2013 was a big year for major milestones. Sony and Microsoft entered the 8th generation fray, Minecraft shifted its 33-millionth unit, and GTA V racked up more sales in 6 weeks than most franchises do in a lifetime. For the likes of Skyrim however, 2013 simply meant more of the same, with ZeniMax's award-winning RPG benefitting from a collected 'Legendary Edition,' a swathe of Steam-based sales and an all-in-one anthology set for PC.
Now, with the game's momentum finally beginning to ebb in anticipation of The Elder Scrolls Online, developer Bethesda is taking stock of more than 2 years of success, and in doing so - announcing one of 2014's very first milestones.
According to the company's latest press release — unveiled late last week, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has now surpassed 20 million unit sales worldwide. That figure is said to include all copies of the game, including digital downloads, special editions and all platform varieties. What isn't yet known is if the numbers themselves relate to actual purchases, or the often relied upon and somewhat misleading shipping figures (i.e. all copies of the game sent out to retailers).
Quoting the ever-reliable Wikipedia, TIME Magazine asserts that this 20m figure sets up Skyrim as the 20th most successful title in video gaming history, and the only American-developed effort to breach the top 25 (GTA's trio of appearances are regarded as Scottish and/or British)
Even more astounding is the speed with which Bethesda's latest blockbuster has achieved its huge success. With 20 million units sold in just less than 26 months, the title matches - and perhaps even outpaces the time taken by Wii Fit and GTA IV in reaching a similar mark.
To put that success in even greater context, it's worth remembering that the biggest-selling game of all-time, Wii Sports had 'only' achieved 40.5m sales in its first 26 months on release. Plus, unlike Nintendo's then-flagship title, Skyrim had neither the appeal of mainstream sports, nor the backing of a major new console to call upon (Wii Sports was bundled with every new Wii system in all territories but Japan).
How will the release of The Elder Scrolls Online affect Skyrim's status and community? Is another Elder Scrolls sequel preferable to a Fallout 4? Where next for the mammoth franchise? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Bethesda news, right here on Game Rant.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. The title can also be purchased in either regular or 'legendary' (collected) editions.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.