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Do modern games seem to sell more copies on average compared with past decades?

Do games on average sell more copies these days?

  • Yes, they do

    Votes: 37 80.4%
  • No, it just seems that way to you

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 7 15.2%

  • Total voters
It seems that a game breaks sales records every other month these days. And I don't mean just free-to-play, early access or multiplayer games.
It just seems that way, as it isn't something that's easily verified.

Still, light research shows:
- GOW 2018 and Spiderman PS4 consecutively broke Sony's sales records in the same year
- GTA V has gone on to become the fastest-selling entertainment product in history(at least it was in 2018), but even its launch day (excluding GTA:O) was insane
- Borderlands 3 is the fastest-selling game recorded in 2K's history. All without the game receiving significant critical acclaim (and launching exclusive to one PC storefront for a significant period of time)
- Resident Evil 7 and Monster Hunter World were each the best-selling games in their respective franchises (with MHW being the best-selling Capcom game ever)
- Valhalla is the best-selling AC
And so on.

I chose pre-pandemic games because the lockdown makes the numbers get even more insane, but it's also a little more obvious where the surge comes from in that case
And of course release window, competing titles at launch, release medium(digital/physical), marketing, ubiquity of multi-platform releases in the modern industry, etc. are factors that vary and ultimately decide a game's sales

Yes, the streamlining of design in the industry and the application of past experience in 'what works, what sells, and how best to sell it' helps a lot

Yes, the fact that the industry is larger than it's ever been in almost every sense probably helps too

Yes, this isn't true for many franchises (best-selling need for speed was released back in 2005 with a lifetime 16 million units, best-selling COD is 2010's black ops with roughly 31 million units sold)

Still, I keep thinking the base sales numbers for games has just shot up, without much changing in the games themselves.

tldr: Seems like games break sales records more frequently than in the past.

What do you think? If you agree, what do you think is the biggest contributor?
Yes. I’m assuming because there are many more players compared to the past where gaming was less mainstream. Seems like literally everyone and their grandmothers are playing games in some way, shape and form now.
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Yes. I alao think that due to this, comparing sales of modern titles with titles from 15+ years ago is meaningless.


Gold Member
Hard to say. There's a ton more games now to spread sales out, but with digital buying, everyone has scooped up more copies at bargain prices because it was on deal on the digital storefront for $5 but havent got around to playing it. I got a bunch on Steam I bought and havent even bothered loading it up once yet.

The old days you slogged through it at stores buying games on the shelf, and there's no way the average gamer hoarded backlogs of $9.99 disc like now fishing promos on Steam, or MS or Sony digital stores.
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do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
Bigger market = More sales.
Not exactly rocket science.

There are more gamers today than there were in yesteryear, the chances of a popular game breaking a record is super high.
Its also alot easier for a game to be seen....the internet and all.
Get a good marketing push and everyone will atleast see your game whether it sells....thats a different story.

Increasing production times - > Fewer selections - > Sales concentrated into fewer titles.

Also this.
Arent most sales concentrated into a few titles?

These days it seems like everyone and their uncle is playing the same set of games.
In prime PS1 -> PS2/Gamecube/Xbox days pretty much no matter whose house I went to I always discovered them playing something different.
And I mean truly different, I dont want to say game designers were more free to explore weird ideas but those weird ideas actually made it onto disc and got marketing push.
Today you have to scour the gamestore to find that download only indie game that has some new ideas.


Of course they do lol. Back in the day selling a million copies was a massive milestone. Now games are selling 5 million with ease.


Some do. Most don't. Fewer games sell a medium amount, it's either a lot or a little.

Maybe. Or I just made that up.


Gold Member
The best-selling consoles of the last two decades have sold 3-4x the lifetime sales of their forerunners. Stuff like TLOU and RDR2 basically sells as many copies as there were GameCubes sold. Add PC and mobile to the equation and even not accounting for monsters like GTAV, yes, there’s so much more selling potential. Back then a game was a best seller at 100,000 copies.
More players, more ways to buy games, more games releasing on multiple platforms, digital killing the used market...

Seems only natural.


Are there really more people playing now? I mean, I don't think PS4 and Xbone sold more collectively than the 160m reached by PS3 and 360.

Of course PC and Nintendo need to be factored in too.


I highly doubt it because the denominator is growing too, but the question is not well defined. There are many more games spread out on many platforms so even if the most popular ones sell more, on average there are fewer copies of games sold per game title available. But some of the most popular games are free to play and thus don't sell copies and with Gamepass and similar services games are getting revenue without selling copies. How do you factor these in to average copies sold?


Because tripple a games take soo much longer to produce now, the market is less flooded with them. Major releases have more time to shine, some
Times even a month where they are the biggest thing on the market. All those games delayed to february? Yeah expect most of those to get pushed to the spring and summer
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