10 BIGGEST LEGENDS AND FAILURES IN GAMING INDUSTRY HISTORY
Gaming. An industry long ignored and held as a lesser form of entertainment. But here at Enlightly we know our stats. We know that larger budgets go into some games than into the biggest blockbuster movies, producing treasures in the form of games with incredible levels of visual artistry, storylining, music and even acting. So, without further ado, let us present the biggest successes and failures in the gaming industry:
1. MOST ACTIVE MONTHLY PLAYERS
League of Legends numbers are hard to comprehend in their entirety. They dwarf everything else. Riot Games released peak numbers about the game back in 2014 when they reported 27 million daily players, simultaneous players peaking at 7.5 million (seriously, what do those servers look like) and 67 million active monthly players.
For perspective, Dota 2 -currently Steam’s flagship- peaked at 1,291,328 players last March. World of Warcraft peaked at 12 million monthly players in 2010 (each of whom paid $15 monthly, admittedly). Across all platforms, Call of Duty peaked at 40 million monthly players in 2011.
2. MOST PEOPLE CONTROLLING THE SAME ONLINE GAME
Twitch Plays Pokémon is described as a “social experiment” and channel on the video streaming website Twitch, consisting of a crowdsourced attempt to play Pokémon by parsing commands sent by users through the channel’s chat room.
Simultaneous participation in the game peaked at 121,000 people sending orders, which one can only assume must have been quite confusing for poor Ash Ketchum.
3. LARGEST OPEN-WORLD MAP
Now, now. We know this is a controversial one. For the sake of this article, we have considered only pre-rendered worlds, not randomly generated ones. Otherwise, many of you would first think of The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall. But it turns out that even by this measure, Daggerfall (62,000 sqm) would still fall short of Xenoblade’s enormous 70,000 sqm of alien Bionis world.
4. MOST PEOPLE WATCHING AN ONLINE GAME
Once again League of Legends rules supreme. 2015 was the year in which Twitch has seen the most traffic so far. And of all the events streamed, the LOL North American Championship Series of 23 August was the most popular (it might have helped it being a weekend in the middle of the Summer). Just because we really like putting stats into context, remember there are about 50 countries in the world with a population smaller than League of Legends’ viewership that day.
5. MOST MONEY SPENT IN A GAME
The title is ambiguous on purpose. On the one hand, some people spend outrageous amounts of money on in-game purchases (champions, skins, gems… you name it). The largest verified amount we could find was this Antwerp teen‘s $41,400 splurge on his mom’s credit card (no comment on how many decades he has been grounded for). Examples of expenditures in the thousands abound.
On the other hand, there is a well established market for collector’s pieces. The items they prize are normally older games in a physical cartridge or disc format, from rare editions, and hopefully in good format. There are at least two bids for two separate single games that have reached the $100,000 mark. One was this extremely rare NES World Championship cart. The grey editions were given as a prize to finalists in regional tournaments across the United States in 1990; 90 of them are believed to be in existence. The other is this 30-year old copy of Bandai’s Stadium Events. While it might be that some of those bids have been inflated by ‘trolls’ that have no real intention of honouring the bids, there are numerous cases of rare games selling for tens of thousands of dollars in the past.
6. MOST COPIES SOLD IN ANY PLATFORM, IN HISTORY
For this list we considered the sales across all platforms for the exact same game. Similar versions of the same game (even if they were launched for the same platform) are not counted towards the final number.
If we were counting all titles released under the same franchise, the numbers would change. The indisputable number one would be the Mario series, with about 523 million units sold. It is followed by Pokémon from a considerable distance (280 million), Call of Duty (250 million), Sonic the Hedgehog (235 million), Grand Theft Auto (220 million) and The Sims (175 million).
Units sold, in millions of copies
7. HIGHEST REVENUE, IN HISTORY
These numbers are adjusted for inflation to reflect the different points of time at which the games were launched. Amazingly, even if we took the original numbers, Space Invaders would still make the top 10 despite being launched at the end of the 70s.
8. HIGHEST REVENUE, 24 HOURS
GTA V basically smashed the previous record the day of its launch. It also went on to accumulate other Guiness World Records such as “Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion” and “Highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours”.
9. MOST EXPENSIVE TO LAUNCH, OVERALL
Although there have been some other games that have cost even more to develop than Bungie’s Destiny, Activision (publisher of the game) went a bit crazy with marketing on this one. The publisher did confirm that the $500m figure was correct but we found out later that, understandably, not all of it were development costs. According to Bungie’s COO, Pete Parsons “For marketing you’d have to ask Activision people, but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million”.
For reference, the most expensive movie ever made (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) cost “only” $380 million.
During the first 24 hours the game had sales of $500 million, accruing a further $47.5 million of sales during its first month. Although these numbers might seem good, the margins on the money spent are nowhere near as high as those of GTA V, Madden NFL 2016 or Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
10. MOST EXPENSIVE TO DEVELOP
What to say of Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game had really good voice acting and music, as well as welcome features like queue-able actions, area looting and auto-looting. However, it never lived up to its (never officially acknowledged) development cost. While EA has probably been able to recover the development costs over the years (we are not so sure about the total costs, including marketing and others) it is far from other blockbusters developed literally at a fraction of the price.
Cost to develop, in millions of US$
3. LA Times
8. Steam Charts
9. The Star
14. Business Insider
15. IB Times
16. The Telegraph