Gotham Knights – Performing Despite Expectations

If you have been tuned in to the Gaming section of the Internet, you’ve already heard about Gotham Knights. It’s awful. People hate it. It’s like Nickelback did a cover of Arkham Knight. The gameplay doesn’t know what it wants to be, the story is as tired as a cliche on its third 5-Hour Energy halfway through a cross-country road trip, it takes an infinity and a half for the character to actually turn after the button is pressed, and the 30 fps thing is a straight-up joke, a total insult to the soul of modern gaming.

And that’s all well and good. Except… the numbers don’t quite look like that.

Gotham Knights‘ 24-hour player peak on Steam one week after launch was 23,923 people. That puts it solidly in Steam’s Top 100, and above cult games like Torchlight Infinite, Crusader Kings III, and even within spitting distance of Skyrim.

But wait, all those games aren’t fair comparisons. Skyrim might as well be ancient at this point, CK3 has been out for a few years, and Torchlight Infinite is in beta. They’re all way different genres too: CK3’s a strategy game, and Torchlight Infinite is a reaction to the absurdity of the most recent new Diablo title. You’re right to point that out.

So here are some similar games: Marvel’s Avengers, the original Arkham Knight, and, just for fun, Watch Dogs 2. (People hated the first game because of its microtransactions.) The second game, the Arkham Knight, is the Batman game, and what Gotham Knights clearly drew a lot of inspiration from. Watch Dogs 2 was the sequel to a beloved cult classic, and, like Gotham Knights, it was an open world, third person, action adventure game. Of these three Avengers is probably the most fair comparison. It’s a superhero game released within the last few years, and it also became a meme. The others are a bit older, though, as we’ll see, age didn’t effect their numbers much. People still played video games and went crazy over new releases in 2015.

  • Gotham Knights, as mentioned, peaked with 24,138 players this month and averaged at around 18,637.
  • Arkham Knight peaked at 27,405 players on release in June 2015, and averaged 13,506 that month.
  • Marvel’s Avengers peaked at 31,165 players and averaged at 7,463.
  • Watch Dogs 2 peaked at 18,137 people when it released in December 2016, and averaged 5,772 people the rest of that month.
gotham knights player numbers comparison arkham knight watch dogs 2 marvels avengers

Not too shabby for “An Unmitigated Failure.”

Two things jump out from the numbers. The first is that Arkham Knight and Marvel’s Avengers had more players at their peak than Gotham Knights. That makes perfect sense: Gotham Knights has had negative hype surrounding it for months, and came at a time when people have been skeptical of new releases across the board. But, the other games have actually launched with less.

comparing gotham knights and marvels avengers

The second is that, so far, only two of these games managed to retain a significant number of their original players. One of the two is Watch Dogs 2, which launched with less players than Gotham Knights. And, so far, Gotham Knights is retaining its players fairly well. At the very least, it’s not on the same trajectory the Marvel’s Avengers was.

Now, obviously the month isn’t over, and comparing the first two weeks to three days after launch isn’t right. But those are the numbers we have, and they suggest that the game is, so far, retaining more of its smaller player pool. At the very least, it gives us the numbers to watch for. We’ll really know if Gotham Knights is as bad as everyone says in 11 days.

What about overall sales? This is a bit trickier. Sales figures are far from final right now, and we won’t be able to do a useful comparison until the end of the month. What we do know is that right now various versions of Gotham Knights are clocking in as 9th, 10th, and 12th Best Selling PS5 games on Amazon.

Both the original Arkham Knight and Marvel’s Avengers were the best selling game out of all platforms the month they released. Watch Dogs 2 was the 8th best selling game. Another apt comparison, Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy was #7 in its month.

This metric might not be as useful as active Steam players, for the same reason as peak players might not be, but it still seems likely that Gotham Knights will perform well in this category. It is guaranteed a spot in the top ten best selling games of the month, so things could certainly be worse. Certainly, some of the posted reviews we have for the game so far make it sound that way.

Did the numbers surprise you? Have you been paying attention to the reviews? How does your experience with the game compare so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ian Magruder
Ian Magruder

A long-time lover of video games, Ian has played them since he picked up Pokemon Red at three years old. A history grad student, fantasy fan, and daily jogger looking for the next game with great characters, fantastic gameplay, and a well thought-out setting.

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Gray Fox
Gray Fox
1 year ago

Thanks for making this point! I knew I’d love the game and bought it reviews be damned, and shockingly, I love it. It isnt perfect, needs a lot of optimization passes, and perhaps an update to its movement system so there isnt a weird delay when I press a direction on the stick, but it is everything I hoped it would be!

Mila Grish
Mila Grish(@igreeni)
Reply to  Gray Fox
1 year ago

I honestly didn’t expect the character interactions to be so good after everything people have been saying! (Sure, a little cliche, but still. They just feel right.) The graphics in some of the fights are stunning. Having a blast with Boss battles.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mila Grish