Saints Row pulls off the second-biggest PS Plus game debut of 2023

The rebooted Saints Row on PS Plus has seen a huge influx of PS5 and PS4 players — enough to make it the second-biggest PS Plus Essential game debut of 2023.

Saints Row pulls off the second-biggest PS Plus game debut of 2023
Lee Brady

Lee Brady


While player demand for Saints Row trophies might have been a little muted during the game's initial 2022 launch, that doesn't mean PS5 and PS4 players have remained completely uninterested in Volition's Saints Row reboot. With our exclusive data revealing a debut player count that rivals the very best games on PS Plus, it seems everyone was just waiting for the inevitable Saints Row PS Plus launch before jumping in.

Saints Row beats Call of Duty Black Ops debut PS Plus player count

We've been tracking the active player count of every PS Plus game to launch in 2023 with our exclusive gameplay data from 3.2 million active PSN accounts (courtesy of our partnership with GameInsights), including Saints Row and the recent PS Plus Essential games for September 2023.
We've compared the first week of PS Plus player numbers for Saints Row (week ending Sunday, September 10, 2023) with every other PS Plus Essential debut this year, and its clear that only one game has topped Volition's sandbox game in terms of active player count — Battlefield 2042. Comparing the two titles, we can see that Saints Row's PS Plus debut player count falls 23.64% short of Battlefield 2042.

That's not too surprising, given the meteoric more than 500% rise in active players Battlefield 2042 gained via PS Plus back in March 2023. Still, it's impressive that Saints Row managed to beat out the debut PS Plus player count for July 2023's Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War by 2.44% — the now-third-highest PS Plus debut of 2023.

The best-performing PS Plus Essential games of 2023 so far

  • #1Battlefield 2042 (March 2023)
  • #2Saints Row (September 2023)
  • #3Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War (July 2023)
  • #4Minecraft Dungeons (March 2023)
  • #5Chivalry 2 (May 2023)
It's certainly interesting to think about the commonalities between both Battlefield 2042 and Saints Row and how that might have affected their PS Plus performance. Both games brought their respective popular franchises into the PS5 era with an array of technical issues and a middling critical reception. Both games also received a lashing from long-time fans online for any number of creative and technical decisions. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, both games failed to meet the sales expectations of their publishers.

Saints Row PS PlusSaints Row and Battlefield 2042 sales performance.

Despite these factors, both games have performed exceedingly well with PS Plus subscribers. It suggests that PS5 and PS4 players have remained interested in either the games themselves or at least the big franchises they hail from. Certainly, we can expect big name titles to do well on PS Plus, but for both Saints Row and Battlefield 2042 to outperform Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War — the best-selling game of 2020 (in the US) — suggests there's a few more factors affecting player interest here than simply the allure of a recognizable franchise.

While Saints Row still falls a little below our expectations for the best PS5 games list, its great to see so many players giving the game a second chance on PS Plus. Were you one of the many players who checked out the Saints Row reboot on PS Plus last week? Let us know down in the comments below.

Chart compiled using gameplay data from over 3.2 million active PlayStation accounts (not just TrueTrophies accounts). Chart information is copyright GameInsights. Regarding this data:
  • Popularity is measured by a game being booted up and played, not by the length of time played.
  • Our data is good for suggesting general trends — we represent this using percentages, not numbers.
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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