Todd Howard has revealed that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the classic action RPG that he helped direct for Bethesda Game Studios, has now sold over 60 million copies worldwide following its original release in November 2011 for Windows PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 platforms. That figure, if true, would imply that Skyrim is currently the sixth or seventh best-selling game of all time, behind only a handful of other popular titles that include Minecraft (238 million), Tetris (100 million), and Grand Theft Auto V (180 million). The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim had already sold 30 million copies in the five years since its release, according to an interview that Rolling Stone had with Howard dated November 21, 2016.
“We’re sitting here, it’s 12 years after Skyrim, we’re looking at a game that has over 60 million copies (sold), and all these people…are still playing it,” Howard said in his interview with IGN about his latest game, Starfield. “So we have learned that we need to build in from the beginning. A game that has this long term play thought of. Hopefully, people are playing Starfield a long time from now.”
From a Rolling Stone feature:
Rolling Stone: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has sold 30 million copies, which makes it a hit on the scale of Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Mario. They joked about the game on an episode of NCIS. You can’t get more mainstream than that. What did that kind of success mean for you as a creator?
Todd Howard: Each of our games has found a larger and larger audience, which we never take for granted. A lot of us have worked together for 10, 15, 20 years – in many respects, making the same game. Skyrim was kind of this tipping point. It seemed to hit an audience that we had never had before.
It didn’t change us. But it did make us aware that some of the things we do speak to people who don’t traditionally play games, or don’t traditionally play role-playing games. They make it their own experience, and that was what was most important to us. Putting somebody in a world where they can do what they want. I think that’s what’s special about video games as entertainment.