Seemingly against all odds, Gunfire Games' relatively little known Soulslike shooter, Remnant 2, has clinched both a moral and financial victory over the giants of the gaming industry, particularly, Activision Blizzard with Diablo 4 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to become the top-selling game of July in the United States, as revealed by the most recent data from NPD and Circana.
After the multi-pronged AAA release in June that saw Final Fantasy 16, Street Fighter 6, and Diablo 4, all come out within weeks of each other, July was relatively quiet, with only Pikmin 4 the only other July release to make it to the top 10.
It's crucial to highlight the staggering achievement of Remnant 2. Not only did it triumph over industry giants, how fast it did it warrants praise - it outsold most games with less than a week to go before the month ended after releasing on July 25, promptly reaching the pinnacle of Steam's charts.
Remnant II from Gearbox Publishing was the best-selling game of July, instantly becoming the #18 best-selling game of 2023 year-to-date. Two other new releases appeared among the month’s top 20 best-sellers, including Pikmin 4 (#6), and Exoprimal (#16). pic.twitter.com/Od98nkhVLz
— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) August 21, 2023
The game's success, although surprising, is no accident. As the sequel to the 2019 title, Remnant 2 didn't merely mimic its predecessor; it soared to even greater heights. With concurrent Steam players surpassing 100K, the game wasn't the mere flavor of the month. Its developers showcased their commitment by packing the game with content, promising a riveting journey and intriguing secrets that can engage players for over 400 hours. Plus, a series of forthcoming DLCs are slated to introduce new challenges and gameplay narratives, ensuring that the Remnant community remains active and engaged.
The success narrative of Remnant 2 echoes a broader story about the gaming industry. The game is evidence that solo player games, devoid of microtransactions, can flourish when they are crafted with genuine dedication and passion.
Case in point, Baldur's Gate 3, which came out over a week after Remnant 2's launch, made headlines for an even bigger coup. It's now set to welcome an influx of even more players with its release on the PlayStation 5 on September 6.
While Remnant 2 was the highlight, the charts offer insights into the broader landscape. The PlayStation 5 continues its market dominance after jostling for the Nintendo Switch for most of its lifecycle. The flagship console impressed with its sales, even though there was a 19% dip in year-over-year hardware spending. Furthermore, the PS5's DualSense Edge controller surged to the top, becoming the year's best-selling game accessory, so far.
However, July wasn't all roses. Capcom's Exoprimal barely made a mark, landing at a subdued 16th place, trailing many older releases, despite going viral. In the context of sales metrics, it isn't fair to say that Remnant 2 outsold Diablo 4. It didn't even come out in the same month. Not to mention, the standings don't favor in Battle.net purchases, which is unfair for Diablo 4 as it isn't available on Steam either.
Furthermore, the rankings further prove our earlier point - single-player, narrative-driven titles are selling extremely well. Elden Ring, despite its age, remains in the top 10. Hogwarts Legacy is enjoying similar numbers as well, even if it came out on last-gen consoles in May and current-gen platforms and the PC all the way back in February.
In the larger scheme of things, the market dynamics for July reinforce the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. While big names maintain their allure, new entrants like Remnant 2 prove that with the right ingredients, they can not only compete but also overshadow industry stalwarts.
With that said, it's clear that the gaming world remains as vibrant and unpredictable as ever. As developers like Gunfire have shown, when crafted with genuine care and innovation, games can resonate deeply with audiences, ensuring their success in an increasingly competitive market.