Analyzing the "All Time Best" Video Games with Power BI

October 12, 2018

 

Are there any trends among top selling video games? I decided to tackle that question with some help from our good friend Power BI.

 

Thankfully, there was already a semi-complete table waiting for me on Wikipedia at List of video games considered the best.

 

There are a couple of key insights that we can conclude about "the best" video games from the dashboard:

 

1. Action-Adventure games are most popular. Although this can be seen as the most generic genre, it can also be said that action-adventure games are just easier to develop and produce, and therefore appear at the top of the list.
 

2. Even though PlayStation and Xbox have the most games, Nintendo publishes the most best sellers. Why would this be? Well, Nintendo typically sells exclusive games for their own consoles, with few going out to other platforms. The data here suggests that PlayStation and Xbox receive the most amount of games from in-house development and third party companies. 

 

 

3. Best sellers typically have a release date in the fourth quarter and towards the end of the month. This point was expected, as most publishers want to release their games right before the holiday season, particularly in November. 
 

 

 

Dashboard Design

In this sections I'll talk a little bit about how I created the dashboard - from the data source to the end design...

 

Getting Data From Wikipedia

As I mentioned in the beginning, the source is from Wikipedia. I used Power Query's web API to pull the data directly from the online page. Sometimes pulling data this way can be a bit tedious as you need to parse through the html tags and divs, but Wikipedia makes it easy for us with a clearly defined table. 

 

You can do this all well and easy in the Power Query wizard, but I'll show you the M code. The Power Query function to get data from the web is Web.Page(Web.Contents("www.your_url.com")). This returns the contents of the HTML document. This will get you something like this:

 

 

You can preview the data by clicking on the cells with "Table" in them. For this project, it turns out I need the first table. The M code to do this is Table{0}[ColumnName]. This returns the value of whatever is in the first row (0 index) for the column we specify. 

 

 

Bowtie Custom Visual

I've never used a bowtie chart before, so I thought I'd give it a go with this dashboard. You can download it from the marketplace, and it's quite simple to use as there are only three parameters to pass in: Source, Value, an Destination.

 

 

Design

I borrowed a couple of design principles I discuss in my other blog about Google Trends. I applied a light colored background to the dashboard canvas and used white boxes to section off areas by wrapping one or more visuals inside them. If you find that your dashboard lacks a sense of structure, you can use this method to remedy the situation. 

 

Have you noticed any trends or correlations among your favorite video games? Personally, I was glad to see some of my favorite games on the list like Final Fantasy X, Metroid Prime, Shadow of the Colossus, Bloodborne and even Inside. Let me know if your favorites made it to the list!

 

Want to improve your visual designs? Check out the best seller, "Storytelling with Data" by Cole Knaflic.

 

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About the Author

Brent Jones loves spending time with his wife and trying out new activities together.  They traveled as digital nomads to many countries in South America, Europe and Asia. He can also speak Japanese!

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