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With 12m sales, If Elden Ring is ‘niche’ then so is CoD

OPINION: It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of Elden Ring and Souls-like games in general. I mean, what’s not to love?

Impossibly high difficulty levels that makes it feel like an accurate simulation of what would happen if you put a normal person in a suit of armour and asked them to slay a dragon? More stats and build options than any normal person could ever sensibly get a full grasp of without giving up their regular 9-5 job? Permanent risk you’ll rage throw your controller after yet another monster one-shots you? It’s all there.

Which is why I gave Elden Ring a 4.5/5 when I reviewed it. It’s also why, like many fans of From Software games, I took exception to the description of the game as being part of a niche genre.

For me, being difficult and debatably a bit geeky given its fantasy setting, does not make a game niche. Would you call Skyrim a niche title, or Cyberpunk 2077? So why apply it to pretty much every From Software game?

Thankfully my argument just got some hard evidence to support it, as From Software President and CEO, Hidetaka Miyazaki confirmed the game has just surpassed the 12-million sales milestone in a press release sent to Trusted Reviews and other media outlets.

Does that make it the best selling game ever? No, but it puts it right up there in terms of popularity with some of gaming’s biggest franchises.

Mat Piscatella, Executive Director & Video Game Industry Advisor, claims that Elden Ring saw the second highest number of launch month sales for any tracked game release in the past 12 months. The only game to best it was Call of Duty: Vanguard, which launched back in November 2021.

We don’t have firm numbers for Call of Duty Vanguard so it’s difficult to know how close Elden Ring came to topping the juggernaut. The fact that Activision reported Vanguard was 40% down in sales compared to the older Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War shows just how popular the third-party shooter series is, too.

But it’s still mighty impressive that Elden Ring managed to leapfrog other popular games such as FIFA 22, Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Battlefield 2042. To be honest, it’s quite remarkable that Elden Ring has even been included in the same conversation as these franchises when it comes to sales.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at live player numbers. At the time of writing, there were 421,079 concurrent Elden Ring players active on Steam.

Though it’s not a direct comparison as it uses a different tracking tool, CoD tracker was reporting 490,493 “tracked” Vanguard players. Yes, that’s a bigger number, despite the game launching a few months ago, but it still shows Elden Ring is a big game in the same league as Vanguard.

It’s also why I’d really like us as an industry and gamers in general to stop describing anything that’s not about pretending to be a soldier or sports as a niche title. The numbers show the industry is bigger and more diverse than that. If Elden Ring’s still a “niche” title, then so is Call of Duty.

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