As part of its most recent financial report, Microsoft said that Xbox Live surged in popularity by 35 percent in 2009, with 23 million gamers having now signed up for the service. And according to a new independent study by Forecasting and Analyzing Digital Entertainment, those gamers spent an estimated $103.4 million on the service's wares during the year, up 34 percent from 2008.
FADE attributes the dramatic rise in its revenue estimates to an increase in average selling prices for Xbox Live Arcade titles as well as "incredible sales" for a number of downloadable games. The market research firm found that average sales prices gained nearly a dollar last year, rising from $8.33 in 2008 to $9.12 in 2009.
EA's Battlefield 1943 topped the list of XBLA titles in 2009, selling more than 800,000 units during the year, according to FADE. In July, EA announced that DICE's World War II shooter had sold 600,000 units across the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions of the game. EA had not returned requests to verify Battlefield 1943's XBLA sales numbers as of press time.
The Behemoth's highly regarded 2008 beat-'em-up Castle Crashers finished second behind Battlefield 1943. According to FADE's research analysis, the downloadable game sold 485,000 copies on the Xbox 360 in 2009, bringing its lifetime sales to nearly 1 million. RedLynx's Trials HD, Epic Games' Shadow Complex, and EA's Family Game Night rounded out the top five, though FADE did not break out individual sales estimates.
FADE did not indicate how it compiled its data and had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. A Microsoft representative did comment on the report, however, saying, "Microsoft does not disclose revenue estimates or comment on speculation for Xbox Live or Xbox Live Arcade."
Estimated Top Titles by Revenue in 2009 (Average Price):
1) Battlefield 1943 (EA DICE) - $12.5 million ($15)
2) Castle Crashers (The Behemoth) - $7.3 million ($15)
3) Trials HD (RedLynx) - $7.1 million ($15)
4) Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment / Epic Games) - $6.1 million ($14.38)
5) Family Game Night (EA) - $4.2 million ($9.53)
6) Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Capcom) - $4.2 million ($15.00)
7) Magic: The Gathering (Stainless Games) - $2.8 million ($10)
8) Worms 2 (Team 17) - $1.8 million ($10)
9) Peggle (PopCap Games) - $1.8 million ($8.86)
10) Turtles in Time: Reshelled (Ubisoft Singapore) - $1.7 million ($10)