Activision Market Share Approaches 20 Percent in 2012, While EA Slides

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
Activision Market Share Approaches 20 Percent in 2012, While EA Slides

2012 was a very good year for Activision and Ubisoft, but Electronic Arts struggled to hold its ground.

Measuring market share is a bit of a dicey business, because services that measure such things look only at sales of boxed games through conventional retail channels. Digital sales, despite their ubiquity these days, are excluded, so what EA sells through Origin, for instance, or what Ubisoft moves through Uplay (don't laugh) aren't part of the picture. On the other hand, it's arguable that retail game sales are a snapshot that represents the state of the industry as a whole, so while the numbers may not be dead on, the relative state of publishers compared to one another is accurate.

In any event, data compiled by Ubisoft from the NPD Group, GfK Chart Track and Nielsen indicate that Activision's dominance of the videogame industry actually grew in 2012, leaping from 15.7 percent of the market in 2011 to 19.5 percent in 2012, while EA sunk deeper into second place, going from 19.7 percent in 2011 to 18.4 percent last year. Activision's climb can be largely attributed to the continuing success of the Call of Duty franchise, which was also ranked as the most valuable game series of this console generation; I suppose something similar could be said about EA's fortunes and the disastrous Medal of Honor reboot.

Other publishers who gained ground in 2012 are Ubisoft, which claimed third place with 11.2 percent, up from 8.8 percent the previous year; Take-Two, which moved from 4.8 percent to 6.4 percent; and Capcom, with 2.4 percent of the market, doubling its 1.2 percent share in 2011. Microsoft also made a gain, albeit a tiny one, from 4.8 percent in 2011 to 5.0 percent in 2012.

The "cumulated worldwide sales value" of franchises on the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC from 2005 to 2012 is also an interesting list. First place is no surprise (especially since I already told you what it is) but some of the other rankings are unexpected.

Call of Duty
Wii Fit (includes hardware)
Assassin's Creed
Guitar Hero
Madden NFL
The Sims
Need for Speed
Just Dance
Rock Band
Mario Kart Wii
Grand Theft Auto
World of Warcraft
Elder Scrolls

World of Warcraft's low ranking reflects that these numbers are based solely on boxed retail sales, but Lego ahead of Grand Theft Auto? Need for Speed thumping Elder Scrolls? And Wii Fit crushing just about everything? That last one makes sense, I suppose, since the "value" would include the cost of the Wii Balance Board, but some of these others I find legitimately confusing.

Source: GamesIndustry []


Albino Boo

New member
Jun 14, 2010
EA owns 19.9% of Ubisoft, so they hedged their bets. What they lose to Ubisoft they gain straight back

Andy Shandy

Fucked if I know
Jun 7, 2010
Lego puts out a lot of different titles, pretty much all high-quality, and they are games that can easily be played by all the family. So I can't say I'm all too surprised that it beat out a series that, while a massive hit when one does come along, don't come out nearly as frequently, are (hypothetically anyway) limited to a set amount of the population and, to anyone outside the gaming community, are probably mainly known for the controversy more than anything else.


New member
Jan 20, 2010
Can I ask why the music industry counts digital sales, YouTube views and online album streams while video games continue to fail at addressing digital sales? I know that Valve doesn't release numbers but surely the publishers and developers that sell games online have records of digital sales.


You Gots to Chill
Sep 10, 2012
Sans Wii Fit (but to a degree, this applies to it as well) these make sense. As big as GTA and other franchises are, Lego can be played (and bought) for all ages. Lots of parents probably buy the Lego games for their children keeping their sales high. Also, someone mentioned already the sheer number of Lego games released in a year versus GTA titles.

Wii Fit was a shocker still though. I'm sure it sells well just by the nature of it being an exercise game for the Wii, but that's high up on the list!


New member
Mar 28, 2008
The industry needs to get their asses in gear an begin counting digital sales in their figures. digital sales are no longer a small piece of the pie... It's a MAJOR thing to be missing! These figures are meaningless without counting digital sales.


New member
Feb 25, 2008
Wii fit makes sense, one of the biggest selling console bundles I can remember was Wii/Wii Fit/Balance board. I spent a horrible four weeks in 2008 organising the bloody things at HMV, we were getting four or eight twice a week and they were always all sold by the time the van came.


Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PC from 2005 to 2012
take a very intent deep of this. current gen consoles and 2005-2012.
If it wasnt for such restriction, COD would be nowhere near the top of the list.
Also WiiFit has the most sales than any other franchise, reason being it was complexted with EVERY wii that got sold (at later point it becake the other version of wii fit that is considered a different game, but thats of little concern)
Mario takes second place being also bundled, duh.
Actually if you were to ignore the bundled games and time/harware restrictions GTA would be the top dog.