The biggest PS5 games of 2023: top 30 PS5 launches of the year

Which made the biggest splash at launch: Marvel's Spider-Man 2 or Final Fantasy XVI? Find out as we run down the top 30 biggest PS5 games of 2023.

The biggest PS5 games of 2023: top 30 PS5 launches of the year
Lee Brady

Lee Brady

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In this rundown of the biggest PS5 games of 2023, we're looking at which PlayStation games saw the greatest amount of active PS5 and PS4 players during their 2023 launch window. Using our exclusive data from over 3.2 million active PSN accounts, we've been able to track the peak debut performance of each major PlayStation release. Now, let's take a look at which of the best PS5 games of 2023 made the biggest splash at launch.

Which PS5 game had the biggest launch of 2023?

Thanks to our partnership with GameInsights, we've been able to use active PS5 player data to track which games have been getting the most attention throughout the year. With this data, we've been delivering regular updates on the biggest PS5 games of the year, such as when we wrote a Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Hogwarts Legacy PS5 launch comparison back in October 2023.
Now, after keeping a close watch on all the major PS5 releases of 2023, we're happy to present the top 30 games that saw the most active PS5 and PS4 player attention over the year. As the active player numbers in each sample fluctuate from week to week, we took only the highest active player count posted by each game within the first four weeks of launch. These player counts were then weighted against our largest player sample of the year in order to better compare against each other.

Lee

2023 had too many massive PS5 games to rank

Before we jump in, I would like to speak on behalf of some of the excellent games that did not rank. By our final count, we had 2023 launch data for over 50 big name PS5 and PS4 games. Ultimately, we had to draw a line somewhere, so you might notice that some surprisingly big titles are not ranked among the biggest PS5 games of the year.

These include some big names like Dead Space, Lies of P, Like a Dragon Ishin, Like a Dragon Gaiden The Man Who Erased His Name, Sonic Superstars, Persona 5 Tactica, Wild Hearts, Star Ocean The Second Story R, and so many more. We all love most of these games and they all likely saw success amongst their target audience — they just didn't see an enormous amount of PS5 player attention at launch.
For context, it's worth keeping in mind that this list is not tracking the success of PS5 games that launched in 2023 or the strength of long-term sales, but which games specifically posted the highest peak player counts near launch. Some games that launched on PS5 in 2023 ended up posting bigger player numbers as the year went on.

For example, Lego 2K Drive and Powerwash Simulator didn't make the list due to lower launch numbers. However, after they were offered as monthly PS Plus December 2023 games, both games saw a considerable influx of PS5 and PS4 player attention. With that said, let's take a look at the first batch of five in our biggest PS5 games of 2023 list!

Biggest 2024#30 - #26

Biggest PS5 games — #30 to #26

#30Horizon Call of the Mountain
#29The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
#28Madden NFL 24
#27Disney Speedstorm
#26Alan Wake II

As we've pointed out before, Alan Wake II's peak PS5 player count failed to convert even half of the amount of players who checked the first game out when it came to PS Plus back in July 2023. That said, seeing as the game did see a digital-only launch, it shouldn't be too surprising that its launch window success was rather limited.

In this batch, you'll also see our one and only PSVR2 game of 2023: Horizon Call of the Mountain. In case you forgot, 2023 saw the launch of Sony's second swing at the VR market. Most players who picked up the device likely got a copy of this game bundled in, letting them escape to a new reality in order to pick up some Horizon Call of the Mountain trophies.

Speaking of Horizon, despite TT Editor Kes going to the trouble to write a very considered Horizon Burning Shores review, it's worth nothing that this list will only be focusing on full PS5 game releases. That means we won't be ranking any big DLC releases, so don't expect titles like Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty or Sonic Frontiers The Final Horizon on here. We all know which was the bigger release between those two anyway, right?

Biggest 2024#25- #21

Biggest PS5 games — #25 to #21

#25Remnant II
#24Tchia
#23Teardown
#22Wo Long Fallen Dynasty
#21My Hero Ultra Rumble

With Wo Long Fallen Dynasty coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch, it's not too surprising to see its player numbers beaten out by a surprise free-to-play hit like My Hero Ultra Rumble. Speaking of Microsoft's rival subscription scheme, it was thanks to the successful launch of games like Teardown that I argued PS Plus should copy the Game Pass method of adopting staggering release dates. Still waiting to hear back from Sony on that one.

Here's also where we find delightful indie Tchia, one of the biggest day-one PS Plus games of 2023. While nothing quite matched the explosive popularity of PS Plus mega-hit Stray this year, it's good to see that this little gem certainly made a solid go at it. If you're only just hearing about this one, check out TT Staff Writer Sean's Tchia review from back in March 2023 to learn a little more about this absolute charmer.

Biggest 2024#20 - #16

Biggest PS5 games — #20 to #16

#20Tower of Fantasy
#19Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3*
#18Sea of Stars
#17Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon
#16NBA 2K24

Alright, as you might have guessed, this batch of PS5 games has something of a caveat that we need to address. Regardless of whatever negative critical attention you may have heard from social media, I don't think any of us truly believe that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 had such an appalling PS5 launch that it didn't even manage to qualify for the top 10 PS5 games of 2023.

The issue here comes down to how Activision chose to launch Modern Warfare 3. You see, despite getting a full retail release, Modern Warfare 3 on PS5 is technically registered as a DLC expansion for 2022's Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. So, when it came to figuring out how many PS5 players were playing the new game, we weren't able to tell the difference between Modern Warfare 2 players and Modern Warfare 3 players.
Ultimately, we got this 19th place ranking for Modern Warfare 3 by subtracting the player numbers posted by Modern Warfare 2 prior to the new game's launch from its peak player count post-launch. In one sense, it's a testament to the strength of Call of Duty games that even when we can't see the full numbers, these titles will always bring in a flock of new players at launch.

That said, it was either this, leave the new Call of Duty off the list entirely, or give another inaccurate read by combining the post-launch player count for Modern Warfare 3 with the player count of Modern Warfare 2. Had we done that, it would have landed Modern Warfare 3 in third place. Both rankings would be technically inaccurate, so we decided the placement that signalled "never do this again" loudest to Activision would be better choice.

Biggest PS5#15 - #11

Biggest PS5 games — #15 to #11

#15The Crew Motorsport
#14Street Fighter 6
#13Meet Your Maker
#12Baldur's Gate III
#11Dead Island 2

Yes, while one of the TT teams' games of the year 2023, Baldur's Gate 3 sadly falls just short of the top 10 PS5 games of the year when it comes to active players at launch. However, much like Street Fighter 6 and The Crew Motorsport, these games continue to see big active player numbers week-to-week thanks to a thriving online community, so what do launch numbers even really mean to games like these?

Case in point, take a look at how Meet Your Maker's PS Plus player count evaporated after its day-one launch back in April 2023. Here, we see that massive launch numbers don't make all that much difference if you're angling to thrive as an online game with live service elements — it's making them stay that's the real trick.

Let's briefly touch upon the long-awaiting Dead Island 2, which tragically just missed out on a spot in the top 10. Despite several delays, this one finally arrived and according to Sean's Dead Island 2 impressions, it came out rather well! Good to see that even after so many years of absence this one still has pulling power.

Big PS5 games#10 - #6

Biggest PS5 games — #10 to #6

#10Mortal Kombat 1
#9Assassin's Creed Mirage
#8Forspoken
#7Star Wars Jedi Survivor
#6Diablo IV

Now we're getting into the really big games — the top 10 biggest PS5 launches of 2023! Looking over this batch, I'm sure there's one outlier here that will shock a great deal of readers, and that's Forspoken. While Sean was rather positive about the game in his Forspoken review back in January 2023, it's safe to say the game was a flop — what with it resulting in the dissolution of Luminous Productions, the studio that made it.

Still, while its active player numbers took a nosedive almost immediately after launch, there was a substantial showing for Forspoken at day one. It's worth bearing in mind that the game was one of the few PS5 exclusives of 2023 — that sort of distinction is going to net you some considerable interest from PlayStation fans regardless of perceived quality.
Sean wrote more positively about NetherRealm Studio's latest in his Mortal Kombat 1 review, but it seems the launch of the popular fighting game was beaten out by another game the TrueTrophies team was feeling a little down on: Assassin's Creed Mirage. While Kes felt rather divided on the game in his Assassin's Creed Mirage review, ultimately, there's no denying that players continue to have a thirst for the series.

That said, unlike Diablo IV — a game which continues to see long-tail PS5 player attention even as the year comes to a close — Assassin's Creed Mirage's one-month player count saw its peak audience losing interest in the game pretty quickly. Actually, same goes for Star Wars Jedi Survivor, which had its player count beaten out by Bloodborne in July 2023 — just three months after launch.

Biggest PS5 games#5 - #1

Biggest PS5 games — #5 to #1

#5EA Sports FC 24
#4Resident Evil 4
#3Final Fantasy XVI
#2Marvel's Spider-Man 2
#1Hogwarts Legacy

Well, if you had read our Marvel's Spider-Man 2 peak PS5 player count breakdown, these top five PS5 game launches of 2023 should look very familiar to you. As much as I personally loved the latest effort from Insomniac Games — awarding the title a perfect 10 in my Marvel's Spider-Man 2 review — the game could not match the sheer popularity of Hogwarts Legacy in 2023.

Launching back in February 2023 and beloved by a staggering number of players (including Editor Kes), it felt inevitable even then that no game would quite match the enormous launch numbers posted by Hogwarts Legacy. As the year rolled on, we'd see big games get close — like when Final Fantasy XVI's PS5 player count got within 27% — and then fall short of this blockbuster outing for the Wizarding World.
2023 also saw a positive start to the newly rebranded EA Sports FC series, though a FIFA game by any name is pretty much guaranteed a ridiculously high PS5 player count. A round of applause as well for Resident Evil 4, whose punchy action and spectacular PS Store demo helped whip up a massive showing for the venerable horror game series.

And that's the year! 30 of the biggest PS5 games of 2023 — did any of the rankings surprise you? Are you as gutted as I am that Sonic Superstars didn't make the top 30? Let us know in the comments below, and if you're looking forward to the year ahead, we're keeping tabs on all the upcoming PS5 games coming out in 2024, so check that out. Which game will come out on top next year? Guess we'll have to find out.

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:
  • When an account opens a game, this is registered as a game being played. Accounts can only register a game once per week.
  • 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 (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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