Wii Software Stats November Update: 'Rock Band' Passes 'Mario Kart'

*"Rock Band" is now more avidly played by Wii gamers than "Mario Kart."

*This year's re-tooling of "Madden" for Wii, despite a lack of buzz, shows signs of clicking with Wii gamers.

*The average consumer of "Wii Play" does not just buy the game for a second remote. They play the game for nine hours!

These are just some of the discoveries in our third number-filled breakdown of Wii software usage stats. We're dong this monthly and we can pull numbers for (almost) any Wii game that's been out for at least a month. Who needs NPDs? And who needs exit poll numbers?

See below to learn a LOT about the performance of 20 Wii games, from "Mega Man 9" to "Guitar Hero III" to "Strongbad" to, well, see for yourself:

WII SOFTWARE USAGE AS OF NOVEMBER 2, 2008

The following statistics are pulled from the Wii's Nintendo Channel, which allows users to persistently share their play history for any disc or downloadable games played on the Wii. These numbers do not reflect overall usage of these games on the Wii but instead reflect usage of the more than 1.3 million Americans who are sharing info with the channel (up from 1.2 million last month). We think that's a pretty healthy sample size!

Games are ranked in order of average play time. The game we're tracking that has been played the longest by its average user is at the top of this list.

If there are more games you want us to track, let us know!

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Released March 2008)

Current Rank: #1 Last Month's Rank: #1

Raw data for "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 62 hours, 44 minutes (up 80 minutes)

As of 10/5: 61 hours, 24 minutes

As of 9/1: 59 hours 59 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 26.40 (up .86 sessions)

As of 10/5: 25.54 sessions

As of 9/1: 24.65

Analysis: I started tracking these numbers with the hope  -- in the back of my mind -- that there would be some drama. Games would shift spots on the list. Games that dominated people's play time would eventually cool off, replaced by the latest hot thing. But now I'm thinking no Wii game will ever dethrone "Brawl." Nintendo's fighting game is the ultimate time sink for Wii gamers.

***

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Released October 2007)

Current Rank: #2 Last Month's Rank: #2

Raw data for "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" usage

Total play time by Nintendo Channel Users

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 57 hours, 46 minutes (up 39 minutes)

As of 10/5: 57 hours, 7 minutes

As of 9/1: 56 hours, 30 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 33.20 sessions (up .55 sessions - est.)

As of 10/5: 32.65 sessions

As of 9/1: 32 (est.)

Analysis: Could "Guitar Hero III" catch "Smash"? I doubt it. The new "Guitar Hero: World Tour" will likely cool off the popularity of this game.

***

Wii Sports (Released November 2006)

Current Rank: #3 Last Month's Rank: #3

Raw data for "Wii Sports" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 35 hours, 4 minutes (up 19 minutes)

As of 10/5: 34 hours, 45 minutes

As of 9/1: 34 hours, 25 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 28.9 sessions (up .18 sessions)

As of 10/5: 28.72 sessions

As of 9/1: 28.56

Analysis: Still going strong, and about to be owned by many more people once the Wii sells by the boatload this holiday season.

***

Rock Band (Released June 2008)

Current Rank: #4 Last Month's Rank: #5

Raw data for "Rock Band" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 26 hours, 40 minutes (up 117 minutes)

As of 10/5: 24 hours, 43 minutes

As of 9/1: 22 hours 37 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 13.46 sessions (up 1.41 sessions)

As of 10/5: 12.05 sessions

As of 9/1: 10.52

Analysis: The first movement in the list! "Rock Band" Wii gamers played almost two hours of this game, on average, in the last month. That tops even "Smash"'s level of gamer addiction. But I'm not sure this game can catch "Wii Sports" before "Rock Band 2" comes out for the Wii later this year and cools this game off.

***

*NEW ENTRY* Madden NFL 08 (Released August 2007)

Current Rank: #5 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Madden NFL 08" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 26 hours, 1 minute

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 14.33 sessions

Analysis: "Madden" games seldom sell all that well on Nintendo platforms. This 2007 game was made to match the gameplay style of "Madden" on the PS3 and Xbox 360. We can use this as one benchmark against which to judge whether the 2008 casual-controls reinvention of the series (see "Madden All-Play" lower on the list) has more appeal for its consumers over the long term.

***

Mario Kart Wii (Released April 2008)

Current Rank: #6 Last Month's Rank: #4

Raw data for "Mario Kart Wii" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 25 hours, 47 minutes (up 59 minutes)

As of 10/5: 24 hours, 48 minutes

As of 9/1: 23 hours 42 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 14.61 sessions (up .75 sessions)

As of 10/5: 13.86 sessions

As of 9/1: 13.1

Analysis: "Mario Kart" drops two notches, partially because I added a "Madden" game from 2007. Still, almost an hour of play time over the last month for the average "Mario Kart" owner shows that the fan-base is dedicated.

***

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Released August 2007)

Current Rank: #7 Last Month's Rank: #6

Raw data for "Metroid Prime3: Corruption" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 21 hours, 17 minutes (up 3 minutes)

As of 10/5: 21 hours, 14 minutes

As of 9/1: 21 hours, 11 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 9.88 sessions (up .04 sessions)

As of 10/5: 9.84 sessions

As of 9/1: 9.82

Analysis: These numbers aren't budging.

***

Okami (Released April 2008)

Current Rank: #8 Last Month's Rank: #7

Raw data for "Okami" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 18 hours, 56 minutes (up 28 minutes)

As of 10/5: 18 hours, 28 minutes

As of 9/1: 17 hours, 51 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 7.32 sessions (up .20 sessions)

As of 10/5: 7.12 sessions

As of 9/1: 6.9

Analysis: The average play time for "Okami" here still isn't close to the length of time it takes to finish the game, but it's at least going up.

***

Wii Fit (Released May 2008)

Current Rank: #9 Last Month's Rank: #8

Raw data for "Wii Fit" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 15 hours, 41 minutes (up 15 minutes)

As of 10/5: 15 hours, 26 minutes

As of 9/1: 14 hours, 26 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 12.09 sessions (up .76 sessions)

As of 10/5: 11.33 sessions

As of 9/1: 10.59

Analysis:The average number of sessions per user isn't showing the kind of dedication "Wii Fit" users committed to using this game as a workout tool really need to show. Perhaps they've lost faith? Or is it like any other fitness program? People find it hard to stick to.

***

*NEW ENTRY* Madden All-Play (Released August 2008)

Current Rank: #10 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Madden All-Play" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 15 hours, 18 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 7.3 sessions

Analysis:Look out, "Wii Fit." The unheralded re-invention of "Madden" is on your heels. People seem to enjoy this game.

***

*NEW ENTRY* Star Wars: The Force Unleashed(Released September 2008)

Current Rank: #11 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 12 hours, 33 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 5.17 sessions

Analysis: Will "Star Wars" numbers go up? I doubt it. This game may be fun but doesn't have much re-play value. The average play time shows that people sat down with the game and beat it over about five sessions. Simple as that.

***

Boom Blox (Released May 2008)

Current Rank: #12 Last Month's Rank: #9

Raw data for "Boom Blox" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 11 hours, 53 minutes (up 21 minutes)

As of 10/5: 11 hours, 32 minutes

As of 9/1: 11 hours, 8 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 5.65 sessions (up .24 sessions)

As of 10/5: 5.41 sessions

As of 9/1: 5.16

Analysis: The average play time for "Boom Blox" this past month was longer than the average time for "Wii Sports." Not bad.

***

*NEW ENTRY* Wii Play (Released February 2007)

Current Rank: #13 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Wii Play" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 9 hours, 36 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 10.28 sessions

Analysis: So much for the theory that people only buy this game for the bundled remote. The game is played more than average of 10 times by people who own it. Perhaps they actually... like it?

***

Carnival Games (Released August 2007)

Current Rank: #14 Last Month's Rank: #10

Raw data for "Carnival Games" Wii usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 8 hours, 37 minutes (up 7 minutes)

As of 10/5: 8 hours, 30 minutes

As of 9/1: 8 hours, 21 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 6.31 sessions (up .12 sessions)

As of 10/5: 6.19 sessions

As of 9/1: 6.07

Analysis: Not much activity here.

***

WII WARE LISTINGS

Final Fantasy: My Life As A King (Released May 2008)

Current Rank: #1 Last Month's Rank: 1

Raw data for "Final Fantasy: My Life As A King " usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 14 hours, 53 minutes (up 14 minutes)

As of 10/5: 14 hours, 39 minutes

As of 9/1: 14 hours 16 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 6.67 sessions (up .18 sessions)

As of 10/5: 6.49 sessions

As of 9/1: 6.25

Analysis: I'm repeating my analysis from last month: "Show me a WiiWare game that's compelled people to log more time in it. I haven't found one yet."

***

*NEW ENTRY* Mega Man 9 (Released August 2008)

Current Rank: #2 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Mega Man 9" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 6 hours, 48 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 5.37 sessions

Analysis: For $10 dollars people spent an average of almost seven hours playing the game. Using that kind of ratio, a $50 game should last you 35 hours. Fair deal?

***

*NEW ENTRY* Strongbad Episode 1 (Released August 2008)

Current Rank: #3 Last Month's Rank: N/A

Raw data for "Strongbad Episode 1" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 5 hours, 19 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 3.77 sessions

Analysis: I logged this one primarily so I could track its performance against future episodes. We'll see how this goes.

***

Lost Winds (Released May 2008)

Current Rank: #4 Last Month's Rank: 2

Raw data for "Lost Winds" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 3 hours, 35 minutes (up 4 minutes)

As of 10/5: 3 hours, 31 minutes

As of 9/1: [not logged last month]

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 3.48 sessions (up .1 sessions)

As of 10/5: 3.38 sessions

As of 9/1: 3.2 (est.)

Analysis: Barely any movement.

***

VIRTUAL CONSOLE LISTINGS

Super Mario 64

[Numbers drawn from Virtual Console usage, not the N64 release]

Raw data for "Super Mario 64" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 11 hours, 3 minutes (up 7 minutes)

As of 10/5: 10 hours, 56 minutes

As of 9/1: 10 hours 49 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 10.44 sessions (up .08 sessions)

As of 10/5: 10.36 sessions

As of 9/1: 10.28

Analysis: Barely any movement, but this game was still played a good amount by Wii owners. Don't they know what year it is?

***

Sin & Punishment

[Numbers drawn from Virtual Console usage, not the N64 release]

Raw data for "Sin & Punishment" usage

Average time played per player:

As of 11/2: 2 hours, 9 minutes (up .1 minute)

As of 10/5: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Average number of sessions per player:

As of 11/2: 3.46 sessions (up .04 sessions)

As of 10/5: 3.42 sessions

Analysis: I added this game last month primarily to see if it indeed seemed popular enough to merit the Wii sequel that was announced in October. It seemed to be. This month, we see that its numbers are almost unchanged.

Games that I wanted to include or that readers requested that do not have stats listed on the Nintendo Channel yet: "Wario Land: Shake It," "de Blob," "Bomberman Blast," "Wii Music," "Strongbad" Episode 2."

CONCLUSION

You are no longer allowed to dismiss "Wii Play" as an add-on to a Wii Remote. But you may ponder if "Wii Fit" is used the exact same way as most fitness fads are -- and that it, sadly, does not appear to be hooking people to long-term fitness goals any more successfully than an Abdominizer, a Bowflex or any of the other exercise gadgets that have thrilled the world.

(Credit to comic book number-cruncher Marc-Oliver Frisch for unknowingly inspiring some of the elements of this series)

Check back in early December for more Wii number crunching. And let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome!

Related Posts:

Wii Software Stats Update: October Edition Of ‘Smash Bros’ Domination

Wii Software Stats Update (September): “Brawl” Dominates “Kart,” Hardcore Single-Player Titles Stall

Nintendo Channel Reveals Hard Truths About Wii Play, Boom Blox, More (June)