Eye On The Charts: Wallet Of The Lich King

By Alec Meer on May 14th, 2009 at 8:05 pm.

Giving the monthly PC sales charts a sideways eyeball now and again is always interesting. Yeah, it’s short-sighted of the NPD to not include digital sales in any form, but nonetheless it’s some sort of picture as to what’s going on in the wider world of PC gaming. Beneath the cut: game names, with numbers next to them. You’d never have guessed. There are a couple of bonafide surprises in there, however.

April’s best-selling PC games at retail in the US were…

1. World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
2. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
3. World Of Warcraft Battle Chest
4. Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor
5. Empire: Total War
6. Left 4 Dead
7. Demigod / Gas Powered Games
8. Diablo Battle Chest
9. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Exp. Pack
10. Spore / EA Maxis
11. Warcraft III Battle Chest
12. StarCraft Battle Chest
13. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack
14. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II
15. World Of Warcraft
16. The SimCity Box (SimCity Societies, SimCity 4, Sims SnapCity)
17. Bejeweled Twist
18. Fallout 3 / Bethesda
19. The Sims 2 Pets Exp. Pack
20. Hidden & Dangerous 2

(Found via Shacknews).

Huh. Well, there’s equal cause for celebration and hand-wringing in there, really. Unsurprisingly and slightly depressingly, Blizzard and Sims games absolutely dominate, though it’s interesting to note that Blizzard now occupies more space in the chart than the Sims. Is this a sign that The Sims 1/2 is finally running out of new customers (something the upcoming Sims 3 will surely change), or that Blizzard are on the ascendancy more than ever? The popularity of WoW and its expansions is a given (Christ, though – that’s a lot of Warcraft), but it’s a bit of a surprise to see beardy old, 2D Starcraft doing so well.

Demigod’s done alright for itself, in spite of all the furore about piracy and FUBAR netcode. Given there’ll be a crapload of (likely ongoing) online sales, it’s probably been Gas-Powered Games’ most profitable title in some time. Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor is a bit of a shocker up there at number 4, which throws new light on concerns that it was a little slight and forgettable for the high asking price. Relic/THQ are clearly onto a massive winner with their still great-looking WW2 RTS – at a guess, it’s managed to pick up something of a non-traditional audience in a similar vein to the Total War series. We can expect more CoH yet, I don’t doubt.

Left 4 Dead’s holding steady several months on from release, which I would imagine makes it one of Valve’s greatest-ever successes. L4D might not generate the flurry of discussion that TF2 does, but there’s a sense it quietly captured the zeitgeist and did extraordinarily well out it. Sooner or later, Half-Life will no longer be Valve’s defining game, I’d guess. Perhaps, even, they’re on their way to being the Blizzard of FPS games.

I’ll leave Fallout 3 alone, as I’ll only say mean things about it again otherwise.

And woah, hey, what’s that doing at number 20? Half a decade old and always a bit of a niche title, the only apparent explanation for genre-bending WW2 oddity Hidden & Dangerous 2′s resurgence is a recent $5 pricetag. Quite an exciting precedent, really. Now developers Illusion Softworks have been absorbed into the 2K mass (being tragically renamed 2K Czech in the process), I wonder if any of H&D2′s creators enjoy a piece of this bizarre comeback, or if it all goes straight into the host company’s wallet. Let’s hope it helps out their upcoming Mafia II in some way, anyhow.

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52 Comments »

  1. subedii says:

    Well then I guess I was just misinterpreting what you meant, sorry about that.

    To wrap this up once and for all, I guess I feel that every platform has its merits. The PC is certainly limited by accessibility issues and technical hurdles, it’s not like anyone could ever claim it’s an ideal system. Ultimately you just go with the platform that has the games and genres you’re interested in.

  2. Hyper says:

    Bleh. All this platform arguing annoys me.

    I subscribe to the “games are games” school of thought. I have been a PC Gamer since the beginning of PC gaming, I also own at least one console from each generation dating back to the Atari 5200, including handhelds. I have all the consoles from the past two generations.

    Even with all the consoles and console games I have, I still consider myself a PC gamer. The PC is my preferred system, and if I had to chose only one it would be the PC. That being said, I think certain games are more enjoyable when kicking back on a couch with a gamepad. As I’m sure all of you know, PC gaming can be frustrating at times, so sometimes it’s nice to just play a game that WORKS, period.

    Anyway, I have fond gaming memories from both platforms. Split screen gaming was a total blast with friends, but then so was online gaming. Back before the days of broadband and VOIP, my friends and I used to call each other on the phone (conference call style) and talk while playing online together. Everything from direct dial-up RTS games to online shooters like Rainbow Six, Tribes, and the first iteration of CS.

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