Flash of Steel header image 2

Top 20 PC Sellers of 2008

January 15th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 13 Comments · Industry

Strategy-esque games in bold.

1. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack
2. Spore
3. World of Warcraft: Battle Chest
4. Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures
5. Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning
6. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
7. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
8. World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Exp Pk Collector’s Ed
9. Fallout 3
10. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack
11. Call Of Duty: World At War
12. The Sims 2 FreeTime Expansion Pack
13. World Of Warcraft
14. Sins Of A Solar Empire
15. Warcraft III Battle Chest
16. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack
17. Crysis
18. Left 4 Dead
19. Diablo Battle Chest
20. The Orange Box

It’s both an odd list and a familiar one. World of Warcraft and Sims 2 dominate, naturally. I’m surprised that both the Warcraft III and Diablo compilations are still reliable sellers. That’s what happens when you can be found at Wal-Mart for 20 bucks.

Great news for Sins of a Solar Empire. An original franchise from a new developer, and it comes in 14th – above the Sims Apartment expansion.

No Red Alert 3, which is a little surprising, and since it’s unlikely to crack the top 30 console sales, it has to be considered a disappointment for EA.


13 Comments so far ↓

  • Jon Shafer

    Wouldn’t Warcraft III be considered Strategy-esque, or does Blizzard just play by such different rules that their games transcend genre? ;)


  • Troy

    Miss one little bold…

  • Kenneth M.

    The Diablo and WarCraft III Battle Chests are $40. The StarCraft Battle Chest, however, is $20, and I’m a little surprised to not see that one in there.

    I’d sort of like to know if Spore’s position counts Galactic Edition sales or not, since the two versions of WotLK are separate entries.

  • Tim McDonald

    I’m fairly amazed to see Sins of a Solar Empire in there. I know it hadn’t been selling poorly, but I didn’t realise it was doing quite that well. Yet another reminder that I need to reinstall it.

  • Troy

    Thanks for the correction, Kenneth.

    I assume that the Spore numbers are for the core SKU, and that the Galactic Edition is somewhere under 20th.

  • Scott Kevill

    Red Alert 3 must have done okay, because they’ve announced the Uprising expansion for it.

    Unless it was planned all along, but they must have been fairly confident of success to do that.

  • Cautiously Pessimistic

    I’m a bit surprised to see Sims 2 listed as strategy; I would have pegged it as an RPG.

  • jorge

    Warcraft 3 is a great game and the reason why it is still selling is because of DOTA which is a game created by users on Battlenet. it is so popular that it even has it’s own song. the DOTA song from Basshunter

  • Troy

    DOTA is huge – my former students played it almost exclusively – but it’s also many years old and is unlikely to account for most of the new surge of purchases.

    Diablo you can credit to the upcoming sequel and all the press it got. But Warcraft III? Is that WoW overflow? Is the Battle Chest a big new promotion?

  • Troy

    I’m a bit surprised to see Sims 2 listed as strategy; I would have pegged it as an RPG.

    It’s a bit of both. It certainly has the stat building and skill learning of RPGs, but it also has a lot of resource management and time pressure, like any good RTS.

  • Scott R. Krol

    But Warcraft III? Is that WoW overflow? Is the Battle Chest a big new promotion?

    Look back at the top sellers for previous years. Essentially Blizzard titles are present in each and every year for their release. No overflow or upcoming excitement for a sequel needed. Like Kenneth, I’m surprised that Starcraft didn’t hit the list.

    I’ve always wondered though who are these people who keep buying these Blizzard titles. You would think that after a few years you’d have reached the critical mass. You may continue to sell the games, but to sell enough to outshine the hundreds of new games released in a year? That’s some powerful ju-ju Blizzard has.

  • Troy

    IIRC, there was a huge spike in Starcraft sales when the sequel was announced, though. I think “It’s Blizzard” isn’t quite a sufficient experience.

    The “who are these people” is the big question. How many are new buyers who’ve only recently discovered these still very playable games? How many are completists, who want multiple versions for archival purposes? How many are replacing old or broken discs?

    For a while, Age of Kings was the same. It would pop-up on Top 20 lists for years, even with no new news. But there would always be a spike once a new Age game was announced.

  • Kenneth M.

    I, for one, am one of “these people,” specifically part of the first group Troy listed (new buyers).

    I only recently started purchasing retail PC games. Until a couple of years ago, basically everything I played on PC was freeware or shareware, and of the latter, I think the only registered games I had were copies of Wolfenstein 3D and Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold my dad had gotten years ago. Most of my PC gaming from ages 0-15 (now 17) was of the “fast-paced action requiring almost no thinking” variety, and it wasn’t much better on consoles (though it was on handhelds, where I at least had a few turn-based strategy games). I had never experienced micromanagement or really even the idea of limited resources other than ammo and healthpacks.

    2007 was when I first explored the RTS genre by buying the StarCraft Battle Chest. I found that I enjoyed it (despite not being particularly good, and not being able to play multiplayer at all due to my crappy satellite connection), and ended up playing more of them in the next year and a half (among other things, I borrowed my uncle’s copy of the W3 Battle Chest and downloaded Red Alert). Recently I’ve been playing Spore (I didn’t pay attention to PC gaming, so I didn’t even notice the two years of hype until everyone pointed it out after the fact, so I’m not disappointed) and getting back into TBS (mostly PC now, though I might be worse at it than RTS), but I probably wouldn’t have gotten into a lot of the PC games I play now (and not just strategy, either) if not for that initial purchase of StarCraft, eight years late to the party.

    I received my copy of Diablo II as a freebie through Goozex last year, but I think I’d gladly pay for the Battle Chest if I didn’t have core D2 (and if I had the money; at the very least, I’ll buy the expansion at some point when I do have money, since it’s only $20). I know people who are in my boat playing catch-up, and know there are those who played the game when it came out and were stricken with nostalgia at some point in the last year.

    This comment is going a lot longer than it was supposed to. Anyway, I’m betting the first group given constitutes the largest chunk of “these people”.

    It would be interesting to look back at sales data for individual months regarding pre-2007 games – obviously, you’d see a boost in WoW, Diablo, W3, and SC sales from October, a lot of WoW and W3 sales from when WotLK came out, and Sims 2 sales shooting up in September. I have another (somewhat far-fetched) suspicion regarding SC and W3, but it’s impossible to know whether it’s correct because it concerns non-Blizzcon-related causes for spikes in Blizzcon month.