Why it matters: If accurate, Sony's inadvertent leak is likely going to rub developers the wrong way. Not everyone wants this sort of information shared with the public, especially when it shines a spotlight on an embarrassing launch like Fallout 76.
Sony last week launched a social media promotion called My PS4 Life. The retrospective feature was designed to provide gamers with a quick look back on the titles they've played, achievements earned and so on through the creation of a shareable video but as it turns out, the unique statistics generated can be reverse engineered to gain valuable insight into PS4 player counts.
As you may know, Sony already publishes statistics on the percentage of players that earn a specific trophy on PSN. In My PS4 Life videos, Sony also lists a user's "rarest" trophy and how many total gamers have earned the same achievement.
Well no surprise I've played a lot of War Thunder just wish I'd made a new account for my son, Dimensions and Minecraft :-)--- Alabama Shrimp (@alabamashrimp) December 14, 2018
Still there's been some excellent games and I'm sure even more to come@PlayStationUK #MYPS4LIFE pic.twitter.com/zdXztbgd5L
Armed with this data, it's possible to work out estimates of how many people have played nearly every PS4 game (so long as there is a My PS4 Life trophy video for said title).
Using an example from this Reddit post, we see that 33,764 players have earned the "Photo Bomber" trophy in Fallout 76 (info from a My PS4 Life video). Sony on PSN notes that 8.3 percent of all players have been awarded this trophy. Given the numbers, we can work out that:
33,764 * 100 (percent) / 8.3 (percent) = 406,795 (total players)
If accurate (or even remotely so), that's not exactly great news for Fallout 76. Other games are looking far better, however, as Grand Theft Auto V has 51.7 million players, FIFA 18 has 32.5 million and FIFA 17 has 30 million. According to gamestat.com, a site set up for the purpose of sharing these stats, usage numbers appear to have been logged between November 20 and December 4, 2018. This means stats aren't exactly accurate for newly released games.
Also worth noting is that some games have separate trophy stats for different regions. In those instances, player counts are calculated for each region. Additionally, these stats may not take into account offline, disc-based gamers.