NPD’s Q1 Most Played Games List Doesn’t Include Elden Ring
The 10 most played video games of the first quarter of 2022 have been revealed, and the best-selling game of the year in 2022 so far in the United States – Elden Ring – did not make the rankings.
NPD analyst Mat Piscatella has shared a list of the most played games in the US for the period January through March, ranked by year of initial release, and sourced from the NPD’s PlayerPulse survey. As you can see from the chart below, half of the top 10 games weren’t released this decade. As for Elden Ring, it ranked 20th overall for the first quarter of 2022, surpassed by titles like Skyrim (originally released in 2011), the MMO World of Warcraft and Rocket League.
As for the games that entered the top 10, Minecraft, GTA V, The Sims 4, Fortnite, Among Us, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Call of Duty: Warzone, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Madden NFL 22 and NBA 2K22 all mapped. Again, the graph below is ordered by year of initial release, not overall popularity. And the games were decided by the percentage of NDP survey panelists who played in the past month. The list does not include mobile games, which are more popular than console and PC games.
Although Elden Ring is not in the top 10 most played games in the United States for the first quarter of 2022, it is not only the best-selling game of 2022 so far, but the best-selling game of last year, even surpassing Call of Duty: Vanguard.
NPD PlayerPulse US Top 10 Most Played Console/PC Games* Q1 2022 Sorted by Initial Release Year
- GTA V-2013
- The Sims 4 — 2014
- Among Us – 2018
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons — 2020
- Call of Duty: Warzone — 2020
- Madden NFL 22 — 2021
- Call of Duty: Vanguard — 2021
- NBA 2K22 — 2021
Source: NPD Group’s PlayerPulse
* Percentage of panelists who played in the previous month
Piscatella shared this list and wider comments following further online discussion and debate in certain circles about the popularity and viability of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and others.
“Big evergreen games and huge live service games with deeply integrated social hooks are gravity sinks for player attention, time and spending,” Piscatella said. “New games big and small face a daunting challenge trying to break through.”
Piscatella went on to say that Game Pass and the new version of PS Plus should help games find an audience. “Why aren’t more AAA games launching on day one on the subservices? They should. But the high development costs and marketing budgets required to try and break through that wall of trees at Evergreens require aggressive sell targets to pass the green light. Targets that are often too aggressive or too aggressive,” he said. “Thus, people are forced into ‘what we should believe’ scenarios for the AAA publication, betting that sales performance will be at the higher end of the possible spectrum, or even outliers. This would require that these targets be met for the inclusion of sub-services.”
In this context, the choice becomes obvious, said Piscatella. “Do the traditional version, see if the game is lightning fast in the proverbial sell bottle. If so, great. If not, then investigate ancillary revenue streams like the inclusion of sub-services or more traditional discounts, among other means,” he explained. “Including a game on a sub-service is not something everyone can or wants to do. There are thousands of games released every year, and only a handful of them make it to these services. So , general statements about good subservices or bad subservices miss the point.”
Piscatella added, “These services are another tool in the belt to try to fund, publish games and help them break through the barriers of big, evergreen titles. And new games coming into that market need all the help they can get trying to do that.”
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