It probably wasn’t excessively hard to predict that Elden Ring would be a rather big sales success. Sure, there’s historical data to go off of showing that previous titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne were modest successes that were likely well-scoped with their eventual sales numbers in mind. From the jump, however, Elden Ring seemed poised to actually penetrate through the previous ceilings and really hit critical mass. It won most anticipated game at The Game Awards twice!
According to Bandai Namco today, that does indeed seem to be the case. Buckle up, folks, because we’re about to get into the fun world of delineating between shipped vs. sold and how that distinction matters a lot and also doesn’t really matter all that much all at the same time.
In March of this year, it was pretty clear Elden Ring was selling well, having already become the biggest seller of 2022 in the National Purchase Diary (which goes by revenue of games sold) and reported by publisher Bandai Namco to have hit 12 million copies sold in roughly two weeks after launch. That’s a lot!
In Bandai Namco’s new quarterly numbers — which are only through March 31, 2022 — the publisher stated that Elden Ring has actually shipped 13.4 million overall. Copies sold means exactly what you think it means, someone paid money at consumer level to buy a copy of Elden Ring. Copies shipped means those retailers paid money to buy Elden Ring from Bandai Namco, so Bandai Namco made that money, but in theory it has not been bought by a consumer yet.
However, retail stores are also unlikely to just buy copies of Elden Ring to sit on store shelves, so we can make some assumptions that they are selling the copies they’re buying, we just don’t know what that exact number is. To make things even more confusing, the shipped number includes copies sold through digital services, which are by definition sold copies that we can actually account for.
And then you layer on the fact that all this data is over a month old at this point and all we can really say for sure is that Elden Ring has sold somewhere between 12 million and infinite numbers of copies and has shipped 13.4 million units and probably more than that by now.
The only thing more complicated than this is Elden Ring‘s lore.