How Is ‘Sea Of Thieves’ More Popular Than Ever?

When Sea of Thieves launched for the Xbox One and PC it was seen as a moderate, but somewhat disappointing, success. The game was initially well-received at launch for being a fun time with friends, but everyone who played the game had the same general complaint that the game was fun for the first few hours and then quickly lost its appeal after that. A game that delivered on the promise of a wide world, but filled it with a vast nothingness.

However, despite these initial complaints, a hardcore community formed around the game. One that gave it enough support to keep going and eventually that community grew. Despite releasing back in 2018, Sea of Thieves is one of the most popular games out there right now. So popular that back in June they hit a major milestone with 4.8 million active players at once. That was a record for the game and a sign of just how much the game had grown since 2018. The developers of the game at Rare recently sent out a thank you to all their fans for making the game such a hit today.

It’s been over a month since we released Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life into the wild blue yonder as part of Season Three, and since that emotional launch day we’ve been bowled over by the response from the Sea of Thieves community. From your reactions on social media to your fan art and stories of exploring the five new Tall Tales, it’s been amazing – and all this excitement resulted in our busiest ever month on the seas, with June seeing 4.8 million active pirates out on the water!

While most people know about how fun Sea of Thieves is now, anyone that fell off from the game when it was initially released may be a little bit surprised. How did a game that released the way Sea of Thieves did become so popular? Well, it was a mix of factors, but it was also an example of how it’s always okay to give a game a second chance.

From the developer side, Sea of Thieves has been one of the best at providing constant updates to keep the game fresh, combatting that initial complaint of players that the game grew stale quickly. In the old days when a game was released that was it, the game was done and there was nothing else that could be done to fix or improve a game. So if a game like Sea of Thieves had been released back in 2005 it would have faded off into obscurity with fans talking about its missed potential. Now that we’re in an age where a game can be constantly updated through patches, a game like Sea of Thieves can launch and make the necessary improvements through updates to address the initial disappointment from players.

The developers at Rare have been constantly updating Sea of Thieves in an effort to make it more fun. They’ve added content, balanced out the game, and created events that gave players more to do. As updates came in, and the game improved, more players started bringing in their friends to play with them. As of 2021, Sea of Thieves is on Season 3 and the latest patch is a crossover with the popular Disney series Pirates of the Carribean. It took a lot of work for the game to reach this point, but it’s one that has paid off in a big way for Rare.

On top of that, one of the biggest benefits to Sea of Thieves has been its inclusion on Game Pass. Microsoft’s service that allows players to pay a monthly fee and gain access to a library of games, similar to Netflix, has basically always had Sea of Thieves on it. When the game was still growing it became way easier for fans to check out their updates and events when it was already paid for on Game Pass. This gave it an opportunity to grow with people who were way more open to growing pains than someone that had just paid full price for a brand new game.

It may sound like a simple formula, but constant updates on a service that players were already using to try out new games? It was the perfect place for Rare to experiment and turn Sea of Thieves into a hit. The game may have set a record for most concurrent players back in June, but there’s no sign of that number going down anytime soon. With Rare initially saying they fully plan to support Sea of Thieves for 10 years we can expect more updates, more content, and more fun on the high seas until 2028.