Rare just launched one of its biggest games in more than two decades, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. Sea of Thieves is selling faster through its first month than any Rare game since NPD started tracking sales.
“Sea of Thieves was the second best-selling game of March, and is the eighth best-selling game of 2018 year-to-date,” NPD analyst Mat Piscatella wrote. “Sea of Thieves generated the highest launch month sales for any title produced by developer Rare since tracking by The NPD Group began in 1995.”
That timeframe would include Rare classics like Nintendo 64 shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002, but it has never had a breakout hit for the publisher because you criminals don’t appreciate Viva Pinata. Sea of Thieves, however, is that breakout hit.
Sea of Thieves’ position on this list only includes people who purchased it digitally or at retail. NPD does not include people who downloaded it as part of their Game Pass subscription, which is Microsoft’s Netflix-style service that gives players a library of games for $10 per month.
So in terms of dollar sales, Sea of Thieves is the No. 8 game of 2018 so far. That actually makes it the highest platform exclusive on the list (although PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is No. 7, and that only includes Xbox One sales). That will change for the April NPD report, which will include PlayStation 4 blockbuster God of War.
But Sea of Thieves is showing that Microsoft has an audience that is hungry for marquee tentpole titles, and the publisher just needs to do better at delivering those experiences.