Sony, with the best intentions, recently released a new social feature on its flagship console called “My PS4 Life”. It is essentially a retrospective of sorts, a time machine of all the statistics players have accumulated throughout their PS4 gaming careers; this includes all the games they’ve played, and more importantly, all the trophies they’ve earned. Crucially, Sony has opted to include the exact number of players that have earned a specific trophy, most likely unaware of the fact that the data for the percentage of players that have obtained a trophy is available for all PS4 games already.
Connecting these two dots, and utilizing some basic math, one cunning user on Reddit has managed to figure out the method for extracting the exact player count for the vast majority of PS4 titles. Through crowdsourced data, this can probably be used to extrapolate the population for almost all of the PS4 games that have been released to date. Notably though, the data’s date range is fairly recent, estimated from November 20 to December 4 of this year. This means that numbers for recently released titles might be inaccurate.
The Redditor, under the username /u/gamestat, has published an eponymous website that has a compiled list of the PS4 games with known player counts. Though the list is still incomplete, it’s not hard to imagine that with help from other users in the community a rather conclusive list can be assembled, barring Sony putting a stop to this whole endeavor.
Though developers and major publishers often release info on estimated units sold for their titles and PC platforms frequently reveal concurrent player statistics, Sony has almost never published exact player counts for their games, at least not willingly (the same method was applied to God of War stats).
At a quick glance, it’s hard to see the harm and foul in allowing these numbers to go public, although there has to be a reason why Sony has historically been reluctant to do so. Perhaps allowing gamers to draw their own conclusions from absolute numbers may be detrimental to developer morale and marketing impact. Whatever the case, the damage has been done, so the only thing left to observe is Sony’s response to this “leak”.