Xbox Live's Major Nelson posted some interesting year-end numbers, including this ranking of 2006's top Xbox Live Arcade titles ranked in order of sales:
2 Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting
3 Geometry Wars Evolved
4 Marble Blast Ultra
7 Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
11 Bankshot Billiards 2
15 Texas Hold 'em
16 Bejeweled 2
17 Feeding Frenzy
18 Small Arms
19 Cloning Clyde
20 LUMINES LIVE!
A few comments:
1. Who the heck is purchasing Gauntlet? That game is broken! (Hitting "Y" on the controller is the same as inserting a quarter into the original arcade game, but it can be hit an unlimited number of times, making it equivalent to an "invincibility" button.) Gauntlet's place on this list demonstrates the power of nostalgia over gameplay when it comes to arcade titles. We suspect that Nintendo's virtual console is benefiting from the same misguided gamer nostalgia. Some old games just don't hold up.
2. Most (all?) annual Xbox Live Gold subscriptions sold in the retail box (the one with the cheapo headset) included a free game code to redeem Bankshot Billiards 2, making that $15 game's rank on this list suspect.
3. Feeding Frenzy would be higher on this list if there were a reason to pay for it. It feels like the demo mode lasts forever. It's quite satisfying to play without ever purchasing it.
4. Street Fighter II would have been number one on this list if a solid arcade joystiq had been released simultaneously with the game. First- and third-party peripheral manufacturers really blew an opportunity there.