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How violent were July’s best-selling video games? Not very, according to new data

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Following a mass shooting in one of its Texas stores, Walmart ($NYSE:WMT) said its stores would remove displays and ads for violent videogames. The move was in reaction to critics and pundits relating the sale of violent video games to mass shootings.

Whether this will work is the subject for another story and perhaps another site. But we can look at some objective data here: exactly what games is Walmart selling that could be deemed ‘violent?’

Of the 30 best-selling games at the three retailers (top-10 for each), just 7 were categorized as “Mature” by the ESRB (Entertainment and Software Ratings Bureau). Of those 7, 4 were sold at Walmart, one was sold at GameStop, and two were sold at Amazon.

We took a look at the best-selling games at Walmart, GameStop, and Amazon in the weeks leading up to the tragic shooting at an El Paso Walmart August 2 to understand how many violent videogames are being sold at Walmart (and other places), and how this might affect those games’ product placements moving forward. For context, we also looked at July best-sellers for GameStop and Amazon.

Of the 30 best-selling games at the three retailers (top-10 for each), just 7 were categorized as “Mature” by the ESRB (Entertainment and Software Ratings Bureau). Of those 7, 4 were sold at Walmart, one was sold at GameStop, and two were sold at Amazon.

Walmart July top-10

Name

Walmart Sales Rank

Days Ranked

ESRB Rating

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Activision, PlayStation 4, 047875878556

1.00

31

Mature

NBA 2K17 for PlayStation 4

6.00

31

Everyone

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo, Nintendo Wii U, 045496904159

7.00

31

Everyone 10+

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, 045496590420

8.00

31

Everyone 10+

Battlefield 1, Electronic Arts, PlayStation 4, 014633733891

10.00

31

Mature

Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games, PlayStation 4

16.97

31

Mature

HELLO KITTY PARTY NDS

17.97

31

Everyone

Dying Light: Following Enhanced Edition, WHV Games, Xbox One, 883929530502

18.97

31

Mature

Minecraft Story MODE Season Pass Disc – Xbox 360

19.97

31

Everyone 10+

NBA 2K17, 2K, Xbox One, 710425497728

20.97

31

Everyone

At Walmart.com, four of the store’s ten best-selling videogames — including the #1 best-seller — are rated “Mature” by the ESRB. Interestingly, the best-serller, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, is a 2018 release, but its discount price ($10 as of today) vaulted it to the top of Walmart’s sales ranks. Other mature titles in the top-10 included Battlefield 1, Grand Theft Auto V, and Dying Light, a zombie survival game. This chart can be downloaded as an image below.

GameStop July top-10

Name

GameStop Sales Rank

Days Ranked

ESRB Rating

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

13.90

31

Teen

Madden NFL 20

36.26

62

Everyone

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

37.65

31

Teen

Pokemon Sword & Pokemon Shield Double Pack

53.94

31

Everyone

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

58.00

62

Mature

Madden NFL 20 Superstar Edition

70.34

62

Everyone

Madden NFL 20 Ultimate Superstar Edition

85.35

31

Everyone

Pokemon Platinum Version

91.55

31

Everyone

Pokemon Sword

92.87

31

Rating Pending

Pokemon SoulSilver – Game Only

95.90

31

Everyone

At GameStop ($NYSE:GME), a store that specializes only in videogames, only one of the top-10 sellers was rated “Mature”. That one game was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a game that comes out in October 2019 (GameStop includes pre-orders in its sales ranks).

Amazon July top-10

Name

Amazon Sales Rank

Days Ranked

ESRB Rating

Super Mario Maker 2 – Nintendo Switch

16.19

32

Everyone

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

16.50

32

Everyone 10+

Fallout 76 – PlayStation 4

17.80

10

Mature

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

18.84

32

Teen

Marvel’s Spider-Man – PlayStation 4

19.31

32

Teen

The Last of Us Remastered Hits – PlayStation 4

21.69

13

Mature

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch

24.19

32

Everyone 10+

Minecraft for PC/Mac [Online Game Code]

25.13

32

Everyone 10+

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Nintendo Switch

25.97

32

Everyone

Snk Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy – Nintendo Switch

28.50

2

Teen

At Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN), two of the top-10 videogame sellers were rated “Mature” by the ESRB. Those included Fallout 76 and The Last of Us Remastered.

What to make of the data

The lists included here are the best-sellers at three of the largest videogame retailers in the world. As such, they represent what was being played by gamers in the past few weeks. As for whether or not 7 out of 30 games is too many – or too little – or if playing violent videogames has the effect some people would hold they do, we can’t answer that. It’s already clear that Walmart has removed signage for violent games, which will likely affect sales. So, given that, perhaps the most important result of this data is yet to come: will there be fewer violent videogames on Walmart’s best-sellers list come next month? We’ll let you know.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online – jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings – and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 



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Gaming News

The Gaming Industry Is Booming

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Gaming industry

The gaming industry is booming, and it will continue to bring in more revenue for several countries throughout the next few years. In fact, the United States just overcame China as the world’s number one consumer of online games, and it’s generating billions of dollars for the gaming industry. However, one form of gaming has lost its popularity in recent years.

In this post, we’re going to talk about the decline in one particular type of game’s popularity, and we’ll see how it stacks up against the newer and more popular forms of gaming.

What Are HTML5 Games?

We’ve mentioned that one particular type of game is declining in popularity. We were talking about HTML5 games. If you grew up in the early 2000’s, you know exactly what these browser-based games are. You don’t have to download them, and they’re available to anyone who owns a computer with an internet connection. In essence, they’re perfect for people who don’t own powerful computers or gaming consoles.

Here are a few examples of browser games that impacted the gaming industry over the last two decades.

How Do They Stack Up With Other Online Games?

While some browser games continue to thrive, that segment of the overall gaming industry has been losing steam over the last decade. Runescape and a few other titles still generate a lot of buzz, and people still flock to them on a daily basis, but the browser-based gaming community only makes up two-percent of the gaming industry now, and they only generate 12-percent of the revenue that is brought in by the gaming industry.

There are several factors that have caused this decline in popularity.

  • Console Popularity: Consoles have enough power nowadays to handle extremely elaborate and complex games with ease. They’re not as cheap as browser games are, but they’re not as expensive as gaming computers. Since the majority of people can afford at least one console, they typically opt to play more robust games.
  • Game Quality: While some of the genre’s mainstays are exceptionally high-quality games, many browser-based games are simply training exercises for budding game developers. They’re cheap to make, and developers can try out new ideas without developing expensive titles that might not sell well. Sometimes, they come up with a great idea, and the game generates tons of revenue.
  • Indie Gaming: During their peak, browser-based games were free to play without many micro-transactions. Now, a large indie gaming community exists that offers cheap or free games without micro-transactions, and the games are usually more robust than what browsers can handle.

Now, let’s go over how the other types of games are doing.

Mobile games

Surprisingly, mobile games are currently generating most of the gaming industry’s revenue. Only 33-percent of games are developed for mobile platforms, but they are usually filled with different features that constantly generate more revenue for game developers, and people often spend much more than the price of a AAA console game on a single mobile game to enjoy those features. 36-percent of the gaming industry’s revenue comes from mobile games.

The massive growth of the mobile gaming industry is expected to decrease slightly within the next few years, though. There is a new wave of consoles on the horizon, and the hype surrounding those new consoles will temporarily drag some people away from mobile games for a short time. However, it is expected to remain the industry’s biggest cash cow.

Console games

Console games make up roughly 30-percent of the gaming market. Statistics for each console vary slightly, but they typically average out to 30-percent of the market. In comparison, console games bring in about 32-percent of the gaming industry’s revenue.

This is largely due to the popularity of console games. Exclusive titles, ease of use, and several other factors that have made console games grow in popularity since the 90’s.

PC games

Browser-based games are typically only found on PC and Mac computers, but this section isn’t dedicated to those. This section is dedicated to the other games that you can find on PC. These titles are usually as expensive as console games, and many of them are ports of console games. You can also find indie games that are cheap or free, and there are tons of games that are only developed for PC and Mac computers. Overall, PC games make up 60-percent of the gaming market.

That’s because they’re very easy to develop. Just about anyone can buy some Unity assets, throw together a basic game, and then market it for free on PC. Development costs are minimal, and since there are several free development tools on the market, developers don’t have to have a lot of coding and animating experience to create PC games. HTML5 games are a big upcoming market, especially now that the Flash browser plugin it in its end of life.

When it comes to AAA titles, game developers get the same benefits out of PC development. It’s easier to create functional networks on PC, and it’s typically easier to make the games themselves due to how powerful and intuitive modern computers are. Surprisingly, that hasn’t made PC games more financially fruitful than mobile games. While PC games make up 60-percent of the market, they only generate roughly 25-percent of the revenue that the gaming industry generates.

VR games

VR games are pretty new to the gaming industry. As such, they don’t make up a large portion of the industry, and they haven’t generated much of the revenue that other games have. With that being said, they are rising in popularity, and only time will tell if they will become a major part of the gaming industry as a whole.

At the moment, VR games are more popular than browser-based games, but they still only make up 17-percent of the market. A lot of the games are available through Steam, and only a fraction of a percentage of Steam users actually own a VR headset. That is expected to change over the next decade.

Final Thoughts

So, where does this leave browser-based games? Well, their declining popularity and low amount of revenue isn’t a good thing, but it’s not all bad news. Several browser-based titles are popular around the globe, and developers are still developing high-quality games such as Runescape and Quake Live. The browser-based gaming market may be dwindling, but it will continue to stick around for quite some time, and developers who offer unique and engaging experiences will easily find a reliable audience.

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