Break-out Sales Surprise of 2015

Break-out Sales Surprise of 2015 - Article

by Tyler Treese, posted on 09 January 2016 / 7,475 Views

Every year in gaming is filled with surprises from both a quality and performance standpoint. Typically these go together, and 2015 was filled with games that proved better than expected in both areas. Rocket League went from being a sequel to a niche downloadable title to an absolute phenomenon, Splatoon ended up being the hit that the Wii U needed, Until Dawn was shockingly good and sold well beyond expectations, and Cities: Skylines came out of nowhere to suddenly dominate a genre.

 

The Nominees:

 

Splatoon

 


Cities: Skylines

 


Until Dawn

 Until Dawn


Rocket League

  

 

 




 

And the Winner is...

 


Rocket League

Community's Choice - Splatoon (53% of the votes)

Nobody could have expected Rocket League to become such a massive hit. A sequel to the much less well-known Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, an average PlayStation 3 downloadable title that didn't have a lasting impact, there was little indication that Psyonix would improve the sequel tenfold and that the sales would increase correspondingly.

While it obviously helps that Rocket League was a free title for PlayStation Plus subscribers, Rocket League was also massive success on the PC (well over 2.3 million sales on Steam, according to Steam Spy estimates) - the arguably less receptive platform for a game of this nature - and that speaks volumes for how well the game would have performed on PlayStation 4 even if it hadn't been part of the PlayStation Plus free games promotion. With an Xbox One release around the corner we expect this incredible sales performance to continue well into 2016.

Although all of the nominees listed above sold beyond expectations we feel it was Rocket League, above all of the others, that surprised the most and that is why it's our Break-out Sales Surprise of 2015.


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33 Comments

Munchies (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon is obviously the only correct answer.


naruball (on 09 January 2016)

It is if you ignore everything else.


  • +6
ReimTime (on 09 January 2016)

Seeing as it won the community choice with over 50% of the vote, and the voters dont have control over what the reviewers of the site think - I'd argue that you should be happy. If they were all nominees it means they all could have deserved it. So for the same reason, please don't downplay another good and deserving game, as if trying to invalidate the site staff's opinions.


  • +2
JRPGfan (on 09 January 2016)

Where I live, I dont know another in my circle of friends&co-workers, that has a Wii U & play Splatoons. Everyone seems to be playing Rocketleague.


  • 0
Cloudman (on 09 January 2016)

I would give it to Splatoon. Sure, nobody probably expected RL to be a big success, but a lot of people believed Splatoon would bomb. The jokes on them since Splatoon turned out to be a big success, which is pretty good considering people said it would bomb and it was on a poor selling console. Splatoon seems like the right answer to me.


Jranation (on 09 January 2016)

Yep. The major difference was that people thought Splatoon would do really bad. Like realllllllyyyyyy bad.


  • +1
Cloudman (on 09 January 2016)

Yeah, it can be said that Splatoon is from a 1st party company, got a lot of advertising, and is on a console starved of games, but it can't be denied that Splatoon blew and continues to blow expectations.


  • +2
uran10 (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon deserved this one...


  • -5
Fear_Me_All (on 10 January 2016)

Splatoon did great, but Rocket League did way better. IMO both deserve first spot.


thepurplewalrus (on 10 January 2016)

(I can't wait for this comment to have 15 downvotes). You people need to understand that there's games other than Splatoon that deserved this award. I don't understand why most of you are saying things like "Splatoon is the ONLY correct answer" or downvoting any comment that disagrees with yours. Even though I think Splatoon should've won, you need to understand that Rocket League is deserving of the award as well.


Cloudman (on 10 January 2016)

Dang, now I feel like that -15 vote thing is a challenge now, hah.


  • 0
thepurplewalrus (on 10 January 2016)

Lol was that you that downvoted my comment? XD


  • 0
Cloudman (on 10 January 2016)

Yeah, that was me, only because your -15 comment moved me to do it, haha. As for your overall thought, I can agree on that. Both feel fitting for the award. I just side more with Splatoon getting it. I don't mean to invalidate the staff's pick. I didn't even notice the community pick was Splatoon. So I am okay with this award.


  • 0
thepurplewalrus (on 10 January 2016)

Looks like we're now 18 downvotes away from our goal.


  • 0
Cloudman (on 10 January 2016)

Curses! I would have gotten away with it if wasn't for you meddling VGC members! Foiled again..!


  • 0
KLAMarine (on 09 January 2016)

Hmm, I guess it makes sense. Splatoon premiered to a very positive reception at E3 and immediately saw large amounts of fanart generated for it long before its release. There was plenty of naysayers but Splatoon's success wasn't as out of nowhere as Rocket League's. If memory serves, RL didn't get an E3 premier or as much fanart and was a follow-up to a title very few had heard about. Sure it got PS+ promotion but so do many other games.


Sixteenvolt420 (on 09 January 2016)

Until Dawn deserved it in my opinion. A lot of people got Rocket League for free, so it really shouldn't count, imo.


midrange (on 09 January 2016)

Rocket league still sold millions without the free downloads people had. It definitely should be a candidate


  • +3
toot1231 (on 09 January 2016)

This was completely unfair. Rocket League was given away for free of course it was going to be a big hit. Splatoon was a 60$ game that sold really well for a new IP on a struggling system


Chazore (on 09 January 2016)

Also Splatoon was a new concept that was fresh and new, RL was created based on the same concepts from a game made by the same dev team from 2008-9. Seriously if you wiki the dev team you will see an older RL game from 2008-9 called "Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars"


  • -1
pokoko (on 09 January 2016)

First, the down/up-vote system absolutely sucks and this illustrates that perfectly. Legitimate opinions being hidden because the dominant hive-mind wants to bury anything different is just shameful. Second, Rocket League is the clear winner in my opinion. A tiny third-party game against a heavily marketed first-party title that had its own console bundle? Yeah. Now, bring me your down-votes.


Chazore (on 09 January 2016)

I kept saying this time and time again and I;d still get downvoted for it by the hive minds, the very people who are still a blight to this site because they would rather have your say censored and marked in red than simply talking things out.

Doesn't surprise me when I see companies like Google who got rid of that system nearly 3 years ago, Disqis 2 and a half years ago and other forums and sites, there's even been studies/talks of why such a system is bad in general because it doesn't actually contribute anything to any discussion and can and will lead to circle jerking and in a case like this, censorship.


  • +3
MDMAlliance (on 09 January 2016)

I personally think Rocket League wins it out, but Splatoon is a close second. Rocket League is everywhere now, but before that, it was an unknown. With Splatoon, people knew about it well beforehand at the least. Of course, many thought it would fail, but that doesn't change the fact that it had a lot more official exposure.


  • +1
Chazore (on 09 January 2016)

The same technically happened with Undertale and that game next to no marketing of any sort while RL had marketing with Sony and PS+, UT got exposure through it's fanbase and yet that indie won less awards despite being unique and doing new things that most games these days would rather ignore. The difference here is that UT did something different and so did Splatoon but with RL it exists in the same shadow of a game that was created by the same dev team from 2008-9, despite what RL brings to the table it still exists and was born from the same concept and team and of course given free via PS+ while the other two were full price.


  • 0
ReimTime (on 10 January 2016)

Yea it is unfortunate how this happens. The funny thing is I am still surprised when I see it happens, even though I have seen it happen before time and time again. Like I'm sitting here looking at midrange's comment, which currently sits at -3, and wondering how it all went wrong.


  • +1
ReimTime (on 09 January 2016)

A pleasant reminder that when the users had our say, Splatoon won with an impressive 53% of the vote! Now that our turn is over, it's the site staff's turn to choose; so please don't invalidate their pick.


NightDragon83 (on 09 January 2016)

Clearly it's Rocket League... Splatoon is a 1st party game developed and marketed by Nintendo and released on a console whose userbase is starved of quality software, so its sales shouldn't have surprised anybody.


WoodenPints (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon was the only winner here, Really surprised it didn't get the award.


zorg1000 (on 09 January 2016)

I think it should have been Splatoon, it's a $60 retail game compared to one that was given away for free.


Machina (on 09 January 2016)

Rocket League was not free on Steam, where it sold over 2.3 million copies. Had it not been part of PS Plus it would surely have sold just as much if not more on PSN than it did on Steam.


  • +6
zorg1000 (on 09 January 2016)

Ya but at the same time what is the install base of Steam compared to Wii U? Isn't it also sold for a fraction of the price of Splatoon? Also how do we know it would have done just as well on PSN as it did on Steam?


  • +1
Teeqoz (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon was the equivalent of 40$ in Japan and it was 40€ in Europe


  • 0
naruball (on 09 January 2016)

It's funny how much some people's judgment is clouded when it comes to their favourite game/company. You seem to be ignoring one too many things.
1. Hundreds of games have been given for free on ps+. How many of them turned out to be so successful? (this is not a rhetorical question). Please name a few that became (hugely) successful thanks to ps+. I'll wait as I'm curious.
2. (you mentioned install base) How much competition did Rocket League have on Steam and how much did Splatoon on wiiU?
3. What reputation did the company that made Rocket League have compared to Ninty's 1st party?
How much money did the Rocket League developers spent on advertising compared to Ninty's on Splatoon? How much coverage did RL receive by Sony compared to Ninty's of Splatoon (directs, etc).
4. Which of the two genres has done better so far, Shooters or whatever Rocket League is?


  • +7
Rogerioandrade (on 11 January 2016)

Rocket League was given away for free and it has a small price (it´s basically an indie game), so I don´t think it was a surprise at all.


bunchanumbers (on 11 January 2016)

Splatoon is the right answer. RL was free its first month. I doubt it would have had anywhere near the momentum it had if it wasn't for that.


NewBeginning (on 10 January 2016)

I'm surprised Ark: Survival Evolved wasn't at least nominated.


hershel_layton (on 09 January 2016)

People who are saying Nintendo-fans are whining, I don't think so. I mean, Splatoon is an entirely new franchise(Rocket league wasn't). Also, Splatoon was on the Wii U. Wii U selling horribly, everyone thought the IP would die quickly. Splatoon truly deserved it.


midrange (on 10 January 2016)

The fact that rocket league is an indie title and the sequel to a game that wasn't that big to begin with is shocking giving its sales. It's a breakout surprise like no other. How many people did you know say "I'm totally gonna get the sequel to supersonic acrobatic rocket powered battle cars!" Even the devs didn't think it would be this big.

Rocket league is a valid choice


  • 0
SuperNova (on 09 January 2016)

The editors really loved Rocket League and Ori this year I think they won most of their respective nominee categorys. I have played neither yet, so my personal choices would have been diffrent, but I'm sure they're great games.


CaptainExplosion (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon should've won this.


JRPGfan (on 09 January 2016)

The thing is rocket league probably has 10m+ players by now.
It deserved to win this.


  • +4
CaptainExplosion (on 09 January 2016)

Selling more units than something doesn't mean it's the better game.


  • -3
JRPGfan (on 09 January 2016)

CaptainExplosion look at the title dude. Break-out Sales Surprise.
Its about games that surprise people with sales numbers.
Did anyone think Rocket League would come out and reach like 10m user base?


  • +5
CaptainExplosion (on 09 January 2016)

Most people probably did actually, because it was something they hadn't seen in ages, maybe not even forever.


  • -4
thepurplewalrus (on 10 January 2016)

Name 5 other times where a unique and innovative game concept became a sales juggernaut within the past 5 years, and I'll let you have your opinion.


  • 0
cfin2987@gmail.com (on 09 January 2016)

Rocket league = a small add on from a ps1 game called rollcage


CaptainExplosion (on 09 January 2016)

Rollcage? Even I don't remember that one.


  • +1
cfin2987@gmail.com (on 11 January 2016)

Roll cage stage 2 was particularly great. But yes, this game ripped it off. Maybe rocket league plays well but it's far from original.


  • +1
The_BlackHeart__ (on 09 January 2016)

To me, Rocket League was the most pleasant surprise of 2015. But lets be honest, PS Plus copies of the game, shouldn't count for this category.


Nautilus (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon was by far the most surprising.While Rocket league was surprising too, it had several things that helped its momentum, like the PS plus.But other than being a new Ip from Nintendo in a long time, Splatoon had nothing going for it.


kurasakiichimaru (on 10 January 2016)

Rocket League became a phenomenon, Splatoon simply wasn't. It's cute though.


OneKartVita (on 09 January 2016)

The title is break out SALES Surprise. rocket league had way less hyped and sold way more. On pc it wasn't free and on ps4 it sold over half its copies after it was free. It sold way more, it wins, deal with it. Congrats RL! Ps. Xbox gamers are in for a treat when they get this soon :)


midrange (on 09 January 2016)

People need to stop trying to put the staff's decision down. It's simply opinion. There is no "correct answer." There is no game that "deserved" the win. Rocket league is a great candidate that went beyond expectations. Who would have that the sequel to an obscure indie game would go onto be in the hands of 9 million users (and growing)?


thepurplewalrus (on 10 January 2016)

Tbh even though I think Splatoon should've won, I don't understand why your post was downvoted. People need to understand that there's opinions other than theirs, and not everybody has to think that Splatoon deserved to win.


  • +1
Justagamer (on 10 January 2016)

Break out sales surprise. Rocket league sold 2.3 million on steam, and sold ??? on the ps4, as it was free, and I'm guessing a high percentage of its "sales" were free. So, aside from the sales on steam, how is it a sales surprise when it was given away for free? Its not a sale when you got it free. Splatoon, sold a couple million on wiiu... sold. If nintendo Gabe splatoon away, and they gave away 7 million, would it have won? My guess is, the people who decide these would say it was free, so no. Splatoon is the real winner here.


hush404 (on 09 January 2016)

For me personally, Rocket League surprised me more. Sure, it had help getting recognized with PS+ (That's how I initially learned of it), but having played the predecessor (after RL), to see such success off of RL and not SRPBC is quite a surprise as they're quite similar. That and I'm never surprised that a Nintendo IP does well, regardless if it is new.


OneKartVita (on 09 January 2016)

The title is break out SALES Surprise. rocket league had way less hyped and sold way more. On pc it wasn't free and on ps4 it sold over half its copies after it was free. It sold way more, it wins, deal with it. Congrats RL! Ps. Xbox gamers are in for a treat when they get this soon :)


Chazore (on 09 January 2016)

So RL won like two awards so far?. Seriously it's the same concept done by the same devs and well Splatoon is new and unique along with Cities Skylines, hell even UD as well.


JRPGfan (on 09 January 2016)

Well deserved. This game is huge in denmark imo. Its like everyone of my friends plays it.


Comments below voting threshold

andrelol3 (on 09 January 2016)

"Community's Choice" - The community is stupid.


StokedUp (on 09 January 2016)

If there was an award for most threads on VGChartz about anything to do with the game matter how pointless, Splatoon would win that hands down.


Mr.Playstation (on 09 January 2016)

True, lol :-D.


  • -4
NewBeginning (on 10 January 2016)

I can't thumbs-up this comment enough.


  • -1
Mr.Playstation (on 09 January 2016)

Splatoon- A game every single Nintendo fan was dying to get their hands on. Rocket League- Back in May 2015/June 2015 most people didn't know what this game was let alone want to play if. You decide who you think deserves to win and unless you're part of a certain fanbase, I think we all know who the winner really is.


  • -18
Jranation (on 09 January 2016)

Ummm..... I don't think you saw the past threads on this site and from other sites. People are literally saying it would do bad like the Wonderful 101. And even Nintendo Fans would think it wouldn't THIS well.


  • +6
Mr.Playstation (on 10 January 2016)

At least people talked about it lol. Who the hell even talked about rocket league before its release.


  • -1
FloatingWaffles (on 16 January 2016)

"Unless you're part of a certain fanbase" This is really ironic for you to say considering your username on this site.

And as a PS4 owner speak for yourself because I would still say Splatoon deserves to win.


  • 0
Mr.Playstation (on 17 January 2016)

I actually played Rocket League on PC rather than PS4 :-P. We all knew thirsty WII U gamers would think that this game was the greatest thing since sliced cheese so I see no reason as to why it should have won.

Their thirst can easily be seen as once Super Mario Maker the same number of people bought the game and started saying that it was better than Splatoon. If that's not thirsty I don't know what is.


  • 0