The best-selling video game last month was a free-to-play fighter from a company in flux. Yes, MultiVersus, also known as Super Warner Bros. Melee, topped the sales charts for July 2022, according to data-tracking firm NPD.
Released last month following an open beta period, MultiVersus is a platform fighter in the same vein as Nintendo’s perennially popular Super Smash Bros. series. Its gimmick is a roster similarly featuring a ton of disparate franchises—in this case, all from under Warner Bros.’ vaulted ceilings. You can play as characters from the likes of AdventureTime (Finn the Human, Jake the Dog), Rick and Morty (Rick, Morty), Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny, the Tasmanian Devil) the DC extended universe (Batman, Superman, buncha others), and more. Confusingly, MultiVersus also stars The Iron Giant’s notably peaceful Iron Giant.
Unlike Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, Nickelodeon’s similar cross-franchise foray into fighting games, MultiVersus has been incandescently popular, tallying an estimated 12 million players since launch. (As of this writing, All-Star Brawl has 13 active players, according to stat-tracking site SteamDB.) MultiVersus is also one of the most-played titles on Valve’s Steam Deck handheld—even though fighting games on handheld machines kinda suck. The power of free-to-play.
Of course, the $0 price tag doesn’t drum up any hard cash for publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Sales were spurred last month by the Founders Pack, which starts at $40 depending on the edition you get, and grants access to characters in the roster.
It’s unclear how many individual Founders Packs were sold, or what the total dollar amount came out to, as NPD didn’t reveal those figures. But MultiVersus is still tracking behind other 2022 sales behemoths like Elden Ring, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, and Horizon Forbidden West, year-to-date. In fact, even though it topped the charts for July, MultiVersus isn’t among the top 20 best-selling games of the year.
Representatives for NPD did not respond to a request for comment.
The shadow over all of this is, of course, are the woes at Warner Bros. Interactive, a subdivision of WarnerMedia, which was recently part of a $43 billion merger with Discovery earlier this year. This has sent tremors through the entertainment industry, resulting in essentially completed films getting shelved (RIP Batgirl) and popular shows getting purged from the HBO Max streaming service (RIP Close Enough).
But WB’s games division is seemingly doing just fine. In addition to MultiVersus, the family-friendly Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which came out in April, was the third best-selling game last month. There are more potential juggernauts in the pipe, too. In October, Warner Bros. Interactive will release Gotham Knights, a co-op open-world action game set in a version of DC canon where Batman is dead. (Despite indications of a loot grind, Gotham Knights looks kinda cool.) That’ll be followed next year by a game based on Suicide Squad, DC’s contingent of anti-heroes.