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It seems Sonic Generations isn't as successful...


User18091994
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User18091994

It seems Sonic Generations isn't as successful as we thought...

 

I was searching achievements statistics about Sonic games on Steam and the Playstation Network and find interesting data. Only about 20% of Sonic Genetations's owners on Steam have finished the game, the percentage is even lower on PSN where only about 10% of the players have.

This is kinda odd considering how acclaimed and popular Sonic Generations is, and even more odd when we consider the game is only 2-3 hours long. That means most of the people who bought the game in these two platforms didn't carer enough to reach the ending.

The numbers of Sonic Unleashed are ever more shocking, only 3,3% of the players have reached the ending (on PSN).

When it comes to Sonic Forces, about 40% of the players have reached the ending on Steam, what is a surprisingly positive number, but only 12% of the PSN players have reached the ending.

 

I'll recap:

  • Sonic Generations: 20.1% on Steam, 10,3% on PSN
  • Sonic Unleashed: (not available on Steam), 3,3% on PSN
  • Sonic Forces: 41,3% on Steam, 12% on PSN

(I'll link the sources from the Steam numbers in the end of the post, but I don't have the links of the PSN data because I searched on my PS4, If you enter the trophy list of one game you can see the percentage of the players that have achieved, so you guys can check for yourselves).

 

I came with a few conclusions:

Probably that's why Sega tried to change Sonic's formula with Sonic Lost World and streamlined with Forces despite the general impression that Sonic Generations was a huge success. I don't know if we can consider Generations a success (for Sega) when most of the consumers abandoned the game before reaching the ending, even considering how short the game is. We live in a bubble of hardcore Sonic fans, we grew up playing Sonic, and we are used to this kind of gameplay. Most of the general audience don't, maybe Sonic Generations isn't as assessible or beginner-friendly as we usually think it is.  In a business standpoint, it's not good when a product isn't capable of reaching other audiences beyond the diehard fans.

When it comes to Unleashed, the scenario is even worse. Don't get me wrong, I love SU, it's by far one of my favorite Sonic games, but this is pretty bad. The game is way longer than Generations, and it's also way harder, but 3,3% of the player base is still a surprisingly shocking percentage. Probably people got frustrated because of the higher difficult, the overly long Werehog stages and all the padding.

Ironically, Sonic Forces had the best performance of them all. About 40% of the players on Steam, and 12% on PSN. However, Sonic Forces was available for free for PSN+ members, so it's possible that the PSN numbers are inaccurate because of that (some people might have downloaded the game only because it was free, not because they were interested in the franchise).

Maybe the diehard long-time fans didn't enjoy the game, but casual gamers and kids did. I think Sega and Sonic Team have access to this kind of numbers, and they probably also have access to other data and researches we don't.

Unfortunately, the Wii didn't have an achievements system, so we can't make comparisons with Sonic Colors. We will be able to compare with Colors Ultimate in the future. However, there's a chance that Sonic Colors is more successful to reach the mainstream audience, Takashi Iizuka told in a recent interview that the original version sold 4 million copies. I know a lot of people who don't follow the franchise and aren't Sonic fans, but played Colors back in the day and had fun. Maybe that's why they chose Colors to be remastered first (targeting newcomers)? It's only speculation, I have no evidence to support these conclusions about Colors or how Sega utilizes data about the games.

 

What you guys think?

 

Steam data:

https://steamcommunity.com/stats/SonicGenerations/achievements/

https://steamcommunity.com/stats/637100/achievements?l=brazilian

 

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It's my understanding that such statistics show that most games, in fact, go unfinished by the majority of players, with many never even getting past the starting block.  I think you might want to pull data from a wider pool of games, and not just Sonic games, to make your case about Generations.  (I'd also suggest the very real possibility that, if Colours Ultimate is a success, Generations Ultimate is next.)

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User18091994
21 minutes ago, Salamander said:

It's my understanding that such statistics show that most games, in fact, go unfinished by the majority of players, with many never even getting past the starting block.  I think you might want to pull data from a wider pool of games, and not just Sonic games, to make your case about Generations.  (I'd also suggest the very real possibility that, if Colours Ultimate is a success, Generations Ultimate is next.)

I agree with you, but when I compare to other popular games I have, such as Kingdom Hearts 3, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and even niche games such as Digimon Story. In most of the cases the percentage is about 40% of the player base. And these exemples are long JRPGs with more than 50 hours of playthrough, while Generations is only 2-3 hours long.

Yeah, I agree that to be able to reach a solid conclusion we have to compare to a wilder range of games, but I think this is still weird. Of course the game isn't  a failure because it performed well in sales and it was critically acclaimed. My point is that MAYBE (speculation) it's not a begginer-frieldy game and people who aren't familiar with Sonic gameplay could find it difficult to finish. Maybe, that's why Sega tried to make the boost formula more simple and easy when developing Forces. 

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Its hard to reach good conclusions from data like this sometimes because its not data about % of buyers completing but % of players.

Being on services like PS+/Now, gamepass/GWG or being part of something like a humble bundle will greatly increase the number of people that have played a game but they will more likely just try a few levels and move on.

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3 hours ago, Salamander said:

(I'd also suggest the very real possibility that, if Colours Ultimate is a success, Generations Ultimate is next.)

Interestingly, if we're making bets, I think it would be Heroes Ultimate or Storybook Ultimate next in the pipeline. I think it is always going to be way easier to make a re-release of non-HD games with limited availability, than games already in HD and aren't too hard to aquire. Heroes, besides the PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, is only available on the PS3 PSN (I think?), and also a very old PC release that presumably would require Windows XP to run. Likewise both Storybook games are Wii and Wii U exclusives. I know Heroes isn't perhaps the most beloved Sonic game but I think it has enough goodwill and nostalgia behind it to get a re-release, that and it'll turn 20 years old soon.

Issue with games like Unleashed and Generations is that they are HD already and arguably aren't that unavailable, unless you're a Nintendo fan and not including the Nintendo versions. I feel like a 3D compilation would make more sense, because I'm not sure how much you can really do with a remaster. I mean, Unleashed's biggest problem is the dodgy framerate, but I think as Sonic Stadium reported last year, apparently Unleashed runs at a solid 60fps on the new Xbox so hopefully that isn't really an issue that needs fixing.

I think my prediction (or really, what I think would make the most sense) would be shoving Unleashed, Generations, Lost World, and I guess Forces in one big 3D compilation, which would include Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic '06, Unleashed PS2, and Rise of Lyric, since I doubt those games will ever get a single re-release ever again. Putting them in effectively as simple ports in a compilation makes the most sense.

But I dunno. I think Generations Ultimate is a real possibility like you say. Wouldn't surprise me if Sega's reasoning is just focusing on the popular Sonic titles, regardless of whether or not it really needs a fancy remaster to begin with. Just hard to imagine for me as a PC user since Generations goes on sale all the time on Steam for like £1.50, so it seems like a joke if they did go through with a remaster that cost £30 and wound up as an Epic Games Store exclusive for a year.

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1 hour ago, Silvereyes said:

But I dunno. I think Generations Ultimate is a real possibility like you say. Wouldn't surprise me if Sega's reasoning is just focusing on the popular Sonic titles, regardless of whether or not it really needs a fancy remaster to begin with. Just hard to imagine for me as a PC user since Generations goes on sale all the time on Steam for like £1.50, so it seems like a joke if they did go through with a remaster that cost £30 and wound up as an Epic Games Store exclusive for a year.

This is a fair point and not something I had necessarily considered.  Generations was a critical and commercial success that's still fondly remembered, and that was my logic in pointing to it as an obvious next remaster - but if it's readily available in HD already then it's true that a remaster has further to go in order to stand out... unless, as you suggest, SEGA aims squarely at Switch owners.  The sales distribution of Colours Ultimate across all consoles might inform their future plans.

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Baldymcnosehair1999

I kinda think its because of the movie, of all things. Most people who watched the sonic movie and wanted to play sonic had generations and unleased are not as easy to find as forces. what are the numbers for mania?

(Sorry, no had in between sonic and genrations.)

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8 hours ago, Raphael Martins said:

(I'll link the sources from the Steam numbers in the end of the post, but I don't have the links of the PSN data because I searched on my PS4, If you enter the trophy list of one game you can see the percentage of the players that have achieved, so you guys can check for yourselves).

https://psnprofiles.com/ Default data is for registered users, mouse over for PSN data.

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Generations has gone on sale a bazillion times on Steam, I've come across free codes for it more than once in my life that I gave out to friends (and then never once saw them playing it, case in point lol).  There are lots of people who own it just because it has gone so cheap that they might as well, etc.  I'm sure it was as little as £2 during one sale.

The fact that Forces has a higher completion rate only really serves to suggest that most of the people who bought that one were hardcore enough fans to care about playing it through - like it or not.  Whereas Generations has a massive userbase of players (and... not players, lol) who only casually care about Sonic but they heard this one was good or that it has the old levels in they remember etc.

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Roger_van_der_weide

Yeah, with JezMM says, Generations was given out for free to a lot of people, so I'm sure a bunch of them got it because it's free and then never did much with it.

And then there's also people like me, I also own Generations on Steam and never beat it. Why? Well, I already beat it on the PS3, and I only got the Steam version so I could download and play mods for it, no point in beating it vanilla again just because.

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I don't think that SEGA care that much about how much people finish the game, mostly about how much people have bought it and bought other games. So I don't think it really affected the following games.

IMO, it's not a good metric of success.

Also, everything that the two previous post said.

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Also consider that the Xbox360 was probably the biggest platform for Generations, and we don't currently have data for that. 

And what other people said, many people may buy a game and then never even play it.

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nobukitsu88

On that note, a lot of developers in general need to understand that concept too. 

I occasionally hear how some developers want to make shorter stories or feel sad that a lot of players haven't beat their game. Those metrics would mean a bit more in the days where there was a physical copy and nothing else. No game passes or PS plus and what not. But it seems some developers take that stuff to heart without realizing why things are the way they are. 

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Yeah, I'd say the PSN stats for Unleashed, Generations, Mania, and Forces aren't especially representative. Unleashed and Generations have been on PlayStation Now forever, while Forces and Mania were both free on PS+. It's likely a bunch of people downloaded them just long enough to give them a try.

In any case, the Xbox achievements tell a similar story. Only 25% of players finished Generations. Interestingly, the biggest drop-off comes right when the game makes you do missions, meaning less than half of players made it further than the Classic Era. 58% of players finished Sky Sanctuary, but 48% beat Metal Sonic, and only 44% made it past the Death Egg Robot. That is, depressingly, only 5% higher than the number of Xbox players who finished Sonic Forces entirely.

But, I mean, it's not all that surprising that the easier the game is, the more friendly it'll be to newcomers, and the more people will finish it. I think we're gonna have a lot of kids here in a few years who hold Forces as the first Sonic game they ever really loved, and that was probably Sega's intent with it more than anything.

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Badnik Mechanic

Sorry but this data doesn't prove anything. 

Let's just take the comparison to Sonic Forces as a start.

Forces went on PS+... The month of the global lockdown. Which we have actual hard data that proves digital entertainment media saw a huge boom. Netflix and videogames especially saw a massive increase in demand and activity. 

That right there is a huge influencing factor over who downloaded and played the game to completion.

 

 

As many others have mentioned Generations has been on PS Now. 

 

I have about 5 trial codes for that I've yet to redeem. I bet tens of thousands have also had a free trial and have likely just tried generations due to it being free.

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3 hours ago, Salamander said:

This is a fair point and not something I had necessarily considered.  Generations was a critical and commercial success that's still fondly remembered, and that was my logic in pointing to it as an obvious next remaster - but if it's readily available in HD already then it's true that a remaster has further to go in order to stand out... unless, as you suggest, SEGA aims squarely at Switch owners.  The sales distribution of Colours Ultimate across all consoles might inform their future plans.

I mean, personally, I think the selling point of Colours Ultimate boils down to it being upscaled to HD and it being a title that was relatively hard to aquire for the last few years. Stuff like the Metal Sonic mode, the Tails save, the costumes etc are instead incentives, designed not as the selling point, but more as little things to encourage interest and to justify the $40 price tag. Unleashed and Generations, whilst not available everywhere, aren't that uncommon, and are both in HD. I don't think you could get away with a big remaster treatment for them, even if you did add in a few extras like Colours Ultimate is doing.

I mean yeah the Switch doesn't have alot of these games, but really it doesn't mean they can't just put a simple port on them. I think you could get away shoving Unleashed and Generations and Lost World on the Nintendo eShop for $20 if Sega wanted to. But in this day and age, I imagine Sega is very careful about what games from their back catalog they release. Probably look at what Sonic games can justify a remaster and make some proper money off of, be it through compilations or other Colours Ultimate like releases. Think how well Colours Ultimate does will be an indicator for Sega, as well as Origins too.

Personally, my simple hope is just to get compilations that span Sonic's entire back catalog eventually. But could be nice to give Heroes a shine over. The Storybook games could use an overhaul so they don't require motion controls, or heck, maybe even give them a special Switch version so they could utilise the Joy Cons. Hell, I think the Riders trilogy could use a remaster, put the first 2 games in HD and get rid of the 3rd game's forced Kinect, that would be something I buy, although I'm not sure how many people outside the fandom have nostalgia for Riders.

It's interesting stuff. I just really want more Sonic games to become accessible without having to rely on buying old hardware or rely on emulators.

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jungle_penguins

While this data is fun to analyze and make decent conclusions for, I seriously doubt these stats affected anything officially. You're right in that fandom is often in their own bubble on what's popular, but this data can't really be used to conclusively suggest Sega changed direction based on completion rates, not even for what's considered enjoyable. Fan feedback via dumb words on internet or even internal feedback is probably what they use.

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King Scoopa Koopa

Maybe it's because the final boss of Generations is the worst part?

Like, I'm a Sonic fan, and I love Generations, but even I've never gone back to that part after beating it the first (and only) time. Besides being an annoying chore to get through, it's the one part that doesn't tap into nostalgia at all, which is what the rest of the game is about.

Which is to say, maybe people -- potentially a wider audience than normal -- are getting their fill from everything before that point.

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I don't think this is enough to really measure the success of a game, commercially speaking. It gives insight on player behavior, but I'm not sure how it factors into sales or number of downloads.

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User18091994
12 hours ago, Zoomzeta said:

I don't think this is enough to really measure the success of a game, commercially speaking. It gives insight on player behavior, but I'm not sure how it factors into sales or number of downloads.

It doesn't measure the success of a game financially, but it can show the developers if their target audience are truly enjoying the game. If the majority of the players are abandoning the game before reaching the ending, even considering how short the game is, it could indicate that the studio needs to make changes in future games. 

 

My speculation is that maybe Sonic Team looked at data about players' behavior playing games like Generations and they found out most of the people get frustrated and find it difficult, so they just stop playing. Maybe that's why Sonic Team are obsessive with making the games more easy and assessible.

 

It's weird because to me, and I guess most Sonic fans, Sonic Generations is very easy. But, I know a lot of people that think even Sonic Colors is difficult. Maybe that's why Sega is putting the tails save mechanic and other QoL improvements on Colors Ultimate.

 

If more people have finished Forces, that means probably more people find the game enjoyable or at least find it worth playing until the end, probably a lot of kids newcomers to the franchise have experienced Forces as their first Sonic game. We already know the game performed well in sales and it target small children

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I think it likely that their biggest concern is whether people who didn't finish the game go on regardless to buy other games in the series - which it seems likely that they do.  Nonetheless, it's definitely significant if you can determine from the data at what point exactly the average player's interest or patience begins to wane.  Even if you don't need every player to finish the game, it's probably bad news if they're switching off before they even finish the first level.  And it's not only difficulty which might make people switch off; being disengaged from the action, finding the graphics ugly, being annoyed by the voices or storyline...  Long-term, those might be riskier to the future-purchase proposition than difficulty.

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User18091994
4 hours ago, Salamander said:

I think it likely that their biggest concern is whether people who didn't finish the game go on regardless to buy other games in the series - which it seems likely that they do.  Nonetheless, it's definitely significant if you can determine from the data at what point exactly the average player's interest or patience begins to wane.  Even if you don't need every player to finish the game, it's probably bad news if they're switching off before they even finish the first level.  And it's not only difficulty which might make people switch off; being disengaged from the action, finding the graphics ugly, being annoyed by the voices or storyline...  Long-term, those might be riskier to the future-purchase proposition than difficulty.

Could be other reasons, but in this case I think most likely it's because of the difficult.

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