Mount & Blade series, possibly the most successful intellectual property of Turkish gaming industry, and Bannerlord the prequel to Warband has been published a week ago as an Early Access game on many global digital gaming platforms, including Steam.
Although still in its Early Access stage, the game seems to have overshadowed many AAA game releases with its current sales numbers, rich features, and positive user reaction. Claiming the top spot both on Twitch and Steam on day one, the game also made waves by being available at GeForce Now service at the launch.
Launch Campaign is praised as “Steam’s biggest launch of 2020” by PC Gamer, and although it has dropped a few ranks since day one, the game is still among various top 10 lists, and it seems that it’s going to keep its popularity among gamers, media and publishers for a long while.
TaleWorlds is yet to make an official statement about the game’s sales performance. The long-anticipated Bannerlord immediately drew all the attraction to itself from the moment it was released. Now, let’s look at Bannerlord’s performance during the first week using the publicly available information; and Steam’s concurrent user data is a good place to start.
Leader based on CCU in its Genre
Being one of the most-anticipated games of the year, it is quite normal for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord to claim the top spots on its release day based on sales, users and views. However, it is a striking success that it can retain its rank among many lists even a week after the launch.
After its first week on Early Access, Bannerlord still holds the 3rd place on Steam’s concurrent player list. The other two games above are both free 2 play titles, which places Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord #1 among paid games. When we take a closer look at the top 5 games on the list, the majority are online multiplayer games. GTA V, on the other hand, has a solid place in the list thanks to the loyal player base it has built over the years. Bannerlord manages to maintain its high ranking in a list full of online games with established player bases.
That is an important indicator because it shows the game’s success both in terms of sales and retention, which is a crucial benchmark while estimating Bannerlord’s long-term success. As a comparison, Doom: Eternal’s highest CCU on its release day was 104,892 whereas Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord had 178,562 concurrent players. Naturally, it is not possible to make a head to head comparison as Doom: Eternal is played on multiple platforms. Still, this shows us that both games have somewhat similar sales success.
Moreover, it seems that Bannerlord has beaten many high-ranking popular game series such as Total War, Civilization, PayDay, No Mans Sky, Ark, Path of Exile, and XCOM based on “all times highest CCU”. In light of this data, we see that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is ranked #7 right after The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
On top of these, the game has managed to set a record that’s quite hard to break among Early Access Steam games in terms of CCU.
Number 1 on the Top-Selling List
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord became the top-selling game on Steam within half an hour upon its release. Snatching the #1 spot for Steam’s top-selling game in 2020 on its first day, Bannerlord still maintains its ranking at the end of the first week. Following the first day craze of fans who have been waiting for this day for a long time, it has since managed to attract more gamers down the line and is still downloaded by new players every day. It is not far-fetched to assume Bannerlord will secure its spot among the top-selling games for years to come.
Based on current Steam data, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord Early Access version has 52,594 comments, of which 86% are positive.
This rate might not seem very high when past performance of the series is considered, however it should be noted that this is an Early Access game and most of the user criticism stems from technical issues such as crashes.
TaleWorlds has reacted fast, been working hard and releasing patches every day since the launch, in line with the user feedback. The user reviews shifting towards more positive after the sixth patch, and we can expect positive feedback to be higher than 90% with the full release.
According to Twitch data Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was the most-watched game on Twitch on its release date and remained in top ten throughout the first week. According to the data in the first week following the release, Bannerlord has been watched for 10.17 million hours in total, making it the 8th top watched game. It is a great success, considering that the other contenders are super popular free 2 play giants such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and Dota, which have regular esports events. The only paid games to beat Bannerlord were GTA V and Animal Crossing.
The highest concurrent viewer number on the release day was 234,397. The lowest on the other hand, since the launch was 18,576. So, there is always someone playing and watching Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord has been played by many popular streamers all around the world. In its home country, Turkey, the game was played by popular streamers such as Elraen, Jahrein, PintiPanda, and Enis. PintiPanda has already uploaded the 21st episode of his Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord series.
However, the most frequent Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord streamers were foreign Twitch stars such as MOONMOON, LIRIK, CohhCarnage, and HandIOfIBlood. MOONMOON was the most frequent streamer with 31 hours and 525,842 hours of total views within the first week. It also seems that these streams have contributed to the subscriber counts of the streamers.
TaleWorlds Entertainment has organized a special launch stream for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord with various streamers taking turns playing the game. The six-hour stream took place simultaneously on Steam, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook while Resonant, MarkTheBard, ESO, Reneesky, and Zerkovich took the role of the caster. It seems that TaleWorlds have preferred people that have been creating content for the series and were well recognized by the M&B community over top streamers. So it can be said that the official stream aimed at promoting names from the community.
That being the case, official stream has reached wide audiences especially on Steam and gathered 300,000+ concurrent viewers. When all platforms and streams are included the total concurrent viewer number reached above 500,000.
Though the launch activities focused mainly on live streams, the game has garnered considerable popularity on YouTube as well. The release trailer published on YouTube reached 130,000 views, while the streams have been viewed by 200,000 people. More than 70 videos with 100,000+ views were released during the Earl Access launch week.
Bannerlord’s release was announced with a takeover on the Steam interface on its release day and is still among the recommended and featured games on the main page.
What the Future Holds?
TaleWorlds Entertainment seems to have achieved the biggest game launch among PC and console games created in Turkey. Having managed to reach 100,000 players within 100 minutes, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord continues to enjoy the interest and praise from global gaming media. Considering this is only the Early Access version, the picture we have in hand gives us a clear indication of the reaction we might expect once the final version is released.
Planned to remain in early access for a year, the game has currently English, Turkish and Chinese localization. The full release of the game will feature localization in 12 languages in total. TaleWorlds is yet to share their plans on future updates.
Disclaimer: This piece is based solely on publicly available data, and no information or other contribution is received from TaleWorlds Entertainment. The article have been shared with the studio’ and its Public Relations and Marketing agency SetiPR for the purpose of fact checking.