Electronic Arts

Need for Speed statistics

The racing series continues revving up the numbers.

First Released
December 2, 1994
Criterion Games
Electronic Arts

Racing games fall into one of the oldest gaming genres and have remained popular for decades. The first racing game to ever come out was Gran Trak 10 in 1974, and since then there have been hundreds of racing games. The series we will be talking about now is perhaps the most popular racing game series in history — Need for Speed. The first Need for Speed game was released in 1994, just titled The Need for Speed, and since then, there has been over 20 Need for Speed games. But how have those games fared over the years? We’re here to answer that questions by providing you with a bunch of Need for Speed statistics and presenting the series in as realistic of a light as possible. If you want to know more about similar topics, like the gaming industry revenue, we got you covered!

Need for Speed key stats

The main thing we have to take a look at is how many copies the Need for Speed series has sold since the first game came out. That way, we can clearly see the demand for the series and the trends that make some titles more popular than others. After that, we’re going to dive deeper into topics like player count, total revenue generated by the series, as well as anything else we can think of. The Need for Speed series has been around for a long time, so you can be sure that there is a lot of stuff to cover.

The Need for Speed series has sold over 150 million copies.

(Source: VG Sales)

  • The total number of sales is based on reports and data calculations, but exact sales numbers for all the games cannot be found.
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted sold 16 million copies.
  • Need for Speed: Underground sold 15 million copies.
  • Need for Speed: Underground 2 sold 7 million copies.
  • Need for Speed: Undercover sold 5.2 million copies.
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit sold 5+ million copies.

The companies that share the entirety of their sales history are few and far between, so we can never expect to be able to show the complete sales of a video game series, but from what we have, we can see that Need for Speed has sold a massive number of copies, and the games that have available information tell us that some of the older entries in the series have sold plenty of copies. Through the modern era of digitalization, it is fair to assume that the newer Need for Speed games have sold even more copies than many of the older games combined.

Need for Speed Unbound is the first game in the series to feature anime elements.

(Source: Video Games Chronicle)

  • The game features a photorealistic style coupled with anime accentuation elements and anime-styled drivers.
  • This is a big step in a new direction for the series.
  • The developers said that they would be returning multiplayer to Unbound through Autolog, which will allow you to customize all of the elements of your car.
  • The game is set in a fictional version of Chicago.

This was something that the community wasn’t expecting because the Need for Speed series is usually fairly clear-cut in its style, so adding anime elements was out of the blue. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the game has turned into Genshin Impact all of a sudden. This means that the drivers in the game are stylized as anime characters and that some of the actions you make in the game are accentuated with animated graphics that appear around your car. It’s kinda like when you add flames on a car to make it faster or RGB tape to your PC to make it perform better. It doesn’t work that way, just so you know.

The Need for Speed movie grossed $194 million at the worldwide box office.

(Source: The Numbers)

  • Its domestic box office grossed $43.5 million.
  • Its international box office grossed $150 million.
  • It made $17.8 million during its opening weekend.

Okay, so there is a Need for Speed movie, but it definitely did not perform at the level the producers were expecting, so it can be described as… okay. It had some solid revenue in both the domestic and international box offices, so you can’t really say that the movie was a flop. The next line of stats will give you some perspective though.

The Need for Speed movie was beaten by Peabody & Sherman.

(Source: Insider)

  • Need for Speed (2014) came third in its weekend release behind Peabody & Sherman, an animated film, and 300: Rise of an Empire.
  • This does not mean that the Need for Speed movie was a flop as it still had a solid performance over time.
  • However, the movie did not perform well with critics, having gotten scathing reviews on various platforms, such as Rotten Tomatoes (22%) and Metacritic (39%).

Now, here we can see what kinds of movies beat out Need for Speed during its premiere period. First, there is the animated movie Peabody & Sherman which hit the top of the charts in that period, and you also have 300: Rise of an Empire, which did not perform that well in the long run, getting only mediocre reviews. Overall, we can see that Need for Speed did not have much competition, yet it still did not perform as well as it could have.

EA faced intense backlash for adding ads to one of its games.

(Source: The Motley Fool)

  • In 2014, EA decided to add ads for the Need for Speed movie in Battlefield 4.
  • The community was outraged by this, leading to massive backlash on Twitter and other social media.
  • The majority of the backlash was directed toward EA as a company, stating that was the reason why it is so hated.
  • The fact that Battlefield 4 was riddled with issues before the ads were pushed did not help the situation.

Here we come to one of the reasons EA is one of, if not the most hated gaming company in the world. EA can be described as a company that has the potential to produce world-class games but is captured in some common pitfalls of corporate greed and producing half-finished games that the community has a hard time enjoying. When Battlefield 4 first came out, it had many problems that made it borderline unplayable, and on top of that, EA had the nerve to include ads in the game for the new Need for Speed movie, which did not sit well with anyone.

Max Verstappen signed a sponsorship deal with EA Sports.

(Sources: Sports Gamers Online, Business Wire)

  • Verstappen will work with EA to create content surrounding their sports games.
  • In return, EA Sports will sponsor Verstappen during the 2023 F1 season.
  • Also, PUMA and Need for Speed Unbound are doing a crossover, releasing the PUMA X Need for Speed shoe collection.
  • Players will also be able to enjoy 13 PUMA items in-game.

The F1 Championship is a massive event, and many companies will try to get their name on the drivers and get those extra views because things like that are important. Marketing and ads are a driving (hehe, get it?) factor of progression for modern companies, and EA Sports decided to partner with two-time F1 Championship winner Max Verstappen and collaborate with him to get more people watching the championship and more people into EA Sports. It’s an interesting deal and we can’t wait to see how that pans out.

The first Need for Speed Unbound DLC should be announced in March 2023.

(Source: Racing Games)

  • When Need for Speed Unbound launched, it did not come with any immediate announcements for a DLC or a season pass.
  • A DLC/update was announced and it should feature new experiences, and content, as well as balancing updates.
  • Apparently, EA is paying attention to community feedback and suggestions, and trying to make the necessary changes to the game according to that.
  • It is possible that the multiplayer mode might be improved as well.

Need for Speed Unbound seems to be on a good track to fame as the newest Need for Speed game as the developers have announced that extra content will be coming to the game in Q3 2023, which will add balancing updates as well as extra content.

Despite its overdone setting, Need for Speed: Heat still performed well.

(Sources: VentureBeat, PlayTracker)

  • Need for Speed’s premise is escaping a rogue police force and climbing through the dark world of underground street racing.
  • This theme has been done before and made Heat seem uninspired.
  • Despite this, the game still had relatively high ratings on various platforms.
  • It has an estimated 3.7 million players and 2.1 million active players.

Let’s face it, most racing games and movies have a very similar premise which is a conflict with the law and a rise to glory, so you don’t really get excited to hear that the 7th game in a row has the same setting as the previous 6 you’ve played. Maybe the location changes and there are new graphics, but what fans want are innovation and variety. Despite this, Need for Speed: Heat Still performed relatively well on the market and there isn’t much to be said about the game aside from that.

To sum up

Alright, that is all we have to say about the Need for Speed series! As you can see, there is a lot of content to absorb, and as time goes on, there is going to be even more content added to the Need for Speed series, and we’ll be looking to update this with anything else that comes along. Need for Speed is the cornerstone of modern racing games and is here to stay. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the content we had to share and that you’ll come back here to check out anything new we have in store!


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  • “The new Need for Speed’s aesthetic will reportedly have ‘anime elements’”. VGC, 2022, https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/the-new-need-for-speeds-aesthetic-will-reportedly-have-anime-elements/
  • “Need for Speed (2014)”. The Numbers, 2015, https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Need-for-Speed#tab=summary
  • “A Cartoon Beat Out ‘Need For Speed’ At Theaters This Weekend”. Business Insider, 2014, https://www.businessinsider.com/need-for-speed-opening-weekend-2014-3
  • “Did EA Cross the Line with In-Game Ads for ‘Need for Speed’ in ‘Battlefield 4’?”. The Motley Fool, 2014, https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/15/did-ea-cross-the-line-with-in-game-ads-for-need-fo/
  • “SGO Weekly: F1 Champion Signs with EA Sports, Need For Speed Unbound, & More! (1/27/23 – 2/2/23)”. SGO, 2023, https://www.sportsgamersonline.com/sports/sgo-weekly-f1-champion-signs-with-ea-sports-need-for-speed-unbound-more-1-27-23-2-2-23/
  • “Max Verstappen Signs With EA Sports™”. Business Wire, 2023, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230203005034/en/Max-Verstappen-Signs-With-EA-Sports%E2%84%A2
  • “EA gives update on Need for Speed Unbound DLC plans”. Racing Games, 2023, https://racinggames.gg/need-for-speed/ea-gives-update-on-need-for-speed-unbound-dlc-plans/
  • “Need for Speed™ Heat”. PlayTracker, 2023, https://playtracker.net/insight/game/59963
  • “Need For Speed: Heat seems painfully uncool”. VentureBeat, 2019, https://venturebeat.com/pc-gaming/need-for-speed-heat-seems-uncool/
Staff Writer