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Install Base's Sales of the Year Awards - Let's vote ! [Full results !]

Hello everyone !

Now that 2021 is over and that we got a deluge of data and sales milestones with the financial reports earlier in the month, it is time for Install Base to hold its first edition of its Sales of the Year Awards !

This is our own take on the usual GOTY formula, which will reward the sales success of the year and the most impactful actors of 2021. Each category will allow you to pick three choices which will be granted the following points :

  1. 3 pts
  2. 2 pts
  3. 1 pt

Also, we are expecting members to explain their picks by a few words at least. Without further ado, here are the categories !

  • Rookie of the Year - rewards a new IP that successfully set up the potential for a strong and enduring franchise
  • Niche Success of the Year - rewards a game from a ongoing franchise that never crossed 1m before
  • Mobile Success of the Year - rewards the most successful mobile game of the year
  • Acquisition of the Year - rewards the acquistion that has and will have the bigger impact on the industry's landscape
  • Publisher of the Year - rewards the publisher that had the most successful year through its market share, games, services or overall health
  • Worst Publisher of the Year - goes to the publisher that had the biggest issues of the year through its market share, games, services or overall health
  • Upcoming biggest Success of 2022 - rewards the game/hardware/publisher/service (etc) expected to have the most success in 2022
  • Flop of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that disappointed the most
  • Sales of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that was the most successful

Exemple of formating:

Rookie of the Year
- rewards a new IP that successfully set up the potential for a strong and enduring franchise

  1. Game 1 - explanations
  2. Game 2 - explanations
  3. Game 3 - explanations

    [...]

The votes are open until March 6th 23:59 CEST. I really hope you'll be many to contribute and have fun in doing so :)

In addition to this, alongside publishing the full results, we'll try to make a tiered list of the most successful games/hardware/services of 2021, but more on that (hopefully) later !

Really can't wait to see your picks ;)
 
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Template

DarkDetective

真実はいつもひとつ! There's only one truth
Staff
Took Tokuiten's post and scrapped all his answers to create a template:

Rookie of the Year - rewards a new IP that successfully set up the potential for a strong and enduring franchise
1.
2.
3.

Niche Success of the Year - rewards a game from a ongoing franchise that never crossed 1m before
1.
2.
3.

Mobile Success of the Year - rewards the most successful mobile game of the year
1.
2.
3.

Acquisition of the Year - rewards the acquistion that has and will have the bigger impact on the industry's landscape
1.
2.
3.

Publisher of the Year - rewards the publisher that had the most successful year through its market share, games, services or overall health
1.
2.
3.

Worst Publisher of the Year - goes to the publisher that had the biggest issues of the year through its market share, games, services or overall health
1.
2.
3.

Upcoming biggest Success of 2022 - rewards the game/hardware/publisher/service (etc) expected to have the most success in 2022
1.
2.
3.

Flop of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that disappointed the most
1.
2.
3.

Sales of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that was the most successful
1.
2.
3.

Feel free to copy-paste.
 
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Suggestions
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
With one week remaining, I compiled a list of potential answers for people looking for inspiration :

Rookie of the Year - rewards a new IP that successfully set up the potential for a strong and enduring franchise
It Takes Two - Massive break out hit
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Back 4 Blood
Buddy Mission Bond
Valheim
Game Builder Garage
Nickelodeon all star brawl

Niche Success of the Year - rewards a game from a ongoing franchise that never crossed 1m before
SMTV
Monster Hunter Stories 2
Guilty Gear: Strive
Psychonauts 2
Miitopia
Returnal
Nickelodeon all star brawl
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water


Mobile Success of the Year - rewards the most successful mobile game of the year
Pokémon Go
Genshin Impact
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby
Roblox
Fire Emblem: Heroes
Three Kingdoms Tactics

Acquisition of the Year - rewards the acquistion that has and will have the bigger impact on the industry's landscape
Asmodee by Embracer Group
Zenimax by Microsoft
CrazyLabs by Embracer Group
Warner/Discovery merger
Aspyr being bought by Sabre

Publisher of the Year - rewards the publisher that had the most successful year through its market share, games, services or overall health
Pick among the publishers


Worst Publisher of the Year - goes to the publisher that had the biggest issues of the year through its market share, games, services or overall health
Pick among the publishers

Upcoming biggest Success of 2022 - rewards the game/hardware/publisher/service (etc) expected to have the most success in 2022

Pokémon Legends Arceus
Elden Ring
UCL
Slime Rancher 2
MK8 DLC
Nintendo
Botw2
Switch Sports
Sub services
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Starfield
God of War 2
Hogwart Legacy

Flop of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that disappointed the most

EA
Activision Blizzard King
Ubisoft
Level 5
Megaton Musashi
Balan Wonderland
Story of Seasons PoOT
Deep Silver
Square Enix
Battlefield 2042
NEO: TWEWY
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Destruction All Stars
Call of Duty Vanguard
GTA 3 Trilogy
Scarlet Nexus

Sales of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that was the most successful

Capcom
Microsoft
Nintendo
Game Pass
Forza Horizon 5
Monster Hunter Rise
Metroid Dread
Valheim
Oculus Quest 2
Pokémon BD/SP
It Takes Two
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Xbox Series S
Spider-Man Miles Morales


There's less than one week to vote, prioritize the Sales of the year award and work from there for the other (if you have the time) ;)
 
Rookie of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Rookie of the Year - rewards a new IP that successfully set up the potential for a strong and enduring franchise

1. It Takes Two - 21 pts, 7 times #1
a simply exceptional game that cemented itself as THE co-op experience of 2020. The 5m milestone is reached and sales remain steady to this day, an adaptation is also around the corner.
the tone was set with A Way Out, but It Takes Two really is the breakout success that puts Hazelight Studios on the map
the studio always makes new IPs, but this game sales warrant a sequel
A brand new IP that got critical and commercial acclaim, 5 million is a great result for this game.
2. Kena - 5 pts
This game was quite the success critically and commercially for a new studio like Ember Labs.
it's a shame we never heard anything about the sales performance of this game, but there was a healthy amount of hype around its release, and the game looks fantastic, so I feel it deserves its spot in this list.

2. Valheim - 5 pts
huge success out of nowhere
a roaring success from a very small team. The outburst of popularity was mighty impressive but they, imho, failed to capitalize on it by adding platforms. It is always tough for the small teams.

2. Garage Builder - 5 pts, 1 time #1
Game Builder Garage : 1M for this experiment from Nintendo is a good result
Nintendo doing fun experimental games.

Honorable mention to Back 4 Blood at #5 with 4 points :
I'm glad that Turtle Rock has found success with this new game, after Evolve flopped. The game had 6 million players within 2 weeks, thanks to Game Pass, and is now a platform the studio can build further upon.
 
Niche Success of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Niche Success of the Year - rewards a game from a ongoing franchise that never crossed 1m before

1. Monster Hunter Stories 2 - 16 pts, 4 times #1
This sequel to a 3DS game really outperformed expectations and sold quite well considering the first game didn't light the charts on fire.
First game was great, the new one is a level further with nice effort (budget, artstyle, content, support...) and establishes it as a franchise that will get more sequels.
the sequel managed to outsell the first game and to beat Capcom's expectations in an impressive manner. 1.5m sold in 6 months in no small feat.

2. Shin Megami Tensei V - 15 pts, 3 times #1
Not quite at 1 million yet, but it will get there which is a very impressive result for a series that sold so much less before.
here is another franchise that break reccord on Switch. The 3DS game had already sold well (taking into account the situation of the 3DS) so this success does not surprise me but it is always beautiful to see

3. Psychonauts 2 - 4 pts
A very late sequel that has likely outsold its predecessor and it also had the benefit of Gamepass as well.
 
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Mobile game of the year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Mobile Success of the Year - rewards the most successful mobile game of the year

1. Genshin Impact - 12 pts, 3 times #1
since its launch the game managed to gross more than 2B$ in a single year on mobile only, incredible performance.
The success of this game was already huge last year but MiHoYo brilliantly maintained the momentum during this year
Not completely a mobile game, but this game continues to rake in the money on mobile and has been massively successful on all platforms.
2. Uma Musume Pretty Derby - 8 pts, 2 times #1
this game launched in February 2021, is only available in Japan, and managed to gross $965 million in 2021, according to Sensor Tower. This game is an unbelievably big achievement, so it deserves to be my nomination as mobile success of the year.
seen everywhere, and it already feels like it's been here for way longer than that
3. Roblox - 7 pts, 1 time #1
its enormous

Honorable mention to Pokémon Go (5 point)
 
Acquisition of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Acquisition of the Year - rewards the acquistion that has and will have the bigger impact on the industry's landscape

1. Zenimax by Microsoft - 17 pts, 5 times #1
it speaks by itself, it's not just a dev and fits their portfolio incredibly well
this was the first sign Microsoft was willing to spend a lot of money on a group level to make Game Pass a success and to make gaming a mainstay within the company. This deal opened a real acquisition war on the AAA level, with multiple billion-dollar deals following later in the year by other companies.
Technically completed this year and added a massive amount of studios to Xbox's lineup which will greatly benefit them in the future, especially with Gamepaass.
2. Embracer Group - reflects the many acquisitions of Embracer
Nothing specific, just their general acquisition spree and all the studios they acquired in 2021 because it was a lot, but I would say Gearbox if I had to pick one.
Asmodee by Embracer Group -- the Swedish very hungry catterpillar Embracer has been spending its way up the ranks in the console games landscape for a couple of years, and 2021 was a transformative year for them, because they've established a big presence in the mobile game market through the acquisitions of Easybrain in Feb 2021 and CrazyLabs in Aug 2021, but the most significant acquisitions to me were made by them in December: Dark Horse Comics and Asmodee, which mark the expansion of the group outside video games, into comics and physical games. Asmodee is the second-biggest publisher in the world of tabletop games, only behind Hasbro, and has a huge presence in trading card games and other forms of physical gaming. The marriage between Embracer and Asmodee (and Dark Horse) creates an enormous IP catalogue that can be used across PC, mobile, console, VR, tabletop gaming, trading card gaming, books and comics, and has transformed Embracer into a true multimedia conglomerate.

CrazyLabs by Embracer Group -- I've tried to find some other acquisition not by Embracer Group, but basically all other video game acquisitions after Q1 have been at ridiculously high prices/multiples. CrazyLabs is one of the biggest hypercasual mobile publishers in the world. Along with Easybrain, who focuses on puzzle games, CrazyLabs is one of the two major pillars of Embracer's mobile strategy, which will become very important for the company. CrazyLabs invests a lot of talent acquisition from emerging markets, including India, which I feel is also important to grow the industry as a whole.

3. Aspyr by Saber - 3 pts, 1 time #1
 
Worst publisher of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Worst Publisher of the Year - goes to the publisher that had the biggest issues of the year through its market share, games, services or overall health

1. Activision Blizzard King - 20 pts, 6 times #1

The issues that were exposed at Activision-Blizzard are horrible and hurt them so much they ended up being acquired by Microsoft.
The ongoing scandal which gave Microsoft a window to acquire it makes it easy to say it was one of the worst this year. Diablo II Resurrected having DRM to check that you've been online in the past month is also another example of why they're a bad publisher.
All of their internal problems with harassment etc. and CoD Vanguard underperforming

2. Square Enix - 8 pts, 1 time #1

they haven't manage to put Marvel's Avengers back to life, and they've released a worthy successor flop with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Then add Balan Wonderworld, Outriders, NEO: The World Ends With You, and Life Is Strange: True Colors. Of course Square Enix has a number of successes to compensate for these disappointments, particularly Final Fantasy XIV. But for a company of this size, it's quite embarrassing that they had to stop the sale of the Endwalker expansion. It wasn't a bad year per se, financially, but between the lines, it could've been better.
In my opininion that was not a great year for Square Enix. Many games from them did not sell well.

3. Ubisoft - 6 pts, 1 time #1

not higher because we're used to that now, despite the issues continuing, still being too slow to pivot, lack of creativity and their NFT push.
Toxic workplace, high turnover, insistance that NFTs are good, and their pivot to do mostly GAAS does not give them much esteem in my opinion.
 
Publisher of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Publisher of the Year - rewards the publisher that had the most successful year through its market share, games, services or overall health

1. Capcom - 19 pts, 4 times #1

their three main products of the year, Monster Hunter Rise, Resident Evil: Village and Monster Hunter Stories 2, have all exceeded financial expectations and were met with much enthusiasm from both fans and critics.
The JP publisher manage to have a varied and deep line-up in 2021 that was met with critical and commercial success. Monster Hunter Rise and Resident Evil Village were among the highest rated games of 2021 and the most sucecssful ones.
The year was exellent for capcom. especially thanks to Monster Hunter Rise and Resident Evil VIII but several other games have been hits.

2. Nintendo - 13 pts, 4 times #1

The OLED model was a big success and they had a massive year with both hardware and software sales
Not much to say, but their ability to sell hardware and software is beyond any company in the business these days and Mario Kart 8 alone would probably put them on this list, not to mention all their other games.

3. Microsoft - 10 pts, 2 times #1

amazing software releases, plus future-thinking with acquisitions, pushing GamePass. Great job both for the company and gamers.
keeps showing their effort in multiple domains to get back on top: gamepass keeps getting stronger, slowly getting better in japan, acquisitions, scores, work with devs, reputation...
 
Upcoming biggest Success of 2022
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Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Upcoming biggest Success of 2022 - rewards the game/hardware/publisher/service (etc) expected to have the most success in 2022

1. Elden Ring - 18 pts, 4 times #1

Going to possibly be FromSoftware's best selling title and a neat cultural comeback story for George R. R. Martin.
A defining game in the making with a broader, in appeal, formula than past From games
the hype is gigantic. Dark Souls III sold more than 10 million units, and this one could go even higher.

2. Pokémon Legends Arceus - 7 pts, 2 times #1

Kind of cheating since we already got results, but this game exceeded even my high expectations and is gonna sell well throughout 2022.
already out admittedly but changed up the gameplay and seeing positive reviews for it

3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 - 7 pts, 1 time #1

The first BotW was/is a sales phenomenon. If Nintendo doesn't screw up, this will be a megaton event release.
assuming it's not delayed, I see this selling gangbusters. Sequel to one of the highest rated games this generation.

Honorable mention to Starfield (5 pts), Nintendo (5 pts) and Nintendo Switch Sports (5 pts).
 
Flop of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Flop of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that disappointed the most

1. Battlefield 2042 - 10 pts, 3 times #1

Vanguard's reception being lukewarn was a big opportunity for the franchise, a couple of months after launch and it was struggling to match BFV or BF4 playercount.
4.2M players first week despite free with EA Play, Steam CCU went below Battlefield V in 4 weeks and below Battlefield 1 in 6 weeks (comparison). What a disappointment.
Deserved for the complete misread of the market and their fanbase, and refusing to admit their faults.

2. Balan Wonderworld - 10 pts, 2 times #1

Poor Yuji Naka
one of the worst rated games of the year and sales are almost non-existent.

3. Megaton Musashi - 6 pts, 1 time #1

Was both an anime flop and a video game flop. Hino and Level 5 have fallen a long way from their glory days.
sad for level 5 but their last game was really struggling.

Dishonorable mention to Destruction All Stars (5 pts), Call of Duty Vanguard (4 pts) and the Grand Theft Auto 3 Trilogy (4 pts).
 
Sales of the Year
OP
OP
Lelouch0612

Lelouch0612

Staff
Sales of the Year - goes to the game/hardware/service that was the most successful

1. Forza Horizon 5 - 14 pts, 3 times #1

This game really exceeded my expectations and has put Forza on top in terms of Microsoft's own game development efforts.
deserves a separate mention, because realistic racing games (even if on the arcadey side) are not an easy sell nowadas, and GamePass just made so many people give this a try DESPITE the genre.

2. Oculus/Meta Quest 2 - 6 pts, 2 times #1

although we don't have official sales data (only hints), analyst estimates, storefront revenue milestones, and the general buzz around this platform have convinced me that the Quest 2 has pulled VR to the next level. It may not be a console-level performance yet, but slowly but surely the VR market is getting there, and this performance of the Quest 2 in the past year is the first sign of that.
Quest 2 cemented itself as a successful console in the VR realm with good software sales and likely very good software revenue since the deals on the store are not that great; and look at that market share on Steam!

3. Valheim - 5 pts, 1 time #1

more than 8 million units sold, peak CCU of more than 500k, what an indie success story. Not my Rookie of the Year, but definitely an incredible success!

3. Metroid Dread - 5 pts, 1 time #1

Already second best selling Metroid game with the biggest launch in franchise history
Samus Aran's triumphant return

5. Monster Hunter Rise - 5 pts

Best-selling Capcom game with a single SKU, almost 8m units sold, the vast majority at full or Deluxe price in 9 months. With Sunbreak around the corner and the recent PC port, we'll still be talking about MHR sales for quite some timesad for level 5 but their last game was really struggling.
Proving that a portable Monster Hunter can still bring in massive sales numbers.

Honorable mention to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (4 pts) and so many picks with 3 points !
 
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