news\ Nov 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Uncharted vs Gears of War: Lifetime Sales Comparison


Today, the numbers of Uncharted 3's opening day sales were released, revealing a staggering 3.8 million copies of the game were sold. Impressive indeed, but numbers like that don't just happen over night -- well technically they do, but Naughty Dog has had to work hard throughout the years to achieve this type of success.  Likewise, another console exclusive game, Gears of War, has attained similar success, though not 3.8 million copies in the opening day. 

Given the popularity, success, and hatred fans of each game have for the opposite title, I felt the need to compare the sales between the two - but looking at it from the very beginning.  When these two titles were first announced, they were compared in and out by fans, critics, and everyone who wanted their opinion to be heard.  The platform war was at an all-time high with PS3 and Xbox 360 fanboys on opposite ends of the gaming spectrum.  PS3 fans claimed Uncharted was better, and 360 owners claimed Gears was better.  Of course, in this industry only one thing matters, and that's sales numbers.  Well now the sales numbers have begun trickling in, and we are seeing the official results.

Taking as many stats and figures I could find, I have compared the sales of what many consider to be the current largest console-exclusive franchises, Gears of War and Uncharted.  Of course, the goal of this isn't for one game or platform to have bragging rights over the other, but rather focus on the impressive sales of these two great franchises and celebrate their accomplishments and long-standing success.  It's not easy to keep a franchise fresh and sales up (or maybe it is if you look at Call of Duty).

Gears of War

You could tell from pre-orders that this game was going to be something in the long run.  According to Microsoft VP, Gears of War pre-order sales were second only to Halo 2 in the studio's history, at the time.  Released in November 2006, over three million units were sold by January 19, 2007, just 10 weeks after its debut.  As of November 7, 2008, Gears of Warsold 5.88 million copies.  These days it doesn't seem like much, but you have to remember the Xbox 360 market was much smaller than it is today.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Released a year after Gears of War, Uncharted would become Sony's blockbuster exclusive.  Released in November 2007, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was reported as hitting 1 million sales on January 25th, 2008.  Sony accounced a year later at E3 2009 that Uncharted: Drake's Fortune had sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.  It's quite laughable when you think that it took about two years for sales to reach what Uncharted 3 sold in one single day.  To this date, VG Chartz estimates Uncharted: Drake's Fortune has sold 3.77 million units, though I expect that number to be at least a little larger.


Gears of War 2

As the sequel to a very popular game, Gears of War 2 achieved significant success, selling over two million units in its opening weekend, as reported by IGN.  Within the first month, it was estimated that the game sold over three million copies worldwide, with sales pushing past four million within the first two months.  Cliff Bleszinski told Industry Gamers on June 16, 2011 that Gears 1 & 2 have combined to sell over 12 million units.  Not too shabby of a number, but when looking at the sales of Gears 3, it could be put to shame.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Released in October 2009, NDP Group's sales data showed Uncharted 2 was the top-selling game in the U.S. for the month of October that year with 537,000 units sold.  About a month later Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sony Computer Entertainment Phil Rosenberg reported Uncharted 2 had crossed the one million sold mark on November 12, 2009, becoming the third first-party title on PS3 to sell over 1 million units in North America.  On February 2010, it was reported that Among Thieves sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.  At the time it was the fastest selling first-party title on any PlayStation platform, but today it took only Uncharted 3 one day to accomplish those sales.


Gears of War 3

As predicted, the Gears of War 3 release was bigger and better than the previous two titles.  Everything about the third game was grander - including sales.  Reports indicated that Gears of War 3 sold more than 3 million copies during its first week - higher than both of the previous two Gears titles.  VG Chartz estimates since it's release, Gears of War 3 has sold 4.31 million units worldwide.  Though the numbers are nothing to scoff at, we are left wondering if it will outsell Gears 2, as many first predicted.  Given the upcoming holiday season I think it's safe to assume it'll surpass 5 million and over time sales will trickle towards the 6 million mark.  Not bad for a single console title.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Despite being released only a week ago, Uncharted 3's opening day sales have shocked many, I'm sure.  While people predicted the game to be a blockbuster, I don't think anybody saw 3.8 million opening day sales coming.  Still, that's what Sony reported and it just goes to show that the Uncharted series is as popular than ever.  With over 3 million units sold, I think it's save to say this game will reach at least 5-6 million units sold.


Gears of War Franchise

The same day Gears of War 3 released it's first week sales, it was revealed that the very successful franchise had earned $1 billion in lifetime combined sales.  While those numbers are definitely impressive, it's even more impressive when you take into account that it's just a single platform title.  Those were the last figures released on September 29th, so it's safe to assume the Gears franchise has sold significantly more copies since then.

Uncharted Franchise

According to a press release by SCEJ in October, Naughty Dog's Uncharted series had a total of 8 million sales.  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was reported to have 4.9 million of those sales.  While the lifetime sales aren't quite as high as Gears, they are still very impressive.  Now with Uncharted 3 reportedly selling 3.8 million on opening day, those numbers are going to skyrocket and should land somewhere closer to Gears.


I think the thing to take away from this is not that one franchise is better than the other, but the success each of these franchises could have if they weren't exclusive to one console.  Ask the majority of Xbox 360 players what game they'd want to play from the PS3 and they'd probably say Uncharted. Likewise, ask a PS3 fan what Xbox  game they'd like to have, probably Gears of War.  Regardless on which side of the platform war you are on, I think we can all agree that these are two very well done franchises that deserve all of the success they've earned.  And there is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see these developers pump out even more impressive sequels in the coming years.

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