No, don’t worry, this isn’t another PSN hack or data breach, but someone does seem to have failed to understand the implications of something they designed for Sony, as evidenced by a new “My PS4 Life” tool which is supposed to give players info about their gameplay to share with others.
This was discovered on reddit to be a gateway to calculating the playercounts/sales of almost every PS4 game to some reasonable degree of certainty. How does it work?
The My PS4 Life system will give you specific player numbers about an achievement. The example from the original thread is that My PS4 Life says that 33,764 players earned the “Photo Bomber” trophy in Fallout 76. And as has always been the case, you can look up what percentage of players have earned that trophy on PSN. In this case, that’s 8.3%. Those two figures are enough to get you to the conclusion that 406,795 players have played Fallout 76 on PS4.
If these figures are remotely accurate, this is a big problem for Sony, because many of these companies don’t want their player/potential sales data shared publicly like this. In Fallout 76’s case, for instance, that 400K number is low. Painfully low, especially when compared to the likes of other games whose players have been calculated using this same method from Black Ops 4 (9 million) to Red Dead Redemption 2 (6 million) to Detroit: Become Human (2.4 million) to even Mass Effect Andromeda (2.2 million). The implication here that negative reviews and buzz have been very bad for Fallout 76 sales, which is obviously a narrative Bethesda doesn’t want circulating. This may be somewhat misleading, however, as it’s unclear how current this data is. Games that were more recently released in say, November (like Fallout), may still be a few weeks behind in this data. Also, some of these playercounts would not directly translate to sales in every case if a game has been a free PS Plus game, like Deus Exor Destiny 2. It also would not account for resold/used games.
Everyone is still trying to parse through all the data this My PS4 Life system has revealed, but right now there’s a site up with estimates for about 60 games, and more will be added as they’re figured out. The eye-popping numbers on the board are all the FIFA games, which all end up with about 30 million players over time, and FIFA 19 already has 12 million. GTA V has 51 million players on PS4, which is about half of its record-shattering sales, with the rest of the difference on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Other “low” figures like Fallout 76 (though not that low) would be Wolfenstein 2, another Bethesda release, with only 1.3 million players. Shadow of the Tomb Raider only has 1.1 million. Prey (again Bethesda) has 1 million. There are some larger titles that I haven’t seen calculated yet like God of War, Spider-Man and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but perhaps soon. You can see the full list for yourself here.
Based on what we do know about sales for many of these games, this calculation system does seem like it’s reasonably accurate. If so, that’s a big problem for Sony and all these developers who don’t want this data public, which could have an impact on both public companies (with skittish shareholders) and private ones (who normally don’t have to release any of this data unless they chose to). We’ll see if this My PS4 Life system gets pulled down, but it seems like the damage may already be done.