Despite all the difficulty grousing, Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree has sold 5 million copies in less than a week

 Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree preview.
Credit: FromSoftware, Bandai Namco

I don't want to sound hasty, but I'm starting to suspect that people are pretty into this Shadow of the Erdtree business. It's just a hunch I have, based largely on a tweet from the official Elden Ring Twitter account thanking Tarnished around the globe, who in less than a week since the DLC's release have purchased more than 5 million copies. I'm sure Miquella's flattered by all the attention.

Five million copies is, for those counting at home, a huge number of sales. For many games, five million copies sold would be an incredible success to achieve across their entire lifespans on the market. For Shadow of the Erdtree, an expansion, to do so in less than a week is—to put it lightly—pretty wild.

As a point of comparison, in November 2023 CD Projekt Red announced that since its September release, Cyberpunk 2077's celebrated Phantom Liberty DLC had sold 4.3 million copies. In other words, Shadow of the Erdtree has outperformed what Phantom Liberty sold across two months, in less than an eighth of the time.

Weighing in on Phantom Liberty's success in 2023, Obsidian design director Josh Sawyer tweeted that the Cyberpunk DLC's 20% attachment rate—the ratio of players who bought both the base game and the DLC—was admirable. According to Sawyer, Obsidian aims for an attachment rate around 25% for DLCs "released within a few months" of the base game, making Cyberpunk's 20% an impressive number when players' attention had two years to wander elsewhere.

How does Elden Ring's attachment rate measure up? Well, earlier in June, FromSoft tweeted that Elden Ring had shipped over 25 million copies, meaning that after a similar amount of time between base game and DLC releases, Shadow of the Erdtree has already cleared a 20% attachment rate. In its first week. Without Idris Elba. The mind reels.

As we all celebrate FromSoft's latest smash hit, let's take a moment to ponder another important metric: the Scadutree Pronunciation Ratio, or how many players have realized that the "sc" bit is pronounced like "sh." (Because it's a shadowy tree? Are you getting it?) I'm going with somewhere around 15%. Blame Old English.