The general perception of Marvel’s Avengers is that it’s something of a dud for publisher Square Enix, who reported that sales of the game were not where they wanted to be. And given the game’s mixed critical reception and less than stellar player counts, it’s reasonable to assume that the game is a disappointment for everyone. But the truth is, Marvel’s Avengers sales are pretty good.
The NPD Group, a market research firm that has been publishing reports about videogames for almost as long as I can remember, has produced a report that reveals Marvel’s Avengers is among the top 10 bestselling games of the last 12 months. That’s a list that ranks Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on the number one position (unsurprising) and FIFA 21 at the number ten position.
Now it’s important to remember that this is just retail data for the United States and doesn’t account for the game’s sales performance around the rest of the world. But it’s still a noteworthy accomplishment, especially when you consider the kinds of games it’s competing with on the top 10. We’re talking three sports franchises that regularly dominate and three massively popular Nintendo franchises.
So while Square Enix might have described the game as a bit of a disappointment, it might be worth taking that assessment with a grain of salt. You don’t get to number seven on the NPD trailing behind NBA 2K21 and ahead of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on anemic sales. Square Enix also has a track record of high sales expectations, so their disappointment would be another publisher’s pride.
Now it’s tempting to write Marvel’s Avengers sales position as being buoyed largely by the wave of sales that surround launch week, but that might not be the case. A separate chart for the month of August for Xbox indicates that a free play weekend and the War for Wakanda update drew in more players. Sure, War for Wakanda was free but sales must account for a leap from 16 to 8.
That being said, without a robust set of numbers across all platforms with timeframes included, we can’t really know with absolute certainty how well the game is doing. But reception to War for Wakanda has been mostly positive, even if it’s situated against criticisms of long standing misgivings about the core of Marvel’s Avengers.
Nabbing a place on the top ten for the year’s worth of video games sales is a pretty major accomplishment, no matter what game it is and Square Enix may simply have unintentionally downplayed their own success. Fans of the game should feel a bit more optimistic, as there remains good reason for Square to continue support for Marvel’s Avengers beyond 2022.