A press release by ZeniMax Media has revealed that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had a successful launch, selling more than half of the 7 million copies that were shipped. We’ve contacted Bethesda for exact numbers but have not yet received a response.
More than 50% of launch units were sold in the first 48 hours and Bethesda Softworks has been receiving large reorders from major retailers in North America, and across Europe and Australia. Online activity has been notable, with Steam reporting that in the first 24 hours of its release, Skyrim set a record with over 280,000 concurrent players, far outdistancing all other titles.
The number of concurrent players remains high, boasting a peak of 211,236 today. ZeniMax expects sales of over $450 million from launch units alone. Currently the game has a score of 95 on Metacritic, with three out of the eleven chosen reviews being perfect 100s.
Analysis: Given the amount of buildup for this title, there’s no surprise that it has done so well at launch. In fact, nearly half of my online Steam friends are currently playing it. The Elder Scrolls franchise has gained a massive fanbase since the launch of Oblivion, so the large sales figures are expected.
That said, the game release isn’t all sunshine, flowers, and rainbows. There have been many users that have encountered bugs, including critical ones such as saving errors and game crashes. One bug that I observed while watching my friend play the game caused the keyboard input (with the exception of the developer’s console) to be disabled when he attempted to enchant some items, completely destroying any way to interact with or close the game properly. Bethesda has promised a patch to address many of the concerns but has said they may not happen for a few days.
In addition to this, a number of people including Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera have noted that the game UI is horrible and wastes a ton of space. A friend of mine noted that it looks like it was designed for ease of use on a console, and I’d say that I agree with that. Thankfully, the upcoming mod tools should allow tech-savvy users to fix that.