It’s always been a problem, but thanks to digital downloads and services like Game Pass, now it’s impossible to tell how well a game has sold, unless the publisher happens to reveal the fact in a financial report.
Microsoft doesn’t even report console sales, let along individual games, so that’s unlikely to ever happen with Starfield, but we do now have one useful metric for its success: it did better than Resident Evil 4 and Final Fantasy 16 at launch in Europe.
Resident Evil is not as big a franchise as it often seems, given its influence and all the movies and TV shows, but Final Fantasy is popular in Europe and should’ve easily beaten a newcomer like Starfield – but it didn’t.
Square Enix has been having a bad time in terms of sales but what the latest GSD data from Europe shows, is that Starfield was number one across Europe in its launch week and became the fastest-selling new IP of the year (not that there was much competition in that area – there’s certainly no others in the top 10).
According to GSD, via GamesIndustry.biz, it’s the fifth fastest selling game of the year in Europe, but that’s where you immediately start getting into caveats and guesswork.
Hogwarts Legacy, Diablo 4, The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor all definitely did better on their first week but Baldur’s Gate 3 probably did too, except publisher Larian Studios hasn’t provided its sale data. (Nintendo also doesn’t share its digital sales.)
Starfield was also available for a week earlier than any of those games, if you bought one of the more expensive editions, so had longer to rack up sales.
That favours Starfield and yet the fact that it was available on Game Pass not only means more people played it (6 million, according to Microsoft) but that its raw sales would’ve been a lot more if it hadn’t been on Game Pass.
It’s all very convoluted and you’re not really comparing like with like. In the end, the only other concrete takeaway is that Starfield was, by a small margin, the biggest Xbox Launch this generation in Europe.
That alone is a major win for Microsoft, although the best indication that the game has exceeded expectations is if they reveal actual sales figures.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what Titanfall 2 is doing in the charts, that’s because the online was fixed last week and it’s currently only £2.49 on Steam. Likewise, Need for Speed: Heat is just £5.99 at the moment.
European week one video game sales 2023
- Hogwarts Legacy (Warner Bros. Games)
- Diablo 4 (Blizzard)
- The Legends Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom* (Nintendo)
- Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (EA)
- Starfield (Bethesda)
- Resident Evil 4 (Capcom)
- Final Fantasy 16 (Square Enix)
- F1 23 (EA)
- Dead Island 2 (Deep Silver)
- NBA 2K23 (2K)
*Digital data unavailable
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