Bottom line: The Witcher franchise was never an unpopular one, particularly in the months following the launch of The Witcher 3. However, Netflix’s highly-anticipated adaptation of the fantasy universe, aptly titled “The Witcher,” has led to a massive popularity surge for the franchise — and it’s not hard to see why.
At the end of the day, video games simply don’t appeal to everyone. The Witcher 3 sold like hotcakes, but not every casual consumer wants to sit in front of a PC monitor or TV screen and hack at monsters for upwards of 80 hours, no matter how entertaining the experience might be for many.
A TV show, though? That’s another story. Just about anybody (even non-tech-savvy folks) can get behind a good show or movie. Netflix’s massive userbase, deep marketing pockets, and (of course) the quality of its latest show have helped The Witcher become almost a household name over the past week or so.
Though it’s a very different beast than Game of Thrones, The Witcher is clearly hitting the mainstream and filling the dark fantasy void left behind for many after the former’s eight-season run came to an end earlier this year.
While TV show viewers and gamers do not always have the same tastes, there is clearly more than a little overlap. Just as the Witcher games boosted the sales of franchise creator Andrzej Sapkowski’s original book series, The Witcher 3 has seen renewed success following the success of its show counterpart.
As we wrote a few days ago, The Witcher 3’s Steam player numbers hit an astounding 50,354 this month — the first time it’s managed to surpass the 50K mark since the game’s final expansion, Blood & Wine, released in 2016. Now, those numbers have skyrocketed even further to over 94,000, which is more concurrent players than the game has boasted throughout its entire lifespan.
Of course, there are other factors contributing to the game’s renewed popularity. Due to various ongoing holiday sales, the game can be snagged for as little as $15 (DRM-free or otherwise). Also, not all of those players are necessarily new customers. People tend to return to their favorite games when the appropriate franchise becomes relevant again (due to a sequel, a show like this one, or even a book).
Still, The Witcher 3 has once again proven that it simply cannot be put down for good. Even without the help of steep discounts and TV shows, the game is often one of Steam’s top-selling games, and we doubt that will change any time soon.
At least, not until Cyberpunk 2077 releases in a few months, but we’re pretty sure developer CD Projekt Red won’t mind if its upcoming futuristic open-world RPG steals the spotlight for a while.