15 Biggest Flops of 2022
Even if sales were down in certain months compared to recent years, 2022 has seen several massive sellers. Elden Ring, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, God of War Ragnarok, FIFA 23, the list goes on. Unfortunately, it also saw a fair number of sales flops and underwhelming releases. Let’s look at 15 of them here.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (on PC)
When the remastered duo launched for PS5 in January, it debuted in fifth place on Gfk’s UK physical sales charts. Pretty good, even if it didn’t hit the top 20 for The NPD Group’s best-selling games for the month. Its PC version is a completely different story, though, hitting a peak concurrent player count of only 10,851 on Steam when it was released in October. Either because there wasn’t much hype around it, or other big titles took all the attention, the collection just didn’t resonate.
With a whopping 38 out of 100 Metascore and lacklustre marketing, it was somewhat expected that CrossfireX wouldn’t do great. Lo and behold, it didn’t chart anywhere in The NPD Group’s February 2022 sales rankings, nor did it warrant a mention in Gfk’s physical charts for the UK. However, given how popular Crossfire’s multiplayer is in China and South Korea (with over $1 billion in revenue each year since 2014), this won’t hurt Smilegate’s bottom line one bit.
You could call Monark another victim of Elden Ring’s overwhelming presence, especially in Europe, where it launched on the same day as the Souls-like. That’s probably why it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in Gfk’s physical sales charts for the week. It also had only 177 peak concurrent players on Steam in the West. Then again, when released last year in Japan, it barely hit 16,000 units sold on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Couple that with poor critical reception, and its failure is understandable.
Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire Tokyo was one of the premiere PS5 console exclusives this year and sadly didn’t perform up to par. It debuted in 12th place for The NPD Group’s March 2022 charts, and in 11thth place for Gfk’s UK physical game charts. Not only that, but it sold 80 percent less than The Evil Within 2 in the UK, which was considered to have performed poorly at launch. Though it managed sixth place in its debut in Japan, it only sold 10,144 units in its first week. Even the Steam numbers were nothing to write home about, with a peak concurrent total of 14,086 players in its lifetime.
Shadow Warrior 3
Shadow Warrior 3 was intriguing in how it not only went with a super-linear approach to its levels but also stuck to previous-gen consoles and PC. Blame it on the lack of marketing buzz, the shadows of Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West, or something else, but when released on March 1st, 2022, it was nowhere to be seen in Gfk’s UK physical sales charts or GSD’s digital sales charts. Even the peak concurrent player count on Steam was a mere 1,651 players.
Another game which likely suffered due to releasing too close to Elden Ring and Horizon Forbidden West is Codemasters’ GRID Legends. It debuted in 18th place in Gfk’s UK physical sales charts and was pretty much never heard from again after that. Yes, not even in The NPD Group’s best-selling titles for February and March 2022. SteamDB reveals a peak concurrent player count of just 455, which is just a few days after it launched.
Roller Champions’ success is a bit harder to measure since, well, it’s a free-to-play title. That being said, its digital revenue hasn’t warranted any mention this year. It launched to very little reaction on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and the Switch release did nothing to help this either. Lest anyone thinks the recent Steam release would aid in a resurgence, it has had a peak concurrent player total of 141. Such was the response that reports quickly circulated of the game being sunset, which Ubisoft denied.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
One of the big three releases of December, Marvel’s Midnight Suns has a lot going for it with the XCOM team involved, strong critical acclaim, and some well-known Marvel heroes. It even had 15,500 peak concurrent players on Steam. Sales-wise, the story is less positive, as it debuted in a mortifying 26th place in the UK physical sales charts. Granted, Firaxis is known more for its PC player base (as seen with the Steam user count), and the digital sales could help, but the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 numbers can’t be entirely discounted. Maybe it was just the victim of too many big releases on the same day, as evidenced by The Callisto Protocol performing way better.
Need for Speed Unbound
Due to its release timing, we won’t know how Need for Speed Unbound performed in the US until next month. As for the UK, its launch week physical sales were down a staggering 64 percent compared to Need for Speed Heat, earning it only 17th place. This may seem expected, but it’s the tenth-biggest IP in the region’s history. Things hardly improved the next week when it slipped to 19th place following a 19 percent sales drop. Steam player numbers aren’t so great either, with a peak concurrent total of only 14,063.
Star Ocean: The Divine Force
Compared to Valkyrie Elysium, Star Ocean: The Divine Force performed decently when it launched in Japan, with over 44,000 units sold on PS4 and PS5. The problem? It’s the weakest game launch in the series. The first Star Ocean in June 1996 sold over 81,000 copies on the Super Famicom, for crying out loud. The Divine Force failed to crack Gfk’s top 10 in the UK and debuted in 14th place for the US, according to The NPD Group, before quietly fading away.
Gungrave G.O.R.E. launched a few weeks after Sonic Frontiers and God of War Ragnarok, and days after Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Shock of shocks, it neither charted in the UK nor the US. On Steam, it has a peak concurrent player total of 138, which says it all.
This one hurts, simply because I loved Livewire’s Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights. Sadly, Harvestella matched up in neither sales nor critical acclaim. It debuted in second place in Famitsu’s Japan sales charts with 26,644 units sold on Nintendo Switch, but only reached 38,704 sales before dropping out entirely. On PC, it had a measly 3,395 peak concurrent players via Steam.
The DioField Chronicle
Square Enix may have some heavy hitters coming in 2023, but this year has been rather disastrous for the publisher. It released a flurry of underwhelming titles and commercial flops, like The DioField Chronicle. The strategy RPG launched at 17th place in Gfk’s UK physical sales charts and sold about 12,068 units in its first week in Japan across Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS5. SteamDB notes 1,272 peak concurrent players over its lifetime, which is pretty sad.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure (PC)
Considering how valuable the PC market has been for Sony with Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War (2018), and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, it was expected that Sackboy would follow up on that success. Alas, it wasn’t to be. It recorded a meagre 610 peak concurrent players since launch, far less than even Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. Sony hasn’t revealed sales numbers, and maybe it’s unfair to expect much out of a lesser-known IP on PC. Nevertheless, it’s still disappointing.
New Tales from the Borderlands
Released on October 21st, 2022, you’d expect a new Borderlands title, much less the follow-up to Tales from the Borderlands, to get a decent response. But either due to the lack of marketing, Telltale not returning, the premise or a flurry of other releases, New Tales from the Borderlands came and went with very little response. It wasn’t mentioned by Gfk in its UK physical charts for the end of October and throughout November. Even worse, it didn’t even chart in The NPD Group’s US sales charts for October and November.
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