Shovel Knight has sold 2 million copies, most sales on PC but most revenue on Switch

Retro platformer Shovel Knight, originally released in June 2014, recently passed two million copies sold. Developer Yacht Club Games dropped the number in a blog post, which also offers a detailed breakdown of where those sales came from. Before that, some more good news: in celebration of this milestone, Shovel Knight is 20 percent off on Steam, GOG and Humble for the next week. 

Shovel Knight originally released on PC, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, so it's no surprise it's sold the most units on PC (24.4 percent of sales) and 3DS (23.9 percent of sales). More surprising is the Nintendo Switch's spot at third place (17.6 percent of sales) given its newness—Shovel Knight only came to Switch in March 2017. 

The Switch's launch month also surpassed PC's launch month by 40,000 copies. But outside of the Switch's sales spike, PC acts as the best acid test for Shovel Knight's sales. Roughly 170,000 copies sold on PC in 2014, 140,000 in 2015, 100,000 in 2016, and 75,000 in 2017.

While PC is Shovel Knight's biggest platform, Switch is its most profitable. In no small part because the game's price increased to $25 on Switch following the release of its Specter of Torment standalone (compared to $20 on Steam), Yacht Club says Switch has already earned more revenue than any other platform. This also speaks to how frequently it's been discounted on Steam. 

Specter of Torment itself, however, has yet to turn a profit. It cost $1.5 million to develop, and it's still in the red. The same goes for the Plague of Shadows add-on, which cost $1 million to make.

Nevertheless, the Yacht Club still fully intends to finish and release Shovel Knight's four-player mode and King of Cards campaign. 

"All we can say is that our plans haven’t changed," the studio said. "We made promises during our Kickstarter, and it’s been our mission to deliver on these promises in the most amazing way possible. We wouldn’t be here without that initial support, and we’re going to continue paying it off by exceeding our promises to the best of our ability. Hopefully in the end, we’ll have created a product that will be heralded as one of the most exciting, diverse, complete platformers out there." 

Shovel Knight's numbers are consistent with what we heard when we spoke to the creators of Darkest Dungeon, Super Meat Boy and SteamWorld Dig 2 about the state of indie games on Switch versus Steam. Collectively, they agreed that Switch is a good home for indie games and undeniably the new hotness, but that PC still offers considerable advantages. 

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.