Once all the dust clears and everything settles, June 2023 might go down in gaming history as one of the biggest release months ever. No matter what type of gamer you are, there’s a good chance one of the three big titles releasing this month will appeal to you. For some gamers, it’s all three titles, since they are sequels to beloved franchises that have existed for decades.
It all started with Diablo IV’s early access on June 1 (in North America), followed by Street Fighter 6 on June 2. This week, Final Fantasy XVI arrives after a very successful demo has been released, which has really increased the conversation around the game. Interestingly, Blizzard Entertainment has not announced the actual number of units sold for Diablo IV, but the company did declare it as the fastest-selling Blizzard game of all time. While it does have its fair number of issues, it’s safe to say that Diablo IV is very successful.
Street Fighter 6 sales numbers also haven’t been announced, but Capcom did confirm over one million players shortly after launch. We loved the time we spent with Street Fighter 6, and believe it has a very bright future appealing to newcomers and veterans to the franchise.
It’s unclear just how well Final Fantasy XVI will sell, but the franchise as a whole has sold over 173 million units, according to Square Enix’s 2022 annual report. Based on the demo and early reception on the internet, Final Fantasy XVI might appeal to more than just Final Fantasy fans.
We were interested in how these three games stack up against each other, leading up to the launch of Final Fantasy XVI. For many games, the buzz around them peak on or around their release date, so we may revisit this after June 22 if the metrics significantly change.
Starting with Google Trends, where we compared the search terms for each of the games to see their popularity. We used the term that was most popular (i.e. diablo 4 instead of diablo iv) and took a look at the past 90 days worth of data. Google Trends provides data based on Interest over time, which it explains as: “Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.”
It’s evident that Final Fantasy XVI and Street Fighter 6 aren’t remotely close to Diablo IV in terms of popularity. In fact, it wasn’t until the release of Final Fantasy XVI’s demo that it caught up to Street Fighter 6.
We used Ahrefs to determine keyword search volume for the three games, using variants that people would type to search. As you can see, the search volume for “diablo 4” is significantly higher than “street fighter 6,” which in turn is noticeably higher than “final fantasy 16.” The gap widens when you look at global search volume (GV), which is determined by how many times per month, on average, people search for the target keyword across all countries in Ahrefs’ database.
Evidently, the conversation around Diablo IV, at least on the internet, is overshadowing the other two major releases in June. Personally, I’m surprised at the conversation around Street Fighter 6 — it’s trending a lot better than I would have thought, given how niche the fighting game genre is. But this just shows how Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode and Modern control scheme has attracted an all-new audience. Final Fantasy XVI, however, is facing a challenge due to a series of lackluster releases in recent years, apart from Final Fantasy XIV’s excellent expansions.The reception behind Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XV, to this day, is very mixed. It will be interesting to see the reception of Final Fantasy XVI when the review embargo lifts in a couple of days, as well as its sales performance during the opening weekend.
Gamers should be celebrating this year. We still have Starfield, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, Mortal Kombat 1, Forza Motorsport, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora to look forward to — and those are just the major titles. If you love indie games, the list is even longer.