Here we go. The master calendar for games that will be available this holiday season has finally sorted itself out. What’s in and what’s out for 2015 is finally clear, the first of an A+ list of releases is already here. This is a big season for game downloading, and gamers are getting their first real data about how big these games will actually be. While non-gamers may be teeing up “It’s a Wonderful Life”, gamers will be expecting their 10, 20, 30, and 50 GB game to download flawlessly.
So how much downloading is actually going to take place? A rough guess is fairly easy to make - take the game size, multiply by sales, and apply the percentage of digital distribution that the publisher is expected to reach. For example, if Electronic Arts sells 1M copies of Need for Speed, releasing November 3, we know approximately 52% of these games, or 520000 copies will be digital (EA now earns 52% of its revenues through digital distribution, according to its financials). Multiply this by the size of the game, and we get a rough estimate of the download traffic from this one game.
Since this promises to be a very active release season, I’ve decided to create a game download tracker which I’ll update with reliable data as it’s released. First off - here’s the schedule and size of some major games coming out in the remainder of 2015:
Holiday Game Download Tracker
By all accounts, Halo 5 is off to a strong start, with some estimates being as high as 3M copies sold. I’ve taken the conservative route with a 1M estimate, but still - this is more than a quarter of an Exabyte in download traffic alone. Digital downloading relies on the speed and capacity of the world’s content delivery networks to fuel its growing dominance as a game distribution model.
Follow this blog over the next 8 weeks as we follow the real demands this is placing on worldwide network traffic.
November 4 Update: Microsoft announces sales of $400M for Halo 5 in the first week! We've updated the calculator to show download traffic from this one game!
November 12 Update: Activision announces sales of $550M for Call of Duty, Black Ops III in its first weekend!!! The race for blockbuster king is officially on. And what about the traffic impact? Activision's official press release indicated digital downloads were up 100% from last year's percentage for COD. Conservative industry estimates for last year's release were 15% digital, so we can confidently estimate this year 30% of COD's downloads will be digital.
November 18 Update: Wow - Not to be outdone, Bethesda Game Studios announced today it sold $750M worth of Fallout4 in its first 3 days. This astounding figure is a function of year-long build-up and pre-orders for this popular game. Super Data Research CEO, Joost Van Dreunen @_SuperData estimates digital sales at approximately 1.84M, or 14% of our estimated 12M copies sold. Oh - regarding the headline for this blog- an astute reader commented on the use of "Torrent" and how it evokes piracy, so we changed it. We're measuring legit downloads only!
November 24 Update: No word from EA yet on initial sales of Star Wars Battlefront. Since the game will be releasing some DLC very soon (next week),perhaps EA is waiting for the total picture to develop. It will certainly be hard for Battlefront to top Fallout4 which built up almost a year's worth of pre-orders, but being one of the millions of Star Wars fans myself, I'm rooting for SW all the way. Same with Microsoft's TombRaider - a beautiful game that was previewed at E3. The scenery is magnificent, and they've added new models of play that allow for more stealth and less direct combat (read 'violence") in this version.
Total: .2872 Exabytes