the one that liked the original in the first place. Still, the original alone was enough of a hit to put this game at #19.
18. Heavy Rain - Sony, 2.75 million
Regardless of your opinion of Heavy Rain, the game was a sales success. This "series" only has one game on a single platform, but nonetheless managed to get a strong following thanks to its unique take on interactive enertainment. It had a spiritual sucessor a couple of years later in Beyond: Two Souls, but even Ellen Page couldn't make that game sell on the same level as Heavy Rain.
17. Art Academy - Nintendo, 2.86 million
One of Nintendo's latter "casual" DS games, the original Art Academy helped prove that Nintendo's Blue Ocean approach was not yet dead. The 3DS sequel only sold a fraction of that game, but for a low budget handheld title, it didn't do too badly. Nowadays, I think this is more of a download-oriented series, so managing even this many retail sales is good for it.
16. Nintendo Land - Nintendo, 2.89 million
It may have failed to move the Wii U en masse, but Nintendo Land was still a hit thanks to its being the chief game bundled with the Wii U for its first 10 or 11 months on the market. And even now, the game is one of the better sellers on the system. Personally, Nintendo Land is proof that the makers of Animal Crossing can make a decent multiplayer shooter, and that's memorable in of itself.
15. Rage - Bethesda, 3.09 million sales
It was supposed to be the next Quake/Doom. It failed. It still sold over 3 million copies, so maybe "failure" is a bit of a strong word. It's the highest ranking traditional shooting game in this Top 20, so it must have done something right.
14. Disney Infinity - Disney, 3.11 million
It's a Skylanders ripoff, but not a bad one. And it has some serious star power. Not to mention that considering the youth of this series, it's already gone quite a distance. Honestly, the biggest problem this series has IMO is the name. What do you call a game after Infinity? Infinity 2? Infinity Squared? Infinity and Beyond? Actually, that last one is a nice Toy Story reference, so maybe they should go with that.
13. Dishonored - Bethesda, 3.16 million
Apparently, this is Assassin's Creed with superpowers in a fantastic setting. And it got great reviews. Why is this only at #13?
12. Dark Souls - Namco Bandai, 3.42 million
Technically, I suppose you can count this as part of the Demons' Souls series from 2009, but screw it. The title is different, so it counts! Anyway, considering how the sequel just came out, this game would probably go up a spot or two if I made this list a month from now. Oh well.
11. Sports Champions - Sony, 3.62 million
I guess the Move wasn't as unpopular as I thought? It still flopped though, especially compared to another bundled peripheral game we'll see later in this list... foreshadowing!
10. The Last of Us - Sony, 4.41 million
This game's already been talked about to death. So I'll just mention that it was VGChart'z official Most Anticipated Game of 2013. Based on actual voting.
9. Epic Mickey - Disney, 4.88 million
The original Epic Mickey for the Wii was the biggest exclusive game ever to come out of Disney. And in retrospect, even the sequel did decently. So it's surprising that this series is currently deadish. I mean, all the original really needed was a better camera, and the second didn't deliver. This series would be placed higher in an ideal world.
8. L.A. Noire - Take Two, 5.58 million
That's right, your game can sell over 5 million and your studio will STILL be forced to close! Ain't AAA development great?
7. Dead Island - Deep Silver, 5.67 million
Remember how one of the first trailers for the original game was AMAZING? Even though it had virtually nothing to do with the game... Seriously, here's a link. I don't care about the series disappointing a lot of people, that trailer was awesome.
6. Dance Central - MTV, 5.7 million
One of the best uses of Kinect is Dance games. Dance Central was built with this in mind. Thus, it was a hit. Simple really.
5. Michael Jackson: The Experience - Ubisoft, 6.03 million
Because reskinning Just Dance to take advantage of a celebrity's death WORKS.
4. Kinect Sports - Microsoft, 8 million
Rare's not irrelevant! They made one of the biggest new series of recent years!
3. Wii Party - Nintendo, 9.3 million
Technically you can count this as part of the general "Wii" series. But if you don't, you have one of the most sucessful party games of all time and one of the Wii U's biggest hits. Plus, considering how the only thing this game has in common with Wii Sports is the aesthetics and publisher, I think we can let it slide.
2. Skylanders - Activision, 13.15 million
Because even Activision can make something new ocassionally, provided they pretend it's a reboot of a 90's platforming series at first.
1. Kinect Adventures - Microsoft, 20.97 million
Sword of peripheral sales! Grant me bundles upon bundles, in order to sell this single title few people actually are fond of!
- Despite my less than enthusiastic tone, I guess I just proved that recent years have not been entirely absent of new ideas.
- No publisher has over 3 spots on this list, with Sony and Nintendo tying at 3 spots each. So nobody has dominated innovation lately.
- This list was dominated by Western-developed games, with the chief exceptions being Nintendo's stuff.
- Despite casuals supposedly having moved on to mobile devices, this certainly isn't a very hardcore list. In fact, games like Kinect Adventures and Dance Central are motion-controlled by their very nature. So waggle isn't dead.
- Skylanders is #1 in my heart, simply because it's not frequently bundled and has had three sucessful iterations.
- Runner-ups included Injustice and Dragon's Dogma. Somehow, these games were considered hits while the THQ duo wasn't.
Any thoughts, comments, or corrections?
Love and tolerate.