The 20 games that will save Christmas

SPECIAL REPORT: Half of all UK software revenues this year will come from a top-tier of select games – releases that might just offset a six month decline in the sale boxed games.

MCV – with expert input from our Retail Advisory Board – has put together a list of what those 20 games are likely to be. Scroll down for the list, or click through to the second page of this feature to see in-depth analysis of each title.

A focus on the biggest titles follows a trend from last year. The UK Top 20 selling games of 2010 accounted for 37 per cent of all the software revenue generated last year (according to Chart-Track), and that was even more concentrated during the Q4 Christmas rush.

The Top 20 All Formats amounted to 45 per cent of Q4 2010’s unit sales and 55 per cent of its revenue,” said Chart-Track’s business group director Dorian Bloch.

Perhaps even more incredible is the fact that the Top Five for Q4 2010 accounted for 32 per cent of Q4 2010’s value. That’s one third of the entertainment software market in Q4 2010 based on Black Ops, FIFA 11, Just Dance 2, Assassin’s Creed and Medal of Honor.”

Retail buyers are now focusing their efforts on key titles to make sure that the big bets pay off.

To some degree it makes it easier,” said HMV CEO Simon Fox. The big games are getting bigger. The challenge for retail is how do we get our fair share of these enormous franchises?”

Asda games chief Andrew Thompson added: We think the Top 20 will be worth 50 per cent of the market in 2011. So it is really about getting the messaging in-store and online absolutely spot-on.”


  • Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Battlefield 3
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • F1 2011
  • FIFA 12
  • Gears of War 3
  • Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary
  • Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  • Just Dance 3
  • L.A. Noire
  • Mario & Sonic at the London Olympic Games
  • Need for Speed: The Run
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
  • Zumba Fitness

Click through to page 2 for in-depth analysis of our top 20.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Ubisoft’s flagship franchise reaches new heights every year, and Revelations is sure to maintain this momentum. The hit action adventure series has sold 28m units across three titles since 2007, and expectations for Ezio’s final adventure are sky high.

Batman: Arkham City

"This is universally touted by the media as one of the top games of 2011. It will be a monumental launch for us and our retail partners are excited about our campaign."
Spencer Crossley,WBIE UK

Battlefield 3 / FIFA 12 / Need for Speed: The Run

We believe we’ll have three of the Top Ten titles at retail in 2011 and three of the biggest home entertainment launches across all sectors. FIFA 12, Battlefield 3 and NFS: The Run are groundbreaking new releases. Each is generating unprecedented levels of anticipation and record pre-order numbers."
Stuart Lang, EA

Call of Duty: Black Ops

The sensational sales of Black Ops has seen it become the UK’s most successful video game. Activision has continued to support the game aggressively throughout the year with three downloadable map packs, making it a mainstay in the Chart-Track Top Ten.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

"It’s the cinematic experience you have come to expect from Call of Duty and Modern Warfare but the scale of it is so much more."
Robert Bowling, Creative Strategist, Infinity Ward

F1 2011

The challenge is making the whole F1 game experience more fulfilling than the last one. And I think we’ve succeeded. The difference is stunning in terms of its clarity, detail and composition.”
Jeremy Wigmore,Codemasters

Gears of War 3

The third instalment in Microsoft’s hugely popular shooter series is the fastest pre-ordered title in Xbox history and one of the console’s most hyped releases of 2011. Gamer appetites were whetted earlier this year with a multiplayer beta, which saw the game’s online modes road-tested by 1.29m fans worldwide.

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary

The tenth anniversary is huge for us. There’s a whole new audience out there that has yet to play the original. This is as much for them as the fans.”

Stephen McGill, Microsoft UK

Harry Potter: Years 5-7

There are already two LEGO games making an impact on the Chart-Track Top 40 – LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and LEGO Star Wars III. But the big one is coming this Christmas in Harry Potter: Years 5-7, arriving in time for the DVD release of this summer’s blockbuster movie finale.

Just Dance 3

Ubisoft’s multi-million selling Wii phenomenon is back for its third crack, and this time it’s a multi-platform game – with Kinect and PlayStation Move iterations due this year. So far titles in the Just Dance series have sold more than 14 million units worldwide, and that’s in just two years.

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