Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios have been pumping out Forza games since 2005. With 9 full games and a free-to-play variant under their collective belts, the series just passed a big landmark: A cool $1 billion in retail sales.
Turn 10 confirmed that 2016’s excellent Forza Horizon 3 has sold through 2.5 million units to gamers, continuing its streak as the best-selling racing franchise of the console generation. The online Forza community grew to 14 million unique players, and Turn 10 says 3 million players were hopping online each month to make motors growl. The Forza Racing Championship eSports league has also been big for the studio.
I’ve loved the franchise since the outset thanks to its focus on community and customizability, its willingness to try new things, and its reliability.
Let’s put all that in context
But let’s look at all those numbers they’re throwing around. Turn 10 called its series the “best-selling racing franchise of the console generation,” but it’s easy to make a claim like that when your competition is primarily niche simulation racing titles. We haven’t seen the release of a Gran Turismo game yet this generation, and that could well change the validity of that claim.
The millions of players they talk about are a bit foggy, too. 14 million unique players doesn’t mean much if we don’t know how many of those players are somewhat active.
As for the $1 billion mark, let’s peek at some other franchises here. Halo passed $5 billion back in November of 2015, just after the release of Halo 5: Guardians. Gears of War passed $1 billion back in 2011 following the release of Gears of War 3. In other words, Forza is doing well for Microsoft, but it’s less a money printer and more a vanity project – something the company likes to use to show off its hardware.
Still, I hope it keeps doing well enough for them to keep it going. Without Forza pushing it along, who knows where Gran Turismo would be.