Vikings are big business in 2021 – two Jormungandr-sized hits in three months

You wait years for a Viking longboat full of (possibly misrepresented) raiders and pillagers with impressive beards and physiques, and then two come along at once.

Yes, fans of all things Viking have been in for a treat recently. And the makers of games concerning such followers of Odin have certainly reaped the rewards of their epic journeys.

First up, NPD data recently revealed that Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was the most successful game in the franchise for many a year. According to NPD’s Mat Piscatella.

“Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was the 2nd best-selling game of January. When comparing each title’s first 3 months of sales, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is now the 2nd fastest selling Assassin’s Creed franchise release in U.S. history, trailing only Assassin’s Creed III.”

Yes, Covid no doubt helped sales, but that still means that Valhalla has outperformed every AC title over the last eight years. While I respected Ubisoft’s historical range and research, I did wonder whether Greece and Egypt for instance were settings that conjured up elite killers, say compared to eras as yet untouched by the series, such as ninjas and gunslingers (although arguably those are over-covered by just about everyone else). Still Vikings seems to have a hit a nerve.

And that has been followed up this week by Valheim, a procedurally-generated exploration and survival game for 1-10 players, from Iron Gate and Coffee Stain, and now in early access on PC.

It has blown all expectations and clocked up two million sales in just 13 days! With a peak concurrent player count of 360,000. According to the developer, the total ownership is many times greater than the entire Viking population at its peak, around 500,000.

It’s a good time to be a norseman, just don’t mention those horned helmets.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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