Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the all-star fighting game, is no longer the most-loved Wii game. Three years since we started measuring these Wii playing-time stats, Smash has been dethroned ... by a game whose average user plays for 80 hours.
Monster Hunter Tri, the online-oriented co-op game about, well, hunting monsters, is the new number one. It did what Animal Crossing and Call of Duty have failed to do. It has racked up more hours of play time, per gamer who owns or rents the game, than any Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
This is our latest chart, showing Monster Hunter's ascendancy.
(Click the chart to enlarge it.)
A few other things to note as you scrutinize our monthly update of the most-loved games on the Wii:
1) We've got a new entry in the No. 20 spot, Pro Evolution Soccer 2010.
2) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Reflex Edition, clearly propelled by online play, has passed another game, the slowly-fading Guitar Hero III. Another mover is WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2010. That wrestling series shows healthy growth, though the '09 edition (released in 2008) no longer charts.
3) Single-player games continue to struggle for success in the chart. Only Harvest Moon: Animal Parade is showing any growth. This is a sign that people don't re-play their single-player games. Not a big surprise.
Here's the Top 20 games from the chart in list form. I'm including the cumulative lifetime play-time counts, as of October 1, 2010 in hours and minutes. You can see just how close some of these games are.
1. Monster Hunter Tri - 79:34 (up from the 2nd spot)
2. Super Smash Bros. Brawl - 78:19 (down from the 1st spot)
3. Animal Crossing: City Folk - 74:23
4. Harvest Moon: Animal Parade - 63:57
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition - 57:44 (up from the 6th spot)
6. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - 56:59 (down from the 5th spot)
7. Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility - 52:48
8. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn - 52:13
9. Call of Duty: World at War - 51:08
10. Rune Factory: Frontier - 50:23
11. WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2010 - 49:22 (up from the 13th spot)
12. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - 49:11
13. Rock Band 2 - 48:56 (down from the 11th spot)
14. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - 47:43
15. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World - 41:07
16. Mario Kart Wii - 40:43
17. Wii Sports - 39:40
18. FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play - 39:03
19. Guitar Hero: World Tour - 37:49
20. Pro Evolution 2010 - 37:27 (new entry)
Where's all this from? (AKA an explanation of the above chart for stat junkies only): In a move somewhat surprising for the generally secretive company, Nintendo makes all of this data public. Any Wii owner can download the Nintendo Channel to their Wii and begin browsing for games. Any game that has been played enough times has usage stats listed for it, contributed by anyone who chose to share their data with the channel. The sample size that the channel tracks is pretty good, though it is obviously biased toward users who hook up a Wii to the Internet. We calculate that sample size by looking at Wii Sports usage numbers, which show that more than 124 million sessions of that game have been played by Nintendo Channel users as of October 1 (up 3 million in the last month), for an average of 31.31 sessions per player. That divides to around 4.0 million Wii Sports users whose gaming has been tracked by the channel. Since almost all Wii Sports owners in North America would be Wii users, we will venture that as many as 4.0 million people have contributed stats. That is up from the 3.9 million people when these numbers were run for September 1. (Please not that in the chart atop this post October 09 data is not included due to a problem with Nintendo's data reporting during that period.)