Call of Duty: Black Ops

GDC 2012: Call of Duty: Black Ops Generated $250 Million in Map Packs Alone, Says Analyst

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FADE LLC's Benjamin Schlichter has just concluded his “Download Dominance” talk at GDC 2012 in San Francisco, lifting the lid on some astonishing DLC stats.

Halo 3, Fallout 3, GTA IV, Call of Duty: Black Ops and Red Dead Redemption were identified as the best performing games in terms of DLC revenue, across both PS3 and Xbox 360. On average, the DLC for these games adds between $7 and $11 of revenue to each copy of the game, said Schlichter.

That’s pretty big business, then. But the king of them all is Call of Duty: Black Ops. Schlichter estimates that Activision’s shooter generated $250 million in map packs alone. That’s just map packs. Mental.

Bulletstorm DLC, meanwhile, was identified as one of the worst performing games released last year, in terms of DLC. It generated less than a dollar of extra revenue per copy sold, Schlichter claims.

The future is bright, however. Going forward, Schlichter predicts that the DLC market will have amassed a whopping $2.5b in revenue by 2016, noting that the Xbox 360 takes the largest chunk of this, as it sells more DLC than the PS3. Schlichter believes that this is driven by the large amount of shooters on Microsoft’s platform and the increased amount of DLC available for them.

Schlichter and FADE also analysed attach rates, meaning the amount of people that buy DLC for any given game. The worst performing titles struggled with just 3.3% of users purchasing DLC, while the best stretched all the way up to 29.7%. The average attach rate for DLC on consoles is around 12.2%.

Schlichter also notes that there is no correlation between the price of DLC and its popularity. Indeed, he openly encouraged publishers to charge more for their DLC, because cheaper content doesn’t sell more. Thanks for that, mate.

Review scores have an effect on the figures too. Games with an average Metacritic rating of 90% or more generate, on average, $9 million per game in DLC sales. Games with a Metacritic rating of 60-69, meanwhile, generate less than one million, on average.

FADE's data comes from an analysis of 350 separate pieces of DLC, largely focusing on substantial “macro” content and expansion packs, instead of nickel and dime stuff like outfits and weapons. The company analysed 7 million users' data, tracked through Achievements and Trophies.


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Game Info


US November 09, 2010

HDD Space Required : 6.82 GB
Backward compatible on Xbox One: Yes
Price: $39.99USD
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