It’s The State of Gaming Podcast, Popzara’s in-depth look at what’s shaking up the gaming landscape delivered on a monthly basis. Our hosts Cory Galliher and Nate Evans guide you through the best, worst, and everything else making headlines and headway in the world of interactive entertainment.
The Games of November 2021
November is typically the biggest month of the year for gaming, and November 2021 didn’t disappoint. Coming off the second year of “pandemic play”, every major platform saw plenty of quality new releases worth your precious time and dollars.
Things start off with the most obvious blockbuster of them all, Call of Duty: Vanguard, the latest entry in Activison’s best-selling (of all-time) franchise that never fails to make an impact. That “other” blockbuster first-person shooter, EA’s Battlefield 2042, may have gotten off to a bumpy start but there’s still time to right the ship.
Incredibly, Microsoft’s Halo Infinite makes its long-overdue appearance in free-to-play multiplayer form and it’s… not bad! In what may end up being a franchise-revival for Master Chief, the often-delayed super sequel looks to re-energize a genre already overflowing with hits and blockbusters.
Perhaps no other game has generated more controversy heat than Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto Trilogy – Definitive Edition, which had a rocky release (to say the least). Our hosts don’t say the least, at least, going in-depth on why some of the vitriol may be overblown – and some justified. It’s a game they’ll come back to often in this episode, so get ready to revisit Liberty City a few times before it’s over.
Other major releases include Nintendo’s Switch remake of a pair of 2006 DS Pokémon classics with Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl, Microsoft’s record-breaking racing sequel Forza Horizon 5, Frontier Developments’ dino-simulator Jurassic World Evolution 2, and Sega/Atlus’ monster-collecting JRPG Shin Megami Tensei 5.
NPD: October 2021
NPD remains the gaming industry’s best (and pretty much only) snapshot of what’s moving and shaking up both physical and digital retail shelves across the country. That said: all stats and figures are for entertainment purposes only.
Total sales of new gaming hardware and software topped nearly $4.4 billion, a sizable 16 percent increase over last year. While software sales spiked a respectable 11 percent over last year, the real star is hardware sales alone soaring a whopping 82 percent over last year. That’s a LOT of new consoles in a LOT of hands.
Nintendo’s Switch remains the best-selling console, in both units moved and revenue, a feat no doubt helped by the launch of the new Switch OLED variant. Sony’s PlayStation 5 also remains a best-seller, and while there’s no data on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X / S console sales it’s clear the lack of available inventory isn’t helping move units faster.
It’s a mostly familiar crew in the Top Twenty software sales, with Ubisoft’s Far Cry 6 taking the top spot for October. Warner Bros’ sequel-ish Back 4 Blood means Left 4 Dead fans have more zombie-splattering to do, while Nintendo’s Metroid: Dread set sales records for the franchise coming in third. Sega’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Hinokami Chronicles was a surprise hit in fifth and Square Enix’s superhero-powered Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in seventh.
Do you love League of Legends? Netflix thinks you do, because it’s got an anime adaptation of Riot Games’ eternally playable e-Sports sensation streaming right now. And it’s pretty popular, enough to get a second season already. Like the game, it may never end!
Elsewhere it’s a birthday/anniversary celebration as two of gaming’s most notable players turn 20 and 15. That’s right: Microsoft’s OG Xbox console first hit retail shelves November 15, 2001, while Nintendo’s motion-controlled Wii debuted November 19, 2006. Both would prove to be incredibly successful in their respective ways, especially helping establish norms like HD visuals, online multiplayer, app stores, motion-control, and more. Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃