FromSoftware and Bandai Namco has a monster hit on its hands with Elden Ring.
The game is within the'Souls-like' genre, a type of action adventure game that is notoriously tough. The flagship brand in this genre is FromSoftware's Dark Souls series. The last Dark Souls game, Dark Souls 3, sold an impressive ten million copies over four years.
Elden Ring sold 12 million in three weeks.
It's the sort of performance usually reserved for more mainstream sports games and shooters. So what was it about this title that resonated so strongly with consumers? Was it the new open world setting? George RR Martin's involvement? The huge amounts of press coverage and high review scores?
We decided to ask the gamers themselves. GamesIndustry.biz has a panel of elite gamers, attendees of shows such as EGX and PAX, who own multiple platforms and are frequent gamers. We spoke to them last year to ask them why they didn't buy the new Call of Duty. And now they're back to share some ideas as to why Elden Ring was such a breakthrough success.
Over 200 gamers responded to this survey, and out of those, 35% said they purchased Elden Ring. 24% said they were entirely new to the genre and had never played a 'Souls-like' game before.
When we asked this group of new players why they were interested in Elden Ring (they could select multiple responses), 80% said it was the open world setting that attracted them this time. 67% said it was the critical reception that won them over, while 28% said it was the result of influencer recommendation (whether via YouTube or social media).
Friend recommendation accounted for 40% of new Elden Ring customers, while 27% were drawn in by George RR Martin's involvement. Other cited reasons included advertising (20%), looking for a new action game to play (6%) and looking for something more challenging (6%).
The majority of respondents didn't buy Elden Ring, and the biggest reason for that is the lack of time to devote to it (32%), followed by the game looked too hard (22%). The title's theme and setting put off 13% of respondents.
Just over 10% of respondents said that the game was too expensive for them, and a few commented that they will be looking to acquire it once it goes on sale.
Finally, we asked both groups (Elden Ring players and non-Elden Ring players) what their most anticipated game of the year is. The game that came out top by a big margin was the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 24% of the all participants picked this game, with Elden Ring players (27%) marginally more interested than non-Elden Ring players (21%).
However, this survey was conducted before Zelda was delayed until 2023. Therefore, the most anticipated games amongst this group is Bethesda's Starfield, which is due to launch on Xbox and PC this November. 17% of respondents opted for this, with both Elden Ring and non-Elden Ring players similiarly excited.
The next big game was PlayStation's Horizon Forbidden West (13%). This title was released before Elden Ring, but it's clear players are eager to return to it once they've finished with their current game.
Rounding out the Top Five is God of War Ragnarok (11%) and then Pokémon Violet/Scarlett (5%).
5% of respondents said there was nothing coming this year that excited them.
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