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.