The Last of Us Part 1 saw 270% more PS5 players during HBO show run

By Lee Brady,

The Last of Us Part I saw over 200% more players while HBO's The Last of Us was on the air. See our detailed episode-by-episode breakdown of the show's impact on Part I and Part II on PS5 and PS4.

Update: We've added the player count figures for the week following the conclusion of HBO's The Last of Us, as we predicted previously this would see a surge in players as well.
Original Story: The number of players collecting The Last of Us Part I trophies spiked massively while the 2023 HBO TV adaptation was airing. We said in our The Last of Us Part I review that the PS5 game was "an excellent example of good video games as art," and after The Last of Us TV show's excellent third episode aired, a peak of 203% more people were playing The Last of Us Part I and II and probably coming to the same conclusion.

The Last of UsThe Last of Us influences The Last of Us.

HBO's The Last of Us' influence on PS5 and PS4 players, per episode

Using gameplay data from over 3 million active PS5 and PS4 accounts — the very same data we use every week to produce our PlayStation Chart — we were able to see that a combined 203% more players were playing both The Last of Us Part I and Part II the week following the airing of the TV show's third episode compared to the week before the show's first episode aired.

Looking over the entire run of HBO's The Last of Us, we can see clearly the massive influence the show had on the game's player numbers. Compared to the week before the show's airing, by which time both games were already back in the top 40 most played PS5 and PS4 games, The Last of Us Part I saw a peak 270% player count increase and The Last of Us Part II saw a peak 187.7% increase. By March 13th, the day after the final episode of the TV show aired, Part I had sustained an overall 184% player count increase and Part II an overall 120.5% player increase.

Update: As it takes a full week of airing to get peak results from each episode, we have since checked the March 20th stats for the final episode in the series. By the conclusion of the HBO show, The Last of Us Part I saw a sustained overall player count increase of 231%, and Part II saw an overall sustained player increase of 137.7%.
The Last of UsBill from the show and Part I, the PS5 game.

To help track the overall influence of the TV show, we created a breakdown to see how many PS5 and PS4 owners were actively playing The Last of Us Part I and II after each episode of the show aired. Please note that the figures beside each episode are pulled the day after that episode airs, so any particular episode's influence will only reach its peak and be visible the week after. So, to see the full influence Episode 3 had on active The Last of Us Part I players, you'll need to look at the percentage change after Episode 4 aired.

EpisodeRelease dateTLOU Part I players (Top 40 rank)TLOU Part II players (Top 40 rank)
Pre-Episode 1 January 8, 2023 (34th, up 4)- (38th, up 1)
Episode 1January 15, 2023+15.2% (27th, up 7)-5.6% (39th, down 1)
Episode 2January 22, 2023+55% (15th, up 12)+25.7% (29th, up 10)
Episode 3January 29, 2023-18.7% (14th, up 1)-18.5% (29th, no change)
Episode 4February 5, 2023+21.1% (14, no change)+23.2% (27th, up 2)
Episode 5February 12, 2023-8.5% (14th, no change)-1.3% (29th, down 2)
Episode 6February 19, 2023-13.5% (15, down 1)+2.5% (23rd, up 6)
Episode 7February 26, 2023-3% (19, down 4)+8.9% (23rd, no change)
Episode 8March 5, 2023-26.4% (20, down 1)-18.8% (24th, down 1)
Episode 9March 12, 2023+17% (21, down 1)+17% (31st, down 7)
Post-Episode 9March 19, 2023+20.5% (15th, up 6)+12.5% (28th, up 3)
So what insights might we glean from this wall of ever-shifting player numbers? Well, the most important takeaway is that a lot of people started playing The Last of Us games while the show was airing. We can also see the already fairly high numbers getting a substantial +20% boost across both games just as Episode 4 is airing, which tells us that Episode 3 — the much-acclaimed episode that gives a glimpse into the lives of post-apocalypse survivors Bill and Frank — brought a significant proportion of players to the game series.

The Last of Us Part 1TLOU Part 1 getting a substantial boost from the show.

Things take a downturn after Episode 7 (check the Episode 8 figures), which was the Left Behind adaptation, but seemingly bounce back up in time for the show's finale. As for each game's specific peak episode, The Last of Us Part I saw its largest share of players in the wake of Episode 3, and players gathered in droves to collect The Last of Us Part II trophies after Episode 6 aired. That was the week the internet buzzed loudest about a potential Abby casting, so perhaps that helped point some new fans towards the second game.

Our last little factoid: at no point during the entire show's run did The Last of Us Remastered, the original PS4 port of the game released in 2014, even enter the Top 200 most played PS5 and PS4 games. It seems when it came time to check out Naughty Dog's opus, the vast majority of players were only interested in the latest PS5 version of the game. Luckily, not only is The Last of Us Part I one of the best PS5 games available, but it's also just one of the best games, period.

thelastofusDid the show influence Sony's wallets, though?

Let us know in the comments all your thoughts and feelings about HBO's The Last of Us and whether the show influenced you to check out the game series on PS5 and PS4.

Chart compiled using gameplay data from over 3 million active PlayStation accounts. Chart information is copyright GameInsights.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium games), and his secret third eye on junk he really likes (Sonic games; Kingdom Hearts). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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