Byte vs Brick: Week Ending Sep 17

I will happily reuse this picture until the end of time

Time for another one of our in theory regular but in practice highly irregular comparisons of the last week’s top ten best-selling PC games on Steam, and at UK retail. Obviously there are all manner of ways in which these are not fair or entirely meaningful comparisons, not least in that Steam’s metrics can tend towards the cryptic, that Steam’s includes pre-orders but UK retail (via Chart-Track) doesn’t and that it’s laughably hard to find many PC games on British high streets these days, but it’s always fun/horrifying to get a flavour for the stark differences between what people are buying digitally and what plastic boxes their attention is caught by.


1. Dead Island
2. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad
3. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
5. Star Wars Collection
6. Sid Meier’s Civilization V
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Sykyrim
9. Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers Complete Bundle
10. Mount&Blade Complete Pack

UK retail:

1. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
2. The Sims 3
3. The Sims 3: Generations
4. Football Manager 2011
5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
6. Dead Island
7. The Sims: Medieval
8. The Sims 3: Late Night
9. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
10. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: Retribution

Well, being mysteriously withdrawn from direct sale on Steam in the UK hasn’t done Space Marine too much harm, eh? Placing number one at UK retail probably hasn’t done the various conspiracy theories about why Space Marine was withdrawn from direct sale on Steam in the UK any harm either. VERY INTERESTING. As is DOW2 Retribution popping back in at 10 there.

Meantime, the Steam chart deftly reveals the efficacy of Steam sales – hello Star Wars and Civ V – but also, with RO2, Magic and Mount and Blade, the greater breadth of the audience compared to the Sims-dominated retail chart. Good work Dead Island though – in both charts, it’s holding its own against some very big boys indeed.

It’s all the people buying Football Manager 2011 I feel sorry for. Don’t they know a new one’s on its way already?


  1. CMaster says:

    I’ll ask again, in the vauge hope that somebody knows:
    Does the “retail” chart include mail order sales like Amazon, Play, Zavvi and Game’s online component or not?

    • CMaster says:

      Answer (via chart-track’s website): Yes

    • Blackberries says:

      Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I’ve been confused about this for some time, as while I very, very rarely bother with popping into GAME for a purchase, I still often order from Amazon or Play if they have a title for a good price. I was under the impression that this is still common for a lot of people, yet often when people talk about “retail” they seem to mean only brick-and-mortar, which is wildly behind the times.

  2. Carra says:

    I’m surprised to see that Red Orchestra 2 sells so well. Quite a buggy game from what I heard of it.

    • Necroscope says:

      It seems Tripwire are hard at work plugging the leaks as 4 patches have come through steam since launch.

    • bear912 says:

      It’s also a beautiful game. Not beautiful graphics, necessarily, but beautiful nonetheless. The sound design, gunplay, and atmosphere are all stunning. I’d say that’s why it’s selling so well. Also, Tripwire is great.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I still don’t know what to think of it and whether to buy it or not, is there any progress on the bug-front?

    • Cim says:

      It’s probably because there aren’t really that many games like Red Orchestra 2. Sure, it’s an extremely buggy game at the moment but the developers seem adamant on fixing the game and the core gameplay is very different from everything else out there currently.

      Closest I guess you can come is America’s Army, but it’s far better than that even in it’s buggy state.

  3. HexagonalBolts says:

    DOW2 retribution is probably on because, presuming they’re included in that chart, it has seen a sudden massive reduction in prices by online retailers. One site started offering for £8 so Amazon followed and did the same.

    • Magnetude says:

      I suspect the Granny Effect is at work as well.

      “Ham Warrior 2000? That’s what you wanted, isn’t it? Oh good. So glad you like it. The receipt? Oh, I think I threw it away…”

  4. Orija says:

    No Hard Reset? What a shame.

  5. Lemming says:

    Does ‘Star Wars Collection’ get bumped up the list even if people just buy individual titles from the sale? I only bought two things out of it, for instance.

    • qrter says:

      It’s only a guess, but I’d say no – individual SW titles start to show up in the 11-20 part of the Steam chart.

  6. Baboonanza says:

    Does anyone have an idea of how well DX:HR did overall? It’s one of those game that I hope did really well so that more similar games get made, but I’m somewhat pessimistic.

    • Anthile says:

      I think I read something about 2.000.000 copies being sold.

  7. qrter says:

    I always feel the comparison between these two charts especially falls down because of their respective time frames – that UK retail chart is done weekly, I believe, while the Steam chart is almost an hourly thing.

  8. Radiant says:

    I would smash that high haired model through the earth’s core.

    The girl isn’t that bad either.

  9. The Tupper says:

    Perhaps we could caption the picture with “I’m an obsolete model”?

  10. nuh uh no way says:

    i own it and am one of the ones who “enjoy it immensely” and even still i find myself asking HOW ARE THAT MANY PEOPLE STILL PURCHASING CIV V?!

    • LostViking says:

      I seem to remember Steam having a big rebate on it last week.

  11. Garg says:

    I think the high Steam placement for Space Marine is because it is activated on Steam regardless of whether it was bought in retail or bought on Steam, and I believe that those activations count toward the sales tracker.