Mass Effect: A Sales History

by William D'Angelo, posted on 17 April 2012 / 17,600 Views

Welcome to the second new weekly feature, “A Sales History.” The other weekly feature is the “Top 10 in Sales.” Seb Parker had originally started this feature back in July, taking a look at the sales of video game franchises, such as Halo, Pokémon and Gran Turismo. As a weekly feature we will be exploring the sales history of the biggest franchises in the industry, to the most niche franchises.

Like with the “Top 10 in sales” and “USA Preorders” features, requests are always welcome. Now for the first article we will be taking a look at the Mass Effect franchise.

Sales Overview

Mass Effect Series Sales Chronological Order

As you can see from the graph above, the Mass Effect franchise is predominantly an Xbox 360 with the majority of its sales on that platform. The main reason for this is that first in the franchise was an Xbox 360 exclusive and was later released on the PC and was never released on the PlayStation 3. The franchise grew from the first to second game, and the third was just released last month and has already achieved the sales in the original. This shows the growth in the franchise to one of the biggest in the industry.

Mass Effect Sales Total

In the chart above, the Mass Effect franchise has achieved lifetime to date sales of 10.20 million, which puts it in the exclusive club of franchises that have sold 10 million or more units. Mass Effect 3 which has sold a combined 3.08 million units in just five weeks should reach the five million mark by the time it stops selling. Mass Effect 2 which still averages combined sales from 20,000 to 30,000 each week has an outside shot of reaching the five million mark.

Platform

Mass Effect Sales Xbox 360

More than 70 percent of the Mass Effect franchise sales have been on the Xbox 360, which has sold 7.29 million units across all three games. The first two in the franchise have sold very similar with the second just edging out the first. Mass Effect 3 which has sold two million units in just five weeks should easily pass the sales of the first two.

Mass Effect Sales PlayStation 3

With the first game in the series not on the PlayStation 3, the franchise has received good, but not great sales on the platform. Mass Effect 2 did sell just over one million units on the platform, making it the 131 bestselling game on the platform.

Mass Effect Sales PC

The first Mass Effect is currently the bestselling one on the PC; however it will soon be passed by Mass Effect 3.

Predictions for Future Releases

While there is no future Mass Effect game announced at this time, looking at the current sales of the three games in the franchise, there is a good indication where the franchise is heading. Future releases will most likely be on the next generation of consoles, with the Wii U set to release holiday 2012 and the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 rumored to be released in the second half of 2013. With each release of the series every two years, the next game in the franchise will release in the first quarter 2014 at the earliest. This would make it one of the biggest releases in the first bunch of months for the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 if the rumors and current trends are to be believed. However a new engine will most likely be used. This could mean a release date during the holiday of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015.

With the possible release dates in mind and being so early in the next generation don’t expect initial sales to be equal to Mass Effect 3. The game whether it’s Mass Effect 4, a prequel, or a side game will most likely sell anywhere from 500,000 to 700,000 units in its opening week, but expect the game to have strong legs and to sell a similar amount as the first three games, three to four million, by the time it’s done selling.


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8 Comments

Michael-5 (on 17 April 2012)

I assume the chart rounded your 0.5 values up, why did you not correct this before posting the feature? Also no 5 week comparision between Mass Effect 3 and the predecessors? What does Mass Effect 3 selling 2 million on the 360 in 5 weeks tell me if I don't know how well Mass Effect 1 and 2 did in the first 5 weeks. Poorly done.


hunter_alien (on 17 April 2012)

Not a bad analysis at all, but the issue here is the fact that the PC version probably sold at least twice that amount with DD included, and as far as I know bot the Xbox and the PS3 version have DD versions too ( hell the PS3 version of ME3 was available day 1). So the numbers are skewed by a lot IMO.


Millenium (on 17 April 2012)

Quite an interesting read. Good job!


Michael-5 (on 17 April 2012)

Request: Monolith Soft Games (XenoBlade vs. XenoSaga, XenoGears, and I guess Baten Kaitos). Or Mistwalker (after The Last Story releases in NA). Maybe Zelda if you need something now.


Plezbo (on 17 April 2012)

If they make a ME4, can they retcon the ending of 3? PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE?


Jexy (on 17 April 2012)

A worthless analysis when you consider a few things. For one, with digital downloads NOT being counted, and ME3 being able to be downloaded on the day of release not just on PC, but on PS3, you really have no idea what the sales are. Second, just the digital downloads for PC in general are thru the roof lately (Steam doubling its sales the same year retail physical copies fall). And third, VG Chartz DOESN'T EVEN TRACK PC sales for the first two games in North America! That is Mass Effect's biggest market and you guys didn't even track it! So really? If you don't have the data, how can you compare? Forget the fact that ME3 is basically a shooter with some RPG elements and ME1 is an actual RPG... completely different crowds for first time buyers.


richardhutnik (on 17 April 2012)

Why are people complaining about the ending to Mass Effect 3? I saw them all on Youtube and thought they did a good job wrapping up the mythos of the current Mass Effect trilogy.


fillet (on 17 April 2012)

Because Mass Effect was never about a "mythos".


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fillet (on 17 April 2012)

It was supposed to be "real", certainly wasn't aspiring to some kind of mythology type get up. The whole problem is that ending would be well set in some cheesy mythology. You really thing the kid reading with the old man was fitting!!!? Seriously!!!?


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Comments below voting threshold

fillet (on 17 April 2012)

Sales irrelevent, the marketing drive behind each release was very different and a comparison is pointless. Prediction based on this data is even more silly.