Sales down, quality up
|Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)||98|
|Mass Effect 2 (360)||96|
|Red Dead Redemption (360)||95|
|Red Dead Redemption (PS3)||95|
Now that we are at the midway point of 2010, what do we know? For starters, you haven't been buying as many games as you used to; through May, game sales are down 6% in 2010 vs. the first five months of 2009, according to NPD Group.
But the decline in sales doesn't mean that there has been a corresponding drop in game quality in 2010. On the contrary, for every platform we track, the average game Metascore has been higher in 2010 than during the first six months of 2009 -- meaning the games have been earning somewhat better reviews this year.
So far in 2010, seven individual titles (some on multiple platforms) have achieved stellar Metascores of 90 or higher, a number comparable to the first half of 2009. Three separate titles -- the ones listed in the box at the right -- all scored higher than 2009's best-reviewed first-half release, Street Fighter IV (PS3: 94). And, at the other end of the quality spectrum, 25 separate titles received terrible reviews (49 or lower) in the first half of 2009; that number is down to 16 this year.
That could be a very good sign for 2010, as many of the year's best releases typically don't surface until autumn. Of course, the news wasn't equally good for every platform over the past six months, as our comparison chart indicates below.
|Metascore Distribution||Median Metascores|
|Platform||# Games *||# Great||% Good||% Mixed||% Bad||All Releases||Platform Exclusives|
Before we get into the platform-by-platform lists, here are the top performing games across all platforms, in terms of reviews and units sold:
|Mass Effect 2||Red Dead
|360: 96 PC: 94||360, PS3: 95||360: 92 PS3: 91||360: 90 PS3: 87||360, PS3, PC: 88|
|God of War III (PS3)||Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)||Red Dead Redemption (360)||Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (360)||Red Dead
|Units Sold:||2.68m||Units Sold:||2.65m||Units Sold:||2.43m||Units Sold:||2.29m||Units Sold:||1.86m|
The year has had its share of disappointments, too. One game you won't find on either list above is the much-hyped Dante's Inferno, which failed to wow critics (PS3: 75; 360: 73) and has sold fewer than 600,000 units for each platform. Other major titles like THQ's Darksiders (PS3: 82; 360: 83) posted similarly disappointing sales figures despite somewhat stronger reviews, while Capcom's Lost Planet 2 (PS3: 68; 360: 68) disappointed all around. And who can forget Dark Void (well, perhaps everybody), an ambitious title released back in January to some of the worst reviews for a major cross-platform release this year (PS3: 59; 360: 59; PC: 57). That game managed to get only a quarter of the way to Capcom's goal of two million units sold.
Releases by platform
On the next pages, we examine the best and worst games released for each platform in the first half of 2010, including the top titles exclusive to each platform.