According to Joystiq, and it’s no surprise really, Diablo 3 topped all other titles in gaming sales for the month of May. Blizzard hasn’t released exactly how many copies of Diablo 3 they’ve sold, but considering they sold 3.5 million copies on the first day, it’s probably a lot. Overall software sales were down 16% from last year which shows a continuing trend with our aging consoles and PC gaming in general. While this isn’t particularly awful news for the big three console developers as they all have next gen consoles planned, the Wii-U being the first we’ve heard about, it does show a continuing decline in PC gaming sales. So while this might just be a speed bump for console development, PC development is most likely going to retire and buy a condo in Florida.
Below is the list for the month of May, I’ve noted next to each which ones are sequels or remakes.
May’s top software titles according to NPD
- Diablo 3 – Sequel
- Max Payne 3 – Sequel
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – Sequel-ish/Franchise
- Prototype 2 – Sequel
- NBA 2K12 – Sequel
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Sequel
- Sniper Elite V2 – Remake
- Battlefield 3 – Sequel
- Dragon’s Dogma – Holy Crap, original!
- Just Dance 3 – Sequel
One original title, that’s all. Dragon’s Dogma is the only title on the list that isn’t really a direct sequel to remake yet it’s still forced to capitalize off of the success of other titles made by the same people, namely Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Breath of Fire. Even though it’s an original title, it’s more like an original-title-brought-to-you-by-the-makers-of, which is something I guess. A 16% decline in the entire software market is misleading considering Diablo 3 was released during that time, without it the figure would probably be closer to 20%.
Are we really wondering why? The PC market went bananas for social games only to find that they’d all rather use handhelds and mobile devices. The PC is now used almost exclusively for MMOs or other traditionally hardcore PC games like Diablo 3. Social games on the PC were a fad, they belong on handhelds and smartphones; its PC games that are the problem. If it isn’t a secondary release of a console title or the sequel to an existing franchise, it doesn’t exist. Each large PC title released is riding on the coat-tails of another title, and everyone’s running out of tuxedo. I don’t think the PC market has failed developers so much as developers have failed the PC market. Instead of coming up with titles to compete with consoles they just began releasing console titles.
I’m not saying the declining PC market is the fault of the developers, in fact I think that many smaller developers are creating some truly great titles through services like Steam, but larger companies with a few exceptions haven’t really challenged the PC market with any real flagship titles. Sure there is a lot room for indie developers and the PC does offer more potential for modding by the community, but large developers tend to focus on the console first and the PC second, or third if handhelds have anything to say about it. If there’s one thing that E3 showed us this year it’s how companies are embracing smaller handheld technology. Not good news for our friends the PC.