Exploring Why are The Last of Us Part II Numbers are Lower than Expected

I saw this Twitter thread after The Last of Us Part II State of Play thanks to my buddy Logan (mute filters are strong).

I keep a very keen eye on social metrics. Something I’ve noticed is The Last of Us Part II is not ramping on social media the way that other record holders like God of War and Spidey PS4 did. Today’s TLOU State of Play peaked at 98k concurrent. Ghost of Tsushima peaked at over 180k.

Now the question? What does this mean?

Do I think TLOU Part II will underperform? Not at all. But it is interesting how its social media numbers just are not particularly impressive. Avoiding spoilers? People feel they’ve already seen enough? Geat [sic] reviews could change everything.

I genuinely have no idea how to read this. One thing I know, The Last of Us Part II will sell damn well. Also social metrics by no means, are 100% reflective of sales potential. It’s just odd how the game isnt ramping on places like YouTube how one would expect.

One thing I’d caution. No one should take what I’m saying as evidence TLOU Part II won’t sell well or break records I’m not saying that at all. But not huge numbers for TLOU content has been a trend for weeks now.

Benji-Sales on Twitter

There are so many facets to these numbers. I want to explore them and expand upon them more than 280 characters can. Let’s start with establishing some context surrounding The Last of Us Part II.

At the end of April 2020, The Last of Us Part II had a major leak. Story beats and cutscenes were passed around the Internet like kids passing a flask around a schoolyard. Removed from the context of the game and its story as a whole, a vocal minority began a spoiler-fueled tirade that sounded more like a temper tantrum. This has spurred a high spoiler alert for people that want to play the game unspoiled.

TLOU State of Play peaked at 98k concurrent. Ghost of Tsushima peaked at over 180k.

Comparing Ghost of Tsushima to The Last of Us Part II is not an apt comparison, outside of the two having back-to-back State of Play presentations. Before its State of Play, no one really knew how Ghost of Tsushima played. Sure, there was the gameplay reveal at E3 2018, but that was HUD-free and had no explanation. It was solely a taste. As a new IP, Ghost of Tsushima has a natural aura of curiosity surrounding it.

The Last of Us, as a series, is a known quantity. With 20+ million copies sold for the first game alone, people generally know what to expect. With The Last of Us Part II specifically, the game has had more detailed gameplay reveals that showcase the series’ refinement. We are in the calm before the storm of release.

Avoiding spoilers? People feel they’ve already seen enough? Geat [sic] reviews could change everything.

Super positive reviews could absolutely stir the pot of chatter. Those drop in two weeks. Sprinkle great reviews in with the negative spoiler chatter and you’ll probably have spicy discord online. None of that really sounds fruitful.

It’s just odd how the game isnt ramping on places like YouTube how one would expect.

I think the fact engagement not ramping up on places “like YouTube” could be due to those places generally being mine fields of spoilers. The Last of Us Part II was spoiled in a live chat for the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla art reveal for Pete’s sake.

Something I’ve noticed is The Last of Us Part II is not ramping on social media the way that other record holders like God of War and Spidey PS4 did.

We have to consider the coverage roll out differences between these games. COVID-19 did not force God of War or Marvel’s Spider-Man to alter their press coverage. These games went on world press tours and had numerous outlets talking about and previewing the games. Sony has had to handle the conversation for The Last of Us Part II directly. Instead of multiple, hands-on perspectives for the same portion of gameplay, there are multiple discussions about the same hands-off footage. We all have the same experience to discuss. There is no variety in the coverage. That variety will come with the reviews on June 12.

One thing I know, The Last of Us Part II will sell damn well.

Yes it will. Uncharted 4 sold 2.7 million copies in its first weekGod of War sold 3.1 million in its first three days. Marvel’s Spider-Man sold 3.3 million copies in its first three days.