Gaming has seen its fair share of brutal games, with some being set as RPGs where you slay eldritch horrors, like Bloodborne, and others as shooters where you demolish legions of demons as the badass protagonist, as well can see in DOOM. Another franchise that falls into this category is Wolfenstein, a series during the Second World War following William “B.J. Blazkowicz, an elite American soldier that fights the Nazis as they try to bolster their forces by esoteric, occult means. This series started in 1981 with Castle Wolfenstein, a top-down stealth game, but it was later taken over by id Software to create one of the original FPS games, and acted as an excellent addition to the genre to make it even more popular, since then, the series has established itself as one of the cornerstones of the industry and deserves every bit of praise it gets. That is why we’re going to be listing some Wolfenstein statistics for you to check out and see where the series started, where it is now, and where it’s going in the future. If you’re a gaming history buff, be sure to read up on the growth of the video game industry!
Wolfenstein key stats
In this section, you can find everything you want about the general statistics surrounding the Wolfenstein franchise, from sales and revenue to player stats and news about the series.
The Wolfenstein series has sold over 5.24 million copies.
(Source: VG Chartz, VG Insights)
- Castle Wolfenstein sold 20,000+ copies.
- Wolfenstein 3D sold 250,000 copies.
- Return to Castle Wolfenstein sold 2 million copies.
- Wolfenstein: The New Order sold 2.5 million copies on Steam.
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood sold 1.5 million copies on Steam.
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus sold 1.5 million copies on Steam.
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood sold 379,000 copies on Steam.
From this baseline of statistics regarding the sales of the Wolfenstein series, we can see that the series has performed reasonably well despite concrete sales numbers for each game being few and far between. However, from the information that is available (thanks, VGChartz!) there is no reason to think that the Wolfenstein series is performing poorly in any respect.
The four main Wolfenstein games have made $133.3 million on Steam.
(Source: VG Insights)
- Wolfenstein: The New Order has made $58.1 million.
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has made $17.4 million.
- Wolfenstein: The New Colossus has made $50.2 million.
- Wolfenstein: Youngblood has made $7.6 million.
While the Wolfenstein series is not a globally-massive franchise like Call of Duty or Battlefield, it has still gathered a considerable amount of revenue across all of its games, with the latest release — Youngblood, being an outlier that did not break $10 million in revenue. This could be because the game wasn’t that well-received, as it had mixed reviews from critics and the community.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus sold 319,000 units at retail in its first week.
(Source: VG Chartz)
- 206,705 of the units sold were for the PlayStation 4.
- 82,745 units were sold for the Xbox One.
- 29,851 units were sold for PC.
- 151,871 units were sold in Europe.
- 113,517 units were sold in the United States.
- 50,260 units were sold in Japan.
Despite 320k sales seeming like an impressive feat, it wasn’t as good of a launch as you would think. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus sold fairly well on consoles in its first week but PC performance was poor. We’ll expand upon this in the next line of stats.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus sold poorly on PC.
- The game had excellent reviews but a Valve leak showed that the game did not perform well on PC.
- It went on sale just one month after launch.
- It was unable to breach the top 10 best-selling games for the month of its release.
- The game recorded 549,457 players on Steam in July 2018.
- For comparison, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood had 1.8 million recorded players.
The reason we know any of this is that there was a data leak at Valve and some information about some of the most popular games at the time was revealed as well. In the end, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus ended up only having about half a million players on Steam, which is abysmal compared to how well its predecessor performed.
Wolfenstein: The New Order topped the charts during its first week.
- It was the second-largest video game debut of 2014, second only to Titanfall.
- The game claimed a quarter of all entertainment software sales for that week.
- 38% of Wolfenstein’s sales were for the PlayStation 4.
- 31% of Wolfenstein’s sales were for the Xbox One.
- During its first week, Wolfenstein: The New Order beat Minecraft, two FIFA releases, Titanfall, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
This was a very good step in the right direction for the Wolfenstein series as it was the first game aside from Wolfenstein 3D and Return to Castle Wolfenstein to have that appealing style of gameplay, similar to what id Software did with the Doom Franchise. In essence, Doom was all about carnage and killing demons, and Wolfenstein was the same, only with Nazis. The game’s excellent sales proved that it used the lull in shooter games at that time to establish a foothold that would not loosen for years to come.
The Raven Software Wolfenstein remake barely sold 100,000 copies.
- The game had positive reviews across the board.
- Wolfenstein sold 59,000 copies on the Xbox 360.
- It sold 30,000 copies on PlayStation 3.
- It sold 17,000 copies on PC.
- In total, the game sold 106,000 copies across all platforms.
The 2009 edition of Wolfenstein developed by Raven Software was the first step that the series took to be integrated into modern shooters, comparable in gameplay to the first Call of Duty game. Although it did not perform as well as expected, it gave the gaming community something to look forward to because of the narrative of the games and the breath of fresh air compared to the popular shooters at the time. Since then, we have had some fantastic Wolfenstein games that are immersive and action-packed.
The German version of Wolfenstein: Youngblood kept Nazi imagery.
(Source: Game Developers, Games Industry, Ars Technica)
- The Wolfenstein games were banned in Germany because of the Nazi imagery portrayed in them.
- The problem started in 2009 when Blizzard issued a recall on Wolfenstein because a small swastika appeared in it.
- Because of this, German versions of the game had to be released that did not include such imagery, and political figures related to the themes of the games were changed.
- Alterations to USK rules dictated that such imagery could be displayed as long as it met the social adequacy clause.
- This means that the only difference between the English version of Youngblood and the German one is the language.
The controversy surrounding the Wolfenstein series and Germany is well-known, but not surprising given the reputation that was left with Germany following the Second World War. Over the years, the German government has tried to suppress the presentation of Nazi and anti-semitic imagery, but that has changed in recent years. Now, you can present such imagery but it has to fit within certain circumstances. At the end of the line, you’re killing extremely evil people in the games, so it’s not a bad idea to present Nazi symbolism in a degrading way.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was the most popular Wolfenstein game on Twitch.
- The game had 3.1 million hours watched on Twitch in 2017.
- It had 53,335 broadcasting hours.
- It had 353 viewers on average.
- It had a viewer ratio of 58.1.
- Its peak viewer count was 86,606.
- 9,551 broadcasters were streaming the game.
And finally, we would like to turn your attention to the Twitch status of the Wolfenstein series, or rather, the lack of one. The most popular Wolfenstein game in Twitch history was Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus which gathered over 3 million hours watched, while other games in the series only have a few hundred thousand. This indicated that The New Colossus was the most popular game in the series, but it still pales in comparison to other AAA games that rack up 20+ million hours watched annually.
To sum up
Alright, that’s all we have to say about Blazkowicz’s journey through Nazi viscera over the years! As you can see, the Wolfenstein series has been around for over 40 years and has spawned so many iconic games, with Wolfenstein 3D often being referred to as the “grandfather of first-person shooters” that’s saying a lot considering how many FPS games are out there. How many do you suppose took inspiration from Wolfenstein and all of its games? No one knows, but one thing is for sure — if you’re looking for a gory, intense, action-packed FPS series to dive into, look no further than the Wolfenstein series. Okay, maybe Doom too. And Quake. And Unreal Tournament. But mostly Wolfenstein. We hope that you have enjoyed everything we’ve had to present here and that all of your questions have been answered.
- “Wolfenstein (Series)”. VG Chartz, 2018, https://www.vgchartz.com/game/228690/wolfenstein/
- “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Steam Stats”. VG Insights, 2023, https://vginsights.com/game/612880
- “Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Steam Stats”. VG Insights, 2023, https://vginsights.com/game/1056960
- “Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Steam Stats”. VG Insights, 2023, https://vginsights.com/game/350080
- “Wolfenstein: The New Order – Steam Stats”. VG Insights, 2023, https://vginsights.com/game/201810
- “Wolfenstein combined sales barely break 100k”. NeoSeeker, 2009, https://www.neoseeker.com/news/11759-wolfenstein-combined-sales-barely-break-100k/
- “Germany relaxes stance on Nazi symbols in video games”. GamesIndustry, 2018, https://www.gamesindustry.biz/germany-relaxes-stance-on-nazi-symbols-in-video-games
- “Swastikas lead to Wolfenstein recall in Germany”. Ars Technica, 2009, https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2009/09/wolfenstein-recalled-from-german-stores/
- “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Sells an Estimated 319,000 Units First Week at Retail – Sales”. VG Chartz, 2017, https://www.vgchartz.com/article/270793/wolfenstein-ii-the-new-colossus-sells-an-estimated-319000-units-first-week-at-retail/
- “UK Video Game Chart: Wolfenstein is No.1 with big first week sales”. VideoGamer, 2014, https://www.videogamer.com/news/uk-video-game-chart-wolfenstein-is-no-1-with-big-first-week-sales/
- “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus”. SullyGnome, 2017, https://sullygnome.com/game/Wolfenstein_II_The_New_Colossus/2017
- “Valve’s Leaked Steam Data Suggests Wolfenstein II Really Did Sell Poorly on PC”. Twinfinite, 2018, https://twinfinite.net/2018/07/damn-steam-leak-suggests-wolfenstein-ii-really-did-sell-poorly/