But we might have at least a small hint.
After playing a game on the 3DS for over a hour, players are capable of rating these games via the eShop, and the totals are shown on each game page, showing up to five stars based on what the population thinks. At the very least, we now have minimum sales figures for the games, but with a very large disclaimer: these numbers represent the users who have done the following:
1) Purchased the game
2) Played the game for over an hour on the 3DS, and
3) Chose to rate the game on the eShop.
People who play the games on their DSi systems cannot rate games, nor can people who have not played the games for less than one hour. Since rating cannot be done outside of the eShop, some might have forgotten to or chosen not to rate said games. Also note that a rating does not necessarily correspond with a sale in the month in which it appears, only emphasizing the number of additional people who completed the above steps.
With that disclaimer in mind, let us take a look at how the games performed.
Hulu did not appear by year end as I anticipated, but we did receive another app this past year, the messaging application known as Swapnote. Now it does take a while for applications such as these to take off, but despite the potential of it to grow, I do not think it will surpass other free software such as Nintendo Video. It appears that Pokedex 3D, while still remaining the most-rated product for download on the eShop, has not crossed Nintendo Video's monthly ratings, as I predicted. Regardless, Nintendo Video has a ways to go before it gets close to reaching Pokedex 3D's LTD ratings.
Overall, 2011's Free Apps appear to be growing at a similar pace over the course of time. Pokedex 3D is the clear winner, here. Netflix appears to be growing steadily but at about half the pace, and it reflects in total distribution. Next year, I expect a few more apps to appear, but I suspect Pokedex 3D updates will keep it at the top for the foreseeable future.
|2||2||Night of the Living Carrots||93||195|
|3||3||The Pig Who Cried Werewolf||23||52|
The video ratings would be surprising to me, but I know it would take time for these videos to get past the "one hour" mark for eShop rating. I am surprised we have not seen more of these video downloads emerge yet, though.
In 2011, only 505 ratings were made for the three videos, so data is not necessarily that accurate here, but we can certainly agree that Michael Jackson songs can attract a viewing audience!
|1||4||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! [CN] ||1256||4320|
|2||1||Plants vs. Zombies||800||5721|
|7||10||Shantae: Risky's Revenge||278||2494|
|9||8||Anonymous Notes Chapter 1 - From the Abyss||270||2017|
|10||9||GO Series: 10 Second Run||215||1391|
|11||13||Tetris Party Live||205||1504|
|13||11||Nintendo Countdown Calender||167||805|
|16||12||Pop Island - Paperfield||137||1196|
|17||21||Soul of Darkness||123||873|
|20||19||Dr. Mario Express||90||807|
|21||20||Glory Days: Tactical Defense||71||462|
|22||22||Dark Void Zero||66||799|
|26||29||Paper Airplane Chase||54||353|
|29||28||Blazybloo: Super Melee Action Battle Royale||47||349|
|30||24||Gangstar 2: Kings of L.A.||44||325|
|32||33||5 in 1 Solitaire||40||274|
|34||34||Anonymous Notes Chapter 2 - From the Abyss||35||492|
|36||39||My Exotic Farm||31||251|
|38||35||GO Series: Defense Wars||26||206|
|41||42||Petz Dogz Family||17||92|
|43||40||A Topsy Turvy Life: The Turvys Strike Back||7||86|
*This list consists of a selection of DSiWare games that released prior to June 2011 and does not reflect the actual rating listing of every previous DSiWare game released.
[CN] This game was made available for download via Club Nintendo.
It appears that the overall ranking for the older DSiWare games will only change slightly over time, as we see here, but there is one factor to mention. Starting December 2011, Nintendo has provided select games for download using Coins from Club Nintendo. As a result, a number of games will eventually be downloaded and rated without actual sales passing through. From here on out, the games will be marked with [CN], and those that have become newly-made downloads via Club Nintendo will have red-marked ratings data. As seen here, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again is December 2011's most-rated game and also was selected by Club Nintendo. Dr. Mario Express is January 2012's game, and it will be marked next month.
No new additions this month for the Legacy DSiWare titles, but more may arrive in 2012.
2011's most-rated DSiWare title of old was Popcap's Plants vs. Zombies with 5,721 ratings. As the top spot, it took 11.9% of the ratings, which is not all too bad in hindsight, especially since the list does not include every old DSiWare game before the eShop launch. Even the partial list has the most ratings outside of the Free Apps, a total of 47,969 ratings. 15 of the 44 games on the list had more than a thousand ratings.
What is interesting to note is how adding Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! to Club Nintendo directly affected its ratings. Without the boost, it would probably sit at number 4, but it crosses over Cave Story and Photo Dojo in December. You can see in the chart below how the ratings more than doubled the previous month, but in the end, these were not indicative of actual sales. No doubt about it, Plants vs. Zombies looks like it'll have over 10,000 ratings by this upcoming December.
The Legacy DSiWare Top 10 (2011)
|1||Plants vs. Zombies||5721|
|2||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (CN) ||4320|
|6||Shantae: Risky's Revenge||2494|
|7||Anonymous Notes Chapter 1 - From the Abyss||2017|
|1||1||The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition*||10490||32608|
|3||3||Cut the Rope||254||412|
|5||6||Extreme Hangman 2||73||407|
|7||7||Let's Create! Pottery||52||294|
|8||31||Come On! Heroes||41||51|
|9||9||GO Series: Fishing Resort||38||195|
|10||17||My Australian Farm||36||141|
|11||Castle Conqueror: Against||35||35|
|14||11||The Lost Town: The Dust||28||268|
|15||13||Go! Go! Kokopolo||27||179|
|18||21||Escape Trick: Convenience Store||26||39|
|19||18||Stratego: Next Edition||25||146|
|21||15||My Asian Farm||25||109|
|22||22||Make-Up & Style||20||130|
|25||10||Castle Conqueror: Revolution||18||66|
|27||Chronicles of Vampires: Origins||15||15|
|29||12||Halloween: Trick or Treat||12||47|
|30||24||Castle Conqueror: Heroes||12||24|
|32||27||Blockado - Puzzle Island||11||55|
|34||Word Searcher 4||11||11|
|35||48||Kung Fu Dragon||10||49|
|37||Elite Forces: Unit 77||10||10|
|38||45||Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!?||9||90|
|41||33||GO Series: Portable Shrine Wars||8||75|
|42||42||Zoonies - Escape from Makatu||8||59|
|43||28||Defense of the Middle Kingdom||8||44|
|44||46||Escape Trick: Ninja Castle||8||34|
|45||55||Play & Learn Chinese||8||10|
|46||House M.D. - Under the Big Top||8||8|
|47||57||Zimo: Mahjong Fanatic||7||30|
|48||49||Heart Spaces Euchre||7||48|
|49||50||Play & Learn Spanish||7||21|
|50||38||House M.D. - Blue Meanie||7||48|
|51||43||Crystal Caves of Amen-Ra||7||24|
|52||47||1950s Lawn Mower Kids||7||13|
|53||37||Jewel Keepers: Easter Island||6||63|
|55||41||Go Fetch! 2||6||25|
|57||29||Bugs 'N' Balls||6||26|
|59||44||House M.D. - Skull and Bones||5||16|
|61||60||Just SING! 80s Collection||4||9|
|62||35||House M.D. - Crashed||4||13|
|65||52||Boardwalk Ball Toss||3||23|
|69||61||Oscar's World Tour||2||16|
|72||64||Battle of the Elements||2||2|
|74||54||B-Team - Episode 2: Ice & Venom||1||7|
|75||Just SING! Christmas Vol. 3||1||1|
|76||51||Beach Party Craze||0||25|
** This game is freely available until February 2012.
Coming after the great introductions of last month, December's results were a lot less delightful to see. Bloons TD and Cut the Rope remained high on the charts, and Zelda was the absolute top by far, considering the game is available for free anyways. The highest debut for December was Castle Conqueror: Against with 35 ratings; not so bad as the game is pretty much the third or fourth game in the series on DSiWare. Rytmik Retrobits sat just below it, while the majority of the debuts sat lower on the carts. Double Bloob was the only 0-rating debut, but Just SING! Christmas Vol. 3 and Slingo Supreme got pretty close. Beach Party Craze, a game which debuted at the eShop launch, is the only other no-rating game this month.
2011 has been a hit-or-miss year for DSiWare releases that were not on the top of the charts immediately. Whether this is because of the eShop's setup or not remains to be argued. If we ignore Four Swords Anniversary Edition (as we should, considering it is free), the total ratings for new DSiWare games sit at 6,213 ratings, less than a fifth of Zelda's ratings by itself. 18 of the 77 DSiWare titles post-launch have more than a hundred ratings, of which only one reached over one thousand ratings: Zelda. Bloons TD will most likely be the first to reach that milestone in 2012, but the other games will struggle to get there if at all. What is a worse statistic, however, is that 47 of the games got less than fifty ratings, of which 20 have less than 20. Here's hoping the games get more sales than these ratings show.
Clearly, the eShop has not catered well enough to newer DSiWare releases other than already popular products such as Bloons TD and Cut the Rope; hopefully 2012's releases will get more attention and these will improve as well.
Post-Launch DSiWare Top 10 (2011)
|1||The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition*||32608|
|4||Cut the Rope||412|
|5||Extreme Hangman 2||407|
|6||Let's Create! Pottery||294|
|7||The Lost Town: The Dust||268|
|8||GO Series: Fishing Resort||195|
|9||Go! Go! Kokopolo||179|
|1||2||Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX||1271||17463|
|2||1||Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins||1109||3688|
|3||3||Super Mario Land||652||10285|
|4||6||Metroid II: Return of Samus||594||737|
|5||4||Kirby's Dream Land||384||3728|
|7||7||Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge||172||817|
|9||8||Game & Watch Gallery||113||1125|
|14||Blaster Master: Enemy Below||43||43|
|16||15||Burger Time Deluxe||35||76|
Classic Games (or Virtual Console, hard to tell after the title changed a few times on the eShop) have had better months. Metroid II performed much better this time around, as I predicted, but it still has a way to go if it wants to match up against Nintendo's bigger VC games released thus far. Mario's Picross passed the thousand mark, and Donkey Kong became the third title to pass the 4,000 rating mark, behind Super Mario Land and Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, which is still the most-rated downloadable game which has never been available for free. Super Mario Land is now the second VC game to surpass 10,000 ratings, quite a feat to be sure!
The top performing debut goes to Hudson Soft's Adventure Island with 51 ratings, followed quickly by Sunsoft's Blaster Master: Enemy Below, which is the second GameBoy Color title in the US eShop. The numbers are not too great, when comparing to the rest of the games on the list, so hopefully they will continue to get more in the near future. Meanwhile, big game Tetris did terribly at 7 ratings, but considering the multitude of newer Tetris games, I am not too surprised.
Club Nintendo has marked Kirby's Dream Land for January 2012.
2011 was very good for a number of games on the Virtual Console and marginally so for others. No doubt Nintendo took the top spots all around, with Link's Awakening DX and Super Mario Land taking a large stake in the total rankings (46,331 total). The spread between the top tier games and the other titles is wide enough that two graphs were necessary. Of the 28 games released in 2011, 20 got more than a hundred ratings, 11 had more than 500, 7 had more than a thousand, and 2 had more than ten thousand.
Top 10 Classic Games (2011)
|1||Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX||17463|
|2||Super Mario Land||10285|
|4||Kirby's Dream Land||3728|
|5||Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins||3688|
|7||Game & Watch Gallery||1125|
|8||Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge||817|
|9||Metroid II: Return of Samus||737|
3DS Download Software
|2||1||FreakyForms: Your Creations, Alive!||1717||2966|
|3||3||3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure||1364||1964|
|4||2||3D Classics: Excitebike*||807||19727|
|5||6||3D Classics: Xevious [CN] ||616||1748|
|6||Mighty Switch Force!||483||483|
|7||4||Let's Golf! 3D||280||2135|
|9||7||3D Classics: Twinbee||105||437|
|10||8||3D Classics: Urban Champion||102||736|
*Available for free during June 2011
[CN] This game was made available for download via Club Nintendo.
I am glad to say that this was the most active month for eShop originals yet. Not only did we get Nintendo's second non-3D Classics title, but we also received two third party games near the end of the month. Pushmo succeeded in getting great word of mouth and sits at the top with 2,870 ratings, already placing it at the third most-rated title on the list (editor's note: the game has since passed FreakyForms). Mighty Switch Force performed especially well, and it is no doubt on the path to hitting a thousand ratings in no time! VVVVVV appeared mere days before the end of the month, so its performance is pretty good for such a short time. Whether it can build from that momentum will need to be seen next month.
Last month's hits FreakyForms and 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure continued to perform well; FreakyForms was made the most-rated 3DS Download Software title that was never free, and Kirby's Adventure is only behind Excitebike for the 3D Classics. Xevious has the mark of Club Nintendo, and as expected, the ratings have improved in number for it.
Overall, 2011 performance for original 3DS software was not great until the last few months when new, original games filled the lineup. Only 11 titles were released for this category, of which 5 were 3D Classics titles. Six of the games had more than a thousand ratings, and all had at least a hundred ratings, regardless. The top third party performer was Let's Golf! 3D with 2,135 ratings, while the lowest performer overall (outside of the few-day-release VVVVVV) was Enjoy Gaming's Pyramids, with 288 ratings by year-end.
Due to 3D Classics: Excitebike's unusually high performance, it's performance is posted on a second chart alongside Let's Golf! 3D for comparison purposes.
All 3DS Download Software (2011)
|1||3D Classics: Excitebike||19727|
|2||FreakyForms: Your Creations, Alive!||2966|
|4||Let's Golf! 3D||2135|
|5||3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure||1964|
|6||3D Classics: Xevious||1748|
|7||3D Classics: Urban Champion||736|
|8||Mighty Switch Force!||483|
|9||3D Classics: Twinbee||437|
|1||1||The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition**||10490||32608|
|3||2||FreakyForms: Your Creations, Alive!||1717||2966|
|4||7||3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure||1364||1964|
|5||4||Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX||1271||17463|
|6||12||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! [CN] ||1256||4320|
|7||3||Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins||1109||3688|
|8||6||3D Classics: Excitebike*||807||19727|
|9||5||Plants vs. Zombies||800||5721|
|11||8||Super Mario Land||652||10285|
|12||30||3D Classics: Xevious [CN] ||616||1748|
|13||24||Metroid II: Return of Samus||594||737|
|14||Mighty Switch Force!||483||483|
|18||11||Kirby's Dream Land||384||3728|
|20||15||Let's Golf! 3D||280||2135|
*This game was freely available during June 2011.
**This game is freely available until February 2012.
[CN] These titles are/were available for download using Coins at Club Nintendo
No doubt, Pushmo was the game of interest in December, while FreakyForms and Kirby remained as strong as ever. Even Mighty Switch Force! appeared in the Top 20, which is darn good for a game which had a week and change on the store when it debuted. The only thing missing from the Top 20 would be a Video Download (Thriller was at 36 this month). Both Club Nintendo games appeared on the list, both with significant rises, but is that really a surprise?
As for 2011 overall, Nintendo posted a list on the eShop, which is reposted below. Beside their rank is the rating rank relative to it.
Top 20 eShop Downloads of 2011*
|3||1||The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX|
|4||2||Super Mario Land|
|10||3||Kirby's Dream Land|
|11||4||Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins|
|5||5||Plants vs. Zombies|
|16||8||Let's Golf! 3D|
|18||9||3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure|
|6||10||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again|
|17||11||Anonymous Notes Chapter 1|
|24||12||GO Series: 10 Second Run|
|12||15||Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!|
|20||16||3D Classics: Xevious|
|15||19||Shantae: Risky's Revenge|
|23||20||Tetris Party Live|
*Does not include The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition or 3D Classics: Excitebike, which appear as 1 and 2 in our Top 20 due to times during which the games were freely available.
Obviously there are some differences to be had. One noticeable omission from the Top 20 is Pushmo, which is 14 on our list. I do not know what date range this chart had, but I have a feeling it did not take December into great consideration, or at the very least, only took a couple weeks in December into consideration. Regardless, it shows here that Virtual Console releases have been getting the most attention. Do not be afraid to try out new games on DSiWare or on 3DS Download Software!
Either way, this will be the eShop's first full year, and with Wii U releasing, perhaps it, too, will have a system in need of analysis. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this overly analytical look at incomplete data. [/crazy]