Elden Ring Has Outlasted Its Critics, and So Will Bitcoin

The video game industry has been upended this year by the massive success of an open-world role playing game called Elden Ring. The game sold 12 million copies in its first two weeks, numbers Mark Serrels at CNET described as “ludicrous.” The sales are on pace with the bestselling games of all time, titles like Grand Theft Auto 5, Breath of the Wild or Red Dead Redemption 2.

Elden Ring is not just hugely successful, but a huge creative departure from current game-industry norms. It’s the seventh game in a string of titles by developer From Software, all marked by their thoroughly unconventional gameplay and, especially, their experimental approach to storytelling. 

They’re obscure, challenging and extremely weird. Serrels puts it succinctly: Elden Ring’s success is “like a David Lynch movie somehow pulling in a billion dollars at the box office.”

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These earlier games, including the Dark Souls series, were often bashed by the broader gaming public for being “too hard.” 

The sometimes “toxic” community of Souls players met these critiques with disdain, insisting that players alienated by Souls games just needed to “git gud.” Previous Souls games sold respectable but niche numbers, with lifetime totals ranging from 2-6 million copies.

But over the years, From Software refined the experience, making it slightly more accessible in ways that didn’t compromise the core vision. 

Now, the entire world is hailing them as geniuses. The success of Elden Ring seems poised to transform not just what kind of video games get made, but the entire philosophy of the video game industry.

Yes, welcome to the most cringey of all op-eds: a labored comparison between the infinite complexity of reality and a piece of pop culture. In this case, between cryptocurrency and Elden Ring.

I'm ashamed to find myself mining such hoary tropes. But the parallels between crypto and the Souls games are hard to turn away from. 

The two epic projects even launched almost simultaneously, with Bitcoin’s genesis block mined in January of 2009, and the first Souls game, Demon’s Souls, released in Japan in February of 2009.

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