Rogue-like poker hit Balatro sells half a million copies in ten days

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Developer LocalThunk’s Balatro might have hit a bit of a bump last week after an unexpected ratings change, but that hasn’t stopped the acclaimed poker-inspired rogue-like deckbuilder from selling over half a million copies in ten days, according to publisher Playstack.


That’s an impressive figure for what’s a fairly unassuming card game at first glance. Balatro, if you’re unfamiliar, challenges players to progress through a series of stage-like Blinds by exceeding each one’s target score. A maximum of four poker hands can played each blind, and failure to reach the target, in classic rogue-like fashion, results in a game over.


As you can probably guess, though, there’s a lot more to it than that, with successful Blinds rewarding in-game money to spend on the likes of fancy combo-boosting cards, exotic upgrades, and, crucially, a heap of rule-bending Jokers that quickly turn a relatively unremarkable set-up into an outlandish game of ludicrous, score-busting synergies.

Cover image for YouTube videoBalatro | Launch Trailer- THE Poker Roguelike | Xbox Series X|S & Xbox One

Balatro launch trailer.


Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan called Balatro «so striking and so brilliantly constructed, and something that has given me such pleasure for the last week» in his four out of five review, and it’s clearly resonated in plenty of other quarters too. Publisher Playstack now announced Balatro has «hit the 500,000 copies mark in just 10 days across all platforms» in a message shared on social media. «Thank you for your amazing support,» it added, «we’re beyond grateful!»


Balatro’s half-a-million-strong sales success comes in spite of last week’s news the game had been unexpectedly yanked from digital stores in some countries as a result of a surprise ratings change. PEGI was said to have increased Balatro’s rating from 3+ to 18+ without warning — after telling Playstack it wouldn’t — adding a «prominent gambling imagery» label to Xbox and PlayStation stores. Over on Switch, the new rating led to Balatro’s complete removal, although its listing has now returned — as has the original 3+ PEGI rating on all platforms.

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