Racing games belong to one of the most enduring genres in the gaming world. Starting with Gran Trak 10 in 1974, the evolution of racing games has been immense. One series that stands out in this genre is Need for Speed. Introduced in 1994 with its inaugural title “The Need for Speed”, the franchise has since launched over 20 titles. But how have these games performed in terms of Need for Speed sales? We’re delving into this iconic series, offering a comprehensive look through Need for Speed statistics. Whether you’re curious about its legacy or seeking insights on broader gaming industry revenue, we’ve got all the data right here.
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 sales reveal that the series has sold over 150 million copies.
(Source: VG Sales)
The total number of sales is based on reports and data calculations
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.
Companies seldom disclose their complete sales history, which makes it challenging to present a comprehensive sales record of a video game series. From the available data, however, the Need for Speed sales figures suggest that the franchise has moved a monumental number of copies. Older entries, for which we have data, show robust sales figures. As we move into the modern era of digitalization, it’s reasonable to infer that the recent Need for Speed titles have likely outsold many of their predecessors combined.
NFS Unbound sales reach $14 million within first month on Steam.
(Source: Game Sensor)
Sold close to 200,000 copies during its initial month of release on Steam.
Over 100,000 players added the game to their Steam wishlist a month prior to its release
The latest entry in the renowned franchise, “Need for Speed Unbound,” has set new records for the series. In just its first month on Steam, NFS Unbound sales figures reached an impressive $14 million, with nearly 200,000 copies sold. Notably, in a direct comparison with its predecessor, “Need for Speed Unbound” outsold “Need for Speed Most Wanted” three times over on Steam during its initial month, according to data from GameSensor.
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.
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!
“Need for Speed”. VG Sales, 2023, https://vgsales.fandom.com/wiki/Need_for_Speed
“Need for Speed Unbound: Sales Soar to $14 Million in First Month on Steam”. GameSensor, 2023, https://gamesensor.info/news/need_for_speed_unbound_sales/
“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/