It’s Not Even Funny How Badly Reported PC Game Sales Are

Lately we are seeing the resurgence of PC gaming. Microsoft has finally admitted that it ignored the PC platform for too long. Every game publisher is pushing out more and more games on the PC. The question is, why? Last month, a gaming website reported that PC games sell more than games on Xbox One. To be honest, it sounds a bit made up. And it sounds made up because we don’t have numbers. For consoles, there are numbers thrown around everywhere. For PC’s, everybody is hush on how much they actually sold.

Gabe Newell
Such sales, much steam. Wow.

Steam is supposed to be the holy grail of PC gaming. These days, the number of active users on Steam peaks at around 9 million. 9 MILLION! And they say Steam makes 1 billion dollars a year. So where are the numbers? Well, they don’t release any. But there are sources. SteamSpy monitors traffic on Steam, to tell us how well a particular game is selling. Their data (while it may be off) is never far from the truth. And just going through their top 100 list of games sold on Steam shows some shocking numbers. I made a list of the top games that sold very well on PC, and whose numbers were never ever reported.

  • Far Cry 3 – 2.6 million copies
  • Tomb Raider (2013) – 3.2 million copies
  • The Witcher 2 : Assassins of kings – 3.4 million copies
  • Dark Souls : Prepare to Die edition – 2 million copies
  • Dishonored : 2.2 million copies
  • GTA 4 – 3.7 million copies
  • GTA 5 – 2.6 million copies (in 2 months. This one will hit 5 million)
  • XCOM : Enemy Unknown – 2.8 million copies
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (GOTY edition) – 2.2 million copies
  • Batman : Arkham City – 2.6 million copies
  • Bioshock: Infinite – 3.7 million copies
  • Bioshock – 2.9 million copies
  • Mirrors Edge – 2.5 million copies
  • Borderlands 2 : 5.1 million copies
  • Fallout New Vegas : 3.8 million copies
  • The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – 9.3 million copies (Sold very well on PC)
  • Left for Dead 2 : 13 million copies (Yes, millions of copies just on Steam)

One interesting thing to note is that, Skyrim has sold almost 4 million physical copies in addition to almost 9.5 million copies just on Steam. If you go to VGChartz and see their numbers, you’ll get an impression that PC gaming is dead. It’s like an underworld Mafia -looking poor from the outside, but running a very healthy business without anyone ever knowing. This is one thing gamers and game developers deserve to know.

I can’t imagine what the poor numbers will look like to a startup that is contemplating making a PC game. Having an accurate idea about what’s what is the only thing that can give these ambitious developers the confidence they need.