A Sony representative told Polygon that the figure consists of units sold through to customers. Although the total represents sales as of April 2018, Naughty Dog posted the news on Twitter today, presumably because it’s the fifth anniversary of the game’s release. The Last of Us debuted June 14, 2013, on PlayStation 3, back when the PlayStation division was known as Sony Computer Entertainment. Within the game’s first 13 months on store shelves, Sony sold 7 million copies of it.
At the end of July 2014, Sony released a PlayStation 4 version, The Last of Us Remastered, which Naughty Dog had developed itself in a porting process that the studio described as “hell.” It racked up sales of 1 million units within a month, making for a total of at least 8 million copies sold across both platforms by September 2014. The Sony spokesperson confirmed to Polygon that the 17 million figure includes PS3 and PS4 copies.
Today’s announcement suggests that The Last of Us has had an incredibly long tail in terms of sales, with nearly 10 million copies sold after the game’s first year of release. It must’ve helped that The Last of Us Remastered quickly became a must-have title for new PS4 owners. In January 2015, Sony started packing in copies of the remaster with the standard PS4. And of course, the announcement in December 2016 of a sequel, The Last of Us Part 2, likely bumped the sales of the original game as well.
Today is the 5th Anniversary of The Last of Us’ release. Over 17 million of you have taken this journey with us and your love, support, and fandom for these characters and their story has been incredible. We can’t wait to continue it with Part II. pic.twitter.com/dES9bBDa4W
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) June 14, 2018