Success of FSX and Future of the Franchise

I see questions all the time about how successful is FSX as compared to FS9.

I cannot share internal data as that is a firing offense,J, even if it would make it easier to prove my point.

However, industry standard data is freely and publicly available upon which we can perform a relative analysis.

Here are links and reprints of the relevant industry standard data from NPD for 2003, 2004 (1st full year for FS9), 2005, 2006, and 2007 (1st full year for FSX).

Yearly Data


Annual 2003 Top 10 PC Video Game Titles Sorted By Units

Rank Title                           Publisher 

1.    The Sims: Superstar EP          EA   

2.    The Sims  Deluxe                EA  

3.    Command & Conquer: Generals     EA  

4.    Warcraft III: Frozen Throne EP  Vivendi

5.    The Sims: Makin Magic EP       EA 

6.    The Sims: Unleashed EP          EA 

7.    Sim City 4                      EA 

8.    Call of Duty                    Activision

9.    MS Age of Mythology             Microsoft

10 Battlefield 1942                EA



Annual 2004 Top 10 PC Game Titles Sorted by Units

Rank  Title                               Publisher 

1.    The Sims 2                          EA  
2.    Doom 3                              Activision 
3.    World Of Warcraft                  
4.    Half-Life 2                        
5.    The Sims Deluxe                    

6.    The Sims 2 Special Edition          EA

7.    Battlefield Vietnam                 EA
8.    Call Of Duty                        Activision 
9.    Roller Coaster Tycoon 3             Microsoft 

10.   MS Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection  Microsoft 


I use this link because I could not find the PC specific data on NPD, only the console data. I looked up the publisher information.



Annual 2005 Top 10 PC Game Titles Sorted by Units

Rank   Title                                   Publisher

1.    World Of Warcraft                         Vivendi 

2.    The Sims 2: University Expansion Pack     EA 

3.    The Sims 2                                EA 

4.    Guild Wars                                NCSoft

5.    Roller Coaster Tycoon 3                   Atari

6.    Battlefield 2                             EA

7.    The Sims 2 Nightlife Expansion Pack       EA

8.    MS Age Of Empires III                     Microsoft

9.    The Sims Deluxe                           EA

10.  Call Of Duty 2                            Activision 



Annual 2006 Top 10 PC Game Titles Sorted By Units

Rank  Item                                        Publisher

1.    World of Warcraft                           Vivendi

2.    The Sims 2                                  EA

3.    Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion                  Take II

4.    Star Wars: Empire at War                    LucasArts

5.    Microsoft Age of Empires III                Microsoft

6.    The Sims 2 Open for Business Expansion Pack EA

7.    Civilization IV 2K Games                    Take II

8.    Guild Wars Factions                         NCSoft

9.    The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack              EA

10.   Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe         Microsoft


I use this data and link because the NPD link (

includes “collectors editions” and not just initial releases and that then pushes FSX out of the Top 10.


Note the infoplease data is confirmed here


So that’s the usual journalistic 2 sources. Thinking about it, this likely comes from a more detailed report not freely available and republished by those 2 links.


Here is the NPD table with “collectors editions”, for completeness only


Rank  Item                                        Publisher

1.     World Of Warcraft*                          Vivendi

2.     The Sims 2                                  EA

3.     The Sims 2 Open For Business Expansion Pack EA

4.     Star Wars: Empire At War                    LucasArts

5.     The Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack              EA

6.     Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion*                 Take II

7.     MS Age Of Empires III*                      Microsoft

8.     The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff Expansion Pack  EA

9.     Civilization IV                             Take II

10.   The Sims 2 Nightlife Expansion Pack         EA

*Includes Collector's Edition

Just so no one can accuse me of not fully reporting the data.


I use the GamaSutra news report about the NPD re-release of the 2007 sales figures; strangely enough I cannot find that news release on the NPD site.

Top 10 PC Games of 2007 (Corrected)

Rank  Item                                  Publisher
1.    World of Warcraft:The Burning Crusade Vivendi
2.    World of Warcraft                     Vivendi
3.    The Sims 2                            EA
4.    The Sims 2 Seasons Expansion Pack     EA
5.    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare        Activision   
6.    Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars    EA
7.    MS Age of Empires III                 Microsoft
8.    Sim City 4                            EA
9.    MS Flight Simulator X                 Microsoft
10.   The Sims 2: Bon Voyage Expansion Pack EA


Analysis of relative sales

Unfortunately the NPD sources I could find do not share units for all years.

That means while this doesn’t say anything about aggregate sales for FS9 over time, it does show that for the 1st full year that data was available , 2004 vs 2007, FSX did better than FS9 based on its appearance on the “Top 10”, something FS9 never did.

That provides an indicator that FSX has been outselling FS9, time-period vs. time-period.  I say that because FSX appeared on both “Top 10” lists, 2006 and 2007, for both years since release as compared to 0 appearances for FS9 since release. It is just not possible that FS9 sales in aggregate exceed the cumulative effect of FSX being a "Top 10" seller 2 years in a row. Now if FS9 had appeared on even 1 "Top 10" list, that might be a possibility. But it did not, so it is not. Thus FSX is therefore relatively more successful than FS9 in these terms.

3DPs should see that data and realize the extra complexity of developing for FSX does have a larger upside. And given the release date of FS11 follows TrainSim2; they have plenty of time to capitalize on that investment too.

Analysis of the “Future of the Franchise”.

The future of the franchise is secure.  Period.

Any “discussion” about the demise of FS is just plain wrong. FS11 planning is in full swing, which means there will be an FS11. Guaranteed, unless we now do something wrong internally.

Can we stop the idle and baseless negative speculation now? Please?

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