To celebrate the five year anniversary of the PS4, Sony recently launched “My PS4 Life,” a marketing campaign that creates videos highlighting players’ individual stats and milestones.
It turns out that some of the data shown in these videos can also be used to reverse-engineer how many people have played certain PS4 games, shedding some light on a subject that game publishers normally keep secret.
In a post over on the PS4 subreddit, Reddit user gamestat explains how each of these My PS4 Life videos includes the total number of trophies earned in a particular category for a particular game.
Since the percentage of a game’s players who have a specific trophy is already publicly available on the PlayStation website, it’s possible to combine the two pieces of information to get the total number of players a game has on PS4.
For example, one of the videos says that 15,448 players have the platinum trophy, Andromeda’s Finest, for Mass Effect: Andromeda. According to the PlayStation website, that trophy has a .7% completion rate.
That means that approximately 2,206,857 people have played the game on PS4. Gamestat has been using this method to create a list of player numbers for various games, and while it’s not comprehensive, it does offer an interesting look at the platform that goes far beyond the NPD Group’s vague monthly rankings of game sales.
It’s important to remember that this player data isn’t a one to one match for total sales of a particular game. Games which were discounted or temporarily free with a paid PS Plus subscription will have inflated player counts.
The player counts will also be skewed since it’s possible for more than one PlayStation Account to play a single game on a single PS4. Used copies of games also make it impossible to equate player counts to actual sales.
Not surprisingly, Grand Theft Auto V is the platform’s most-played game based on the data, with roughly 51,700,000 players world wide. A little less obvious is the success of FIFA. With 32,500,000 players for FIFA 18, 30,000,000 for FIFA 17, and 28,300,000 for FIFA 16, it’s clear why EA has stayed committed to annualised sequels. There’s no data for Madden for comparison, while NBA 2K18 is currently sitting much lower at 9,400,000 players.
Here are some of the other player counts:
The Last Guardian: 1,940,000
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy: 3,890,000
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: 1,437,000
Detroit: Become Human: 2,440,000
Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 1,150,000
Red Dead Redemption 2: 6,110,000
Fallout 76: 407,000
The list is still missing most PS4 games, including some big ones like Spider-Man and God of War, but it’s likely to grow as people share more and more of their My PS4 Life videos, assuming Sony doesn’t quickly remove the trophy numbers.
In either case, the data offers some brief but fascinating insights into what people are playing on the platform, as well as what they aren’t.