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Sony reveals most-downloaded PlayStation games in 2021


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As most people already know, 2020 and 2021 were not great years for traditional retail. With the pandemic closing stores and keeping people at home, mail-order and digital sales have increased greatly in the areas where they are applicable. Downloads and streaming kept the movie business going and was a giant boon to console gaming.

Letting us in on the business side of things, Sony has published it’s top selling games on its active platforms for 2021. Let’s take a look at the charts per console.

PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5 side

It almost seems like someone had a monkey’s paw and wished the PS5 would come out at the end of 2020, no matter what. Plagued by availability issues, the PS5 is one of the most sought-after pieces of electronics over a year after its launch. Couple that with 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 issue solving. As mentioned in the PlayStation blog post, Among Us did particularly well considering its December launch.

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One final thing to note before we get to the numbers — this list does not include PS4 to PS5 game upgrades. Here’s the top 20 downloaded games in North America:

  1. NBA 2K22
  2. Call of Duty: Vanguard
  3. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  4. Madden NFL 22
  5. Battlefield 2042
  6. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  7. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  8. MLB The Show 21
  9. Resident Evil Village
  10. Far Cry 6
  11. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  12. FIFA 22
  13. Among Us
  14. Mortal Kombat 11
  15. NBA 2K21 Next Generation
  16. It Takes Two
  17. FIFA 21
  18. Deathloop
  19. Returnal
  20. Kena: Bridge of Spirits

The European Union chart and North American chart are filled with similar titles, often divided by national sports preferences, such as Madden and F1 2020. For comparison, here’s the EU chart:

  1. FIFA 22
  2. Call of Duty: Vanguard
  3. FIFA 21
  4. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  5. Battlefield 2042
  6. Among Us
  7. Kena: Bridge of Spirits
  8. Far Cry 6
  9. It Takes Two
  10. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
  11. F1 2021
  12. Resident Evil Village
  13. NBA 2K22
  14. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
  15. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  16. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six | Siege
  17. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
  18. Diablo II: Resurrected
  19. Deathloop
  20. Mortal Kombat 11

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 Pro limited edition.

Though maybe not exactly what Sony had hoped for, the PS4 is still the main platform for Playstation households. Price drops combined with lack of availability of the PS5 has led to another good year for the PS4. Leading the pack, and winner of the “will this game ever stop being downloaded” award is Grand Theft Auto V. The North American charts between the two generations shows us a few things. Sports games, other than just being very popular, are usually good sellers on new systems because they spend a lot of time on graphic fidelity. It also shows that GTA5 has yet to launch on the next gen consoles.

North America:

  1. Grand Theft Auto V
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  3. Minecraft
  4. NBA 2K22
  5. Call of Duty: Vanguard
  6. Madden NFL 22
  7. NBA 2K21
  8. Red Dead Redemption 2
  9. MLB The Show 21
  10. Mortal Kombat 11
  11. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  12. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  13. FIFA 22
  14. THE FOREST
  15. Need for Speed Heat
  16. UFC 4
  17. ARK: Survival Evolved
  18. Gang Beasts
  19. Rust Console Edition
  20. Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker

In the European Union, the charts are similar but replace anything non-mainstream with a football game and you’ll get the idea.

European Union:

  1. FIFA 22
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. Minecraft
  4. FIFA 21
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  6. The Crew 2
  7. Red Dead Redemption 2
  8. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition
  9. Call of Duty: Vanguard
  10. The Forest
  11. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
  12. Gran Turismo Sport
  13. ARK: Survival Evolved
  14. Need for Speed Heat
  15. NBA 2K21
  16. Gang Beasts
  17. TOM CLANCY’S RAINBOW SIX | SIEGE
  18. eFootball PES 2021 SEASON UPDATE
  19. Among Us
  20. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

PlayStation Virtual Reality

Sony's PlayStation VR 2 headset.

For anyone that follows the VR space, the top 3 picks in NA and EU will come as little surprised. Beat Saber, Job Simulator, and Superhot are intensely popular across the field. The titles that follow also come as no surprise as the availability of quality PSVR games is lower than many other VR markets.

North America:

  1. Beat Saber
  2. Job Simulator
  3. Superhot VR
  4. Gorn
  5. Swordsman VR
  6. Creed Rise to Glory
  7. Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
  8. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
  9. Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
  10. The Walking Dead Onslaught

The only difference between the two charts, at least title-wise, is NA has Walking Dead Onslaught and EU has Astro Bot Rescue Mission in their last spot. The rankings otherwise move up or down a space or two, but the charts are very similar.

European Union:

  1. Beat Saber
  2. Job Simulator
  3. Superhot VR
  4. Creed: Rise to Glory
  5. Swordsman VR
  6. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
  7. GORN
  8. Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
  9. Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
  10. Astro Bot Rescue Mission

PlayStation Network Free-to-play

An interesting inclusion in the charts is the downloads for all free-to-play content. With many players being stuck at home for at least a portion of the year, games that don’t cost anything to play received a lot of attention. Coming in at the top on both charts is Fortnite, surprising no one. Following behind Fortnite, in varying order dependent upon region, you have the usual suspects: Call of Duty, Rocket League, Destiny 2, and Apex Legends.

North America:

  1. Fortnite
  2. Call of Duty: Warzone
  3. Rocket League
  4. Splitgate
  5. Apex Legends
  6. Genshin Impact
  7. Destiny 2
  8. Rec Room
  9. Brawlhalla
  10. Rogue Company

Another category where you can tell the nationality by their choice of games. I’m looking directly at you, eFootball franchise.

European Union:

  1. Fortnite
  2. Rocket League
  3. Call of Duty: Warzone
  4. eFootball 2022
  5. Genshin Impact
  6. Apex Legends
  7. eFootball PES 2021 LITE
  8. Brawlhalla
  9. Destiny 2
  10. Splitgate

2022 and beyond

2021 was not the great return to normal that we had all hoped. With this new year, will Sony be able to get PS5s into the hands of fans who want them? Will the PS4 have as strong of a showing in 2022 due to lack of availability? Will the PSVR 2 catch on and drive new VR sales?

We’ll see you back here next year for some answers!

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