The recent release of Gears 5 has broken all previous sales records and is now Xbox Game Studios' biggest launch title of this console generation. The latest installment in the long-running Gears of War franchise, Gears 5 was developed by The Coalition, formerly known as Black Tusk Studios, and directly follows the events of Gears of War 4. Although it was already revealed more people on Xbox are playing Gears 5 than Fortnite, very few people expected the game to do this well.
Reviews of Gears 5 have been rather favorable since the game's release, even though issues with Xbox Live kept some players from fully enjoying the title upon launch. The game's story follows Kait Diaz, an Outsider of alien descent, and features many more open-world type levels than have been seen in the series previously, along with the return of Horde mode and a playable Dave Bautista.
According to a statement from Aaron Greenberg, the General Manager for Xbox Games Marketing, Gears 5 saw over three million players in its opening weekend, making the third-person cover shooter the most-played Xbox Game Studios game since the release of Halo 4 in 2012. This is effectively double the amount of players Gears of War 4 attracted in the same amount of time, perhaps due to Gears 5's inclusion as a new Xbox Game Pass title.
Gears 5 isn't just selling well on the Xbox One, either. Greenberg reports that sales of the game on PC have nearly tripled when compared to Gears of War 4, and Gears 5 is not only the biggest-ever launch on Xbox Game Pass for PC, but also Xbox Game Studios' largest debut on Steam to date. It's worth keeping in mind these numbers also include the four-day early access period granted to Gears 5 Ultimate Edition and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate purchasers, and that no such subscription service was in place when Gears of War 4 was released.
While truly an impressive sales accomplishment, Gears 5 could have sold much less and still ended up as one of Xbox Game Studios' fastest moving titles. Although owners of multiple game development companies, the past few years have seen only games like Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves make any sort of splashes in the larger gaming landscape. The inclusion of Gears 5 in subscription services like the Xbox Game Pass means some players who may not have spent $60 on a one-time purchase will be able to download and play the game anyway, and therefore comparing player counts between past and current titles become slightly more complicated than the numbers make it appear. The fact that LOTS of people are playing Gears 5 right now, however, remains certain.