July 31, 2018 Sea of Thieves player counts have exceeded another major milestone.
Sea of Thieves player counts have surpassed five million alongside the launch of the game’s latest expansion. That’s spread across both Xbox One and PC, and represents an impressive milestone for Rare’s pirate adventure. Of course, Sea of Thieves had a bit of a non-traditional release, so those numbers, as always, need some further interpretation.
The game launched both on its own and as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service, a $10 monthly subscription that gives unlimited access to a catalog of roughly 100 titles. That means five million players is not equal to five million copies sold – but that’s not the point. A service like Game Pass relies on players’ continued interest to remain successful, and Sea of Thieves continuing to draw new players by the millions suggests people continue to be interested.
The new number comes straight from Microsoft. We have to go back a bit further to get actual data on how sales break down versus Game Pass. The game saw 283,000 active users on PC during its launch month according to market research group SuperData, compared with 1.7 million on Xbox One. However, they say “more than half” of those users got the game through a free trial of Game Pass.
Yet Sea of Thieves has still sold well. Rare producer Joe Neate said at E3 “We beat all of our sales numbers that we had planned.” On day one, they met targets they hadn’t expected to reach until the end of June. He says “it was fascinating” because Sea of Thieves was the first Xbox first-party title to hit Game Pass on release day, and “for the most part you kind of never want to be the first. You want to learn from someone else on things like that.”
Neate tells USgamer that he ascribes the game’s success in part to Game Pass, but they owe more to streamers and content creators, whose interested in the game, Neate suggests, “correlated to our playerbase.”
Xbox chief Phil Spencer mentioned the success of Game Pass titles in a different interview, telling Giant Bomb that both Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 – the two new titles to launch day one on the service – both outdid expectations.
NPD reports (via GamesBeat) that it was the second best-selling game of March, behind only Far Cry 5, with numbers including both digital and physical sales. On top of that, it’s now Rare’s fastest-selling game since NPD started tracking began in 1995, beating out everything from GoldenEye and Perfect Dark to modern classics like Viva Piñata and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. (No, I’m not being sarcastic.)
If you’re one of the five million, today’s a big day. The latest Sea of Thieves update brings the new Brigantine ship, and adds a formal alliances feature. And, of course, the Cursed Sails campaign brings all sourts of more dastardly elements to the game.