Helldivers 2 is PlayStation’s fastest-selling game ever

In its latest financial report, Sony has revealed that Helldivers 2 — the scrappy co-op shooter turned online gaming sensation from Sweden’s Arrowhead Game Studios — is the fastest-selling game PlayStation has ever released.

Sony said Helldivers 2 sold 12 million copies in its first 12 weeks on sale, “surpassing the record set by God of War Ragnarök in the same period after its release in 2022.” Ragnarök sold 11 million copies in the same time frame. Sony said Helldivers 2 sales “far exceeded expectations.”

Helldivers 2’s release strategy was unusual for Sony. It released simultaneously on PS5 and PC, via Steam, and at $39.99 had a lower price than the majority of first-party releases from PlayStation Studios, the console-maker’s development and publishing arm. Sony usually prices its games at $59.99 and above, and waits for a year or more before releasing them on PC.

There’s no doubt that Steam contributed massively to Helldivers 2’s success. Sales analyst Mat Piscatella said that, in the game’s launch month, nearly 60% of its sales came from Steam, and it only recently fell out of the top 10 most-played games on the platform. “The game has become our biggest PC hit title to date, and as a multi-platform title, it also contributed significantly to sales and profit last quarter,” Sony said.

No surprise, then, that Sony plans to release all live-service games simultaneously on PlayStation and Steam going forward. It’s yet to make the same decision for its first-party single-player action games in franchises like Marvel’s Spider-Man, The Last of Us, and God of War, which are regarded as system-sellers for PlayStation consoles and currently held back as platform exclusives. You can be certain there will be spirited debates about the pros and cons of this policy within Sony after Helldivers 2’s success.

But Sony’s push into multiplatform publishing with Helldivers 2 hasn’t been an unqualified success. When Sony attempted to reinstate a dropped requirement for Steam players to link a PlayStation Network account, it was met with a storm of dissent, and ultimately had to drop the policy.

Elsewhere in Sony’s financial report, the company revealed that PS5 console sales had reached 59 million, just behind the 60 million PS4s sold in the same period since its release. It expects PS5 sales to have peaked and to decline annually from here on out, though. Generally speaking, the financial picture for PlayStation is pretty rosy, with sales up 17% over the previous financial year — though it’s expecting a decline in the year ahead, with no major exclusive games to drive sales.

Sony also announced a new CEO for Sony Interactive Entertainment, which runs the PlayStation business — in fact, it announced two. Jim Ryan’s replacements will be Hermen Hulst and Hideaki Nishino. Hulst, former boss of Guerrilla Games and current head of PlayStation Studios, will become CEO of the new Studio Business Group, with responsibility for game development and publishing as well as TV and film licensing. Nishino takes over as CEO of the Platform Business Group, running console hardware and services like PlayStation Network, sales and marketing, and third-party relations. Both men will report into the current interim CEO Hiroki Totoki in his role as board chairman.

It sounds like not much has changed here, with the hard-nosed Totoki (the probable architect of the recent PlayStation layoffs, even though Ryan signed them off) carving up the kingdom and still pulling the strings.