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As most people already know, 2020 and 2021 have not been good years for traditional retail. With the pandemic closing stores and keeping people at home, digital and mail-order sales have increased significantly in areas where it belongs. Downloads and streaming have kept the movie industry going and have been a boon to console gaming.
Let’s get into the business side of things, Sony has released its best-selling games on its active platforms for 2021. Let’s look at the charts per console.
It almost seems like someone had a monkey’s paw and wanted the PS5 to come out in late 2020 no matter what. Plagued by availability issues, the PS5 is one of the most sought-after electronic parts more than a year after its release. Add to that the lack of retail reliability and you have an interesting challenge for Sony’s PlayStation Network. One that, since the launch of the PS5, they seem to have had no trouble solving. As mentioned in the PlayStation Blog post, Among Us has done particularly well since its December release.
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One last thing to note before we get to the numbers: This list doesn’t include game upgrades from PS4 to PS5. Here are the top 20 downloaded games in North America:
The European Union chart and North American chart are littered with similar titles, often divided by national sports preferences, such as Madden and F1 2020. For comparison, here’s the EU chart:
While it may not be exactly what Sony was hoping for, the PS4 is still the primary platform for Playstation households. Price drops combined with the lack of availability of the PS5 led to another strong year for the PS4. In the lead and winner of the award “Will this game stop downloading?” is Grand Theft Auto V. The North American charts between the two generations show us a few things. Sports games, in addition to being very popular, are generally good sellers on new systems because they spend a lot of time on graphical fidelity. It also shows that GTA5 has yet to be released on the next-gen consoles.
In the European Union, the classifications are similar, but substitute anything unconventional for a soccer game and you get the idea.
PlayStation Virtual Reality
For anyone following the VR space, the top 3 picks in NA and EU will come as little surprise. Beat Saber, Job Simulator and Superhot are extremely popular across the board. The titles that follow aren’t surprising either, as the availability of quality PSVR games is less than in many other VR markets.
The only difference between the two lists, at least title-wise, is that NA has Walking Dead Onslaught and EU has Astro Bot Rescue Mission in last place. Otherwise, the rankings go up or down a space or two, but the charts are very similar.
PlayStation Network Free-to-play
An interesting inclusion in the lists is the downloads of all the free content. With many players stuck at home for at least part of the year, games that don’t cost much to play have gotten a lot of attention. Fortnite tops both rankings, unsurprisingly. After Fortnite, in varying order by region, you have the usual suspects: Call of Duty, Rocket League, Destiny 2, and Apex Legends.
Another category where you can tell the nationality by your choice of games. I’m looking directly at you, eFootball franchise.
2022 and beyond
2021 has not been the great return to normality that we all expected. With this new year, will Sony be able to get the PS5s into the hands of the fans who want them? Will PS4 perform as strongly in 2022 due to lack of availability? Will PSVR 2 catch on and drive new VR sales?
See you next year to get some answers!
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