Trophies were first added to PlayStation 3 games in 2008 as an achievement system. Overcoming various challenges in a game will reward bronze, silver, and gold trophies, and many games also reward a special platinum trophy for collecting all of these.
When I start a new PlayStation game I usually go to PSNProfiles and look for a platinum trophy guide to decide if I want to try to add another to my collection. These are not just walkthroughs, each game has a difficulty score, an estimated time to get the platinum, and many individual trophies have labels to inform players about potential hiccups, such as online play being required, or there being something that you can permanently miss in a playthrough. I’ve always liked looking at these guides, even for games I have no interest in playing, just to see how hard it is, or what kind of challenges are involved. As a statistics nerd I wanted to chart that information.
For this project I gathered data from 3,145 guides on PSNProfiles, and not just games with platinum trophies. Games without platinum trophies tend to be digital-only, shorter, and smaller in scope. Studying them can offer more insight into game difficulty and length so I wanted to include them too. There are some other websites with trophy guides but I stuck with PSNProfiles for this information since it had everything I needed on one page and I think it has more trophy guides than anywhere else. This project looks at:
- Release Date: This is the date the game first released in any region, for any system.
- System: Games can count for multiple systems from among the PS3, PS4, PS5, PSV, PSVR, and PSVR2.
- Difficulty: Every guide on PSNProfiles has a difficulty rating from 1-10. Guide writers tend to listen to feedback and change difficulty ratings if people don’t agree with them, and as you’ll see later these seem to be distributed pretty reasonably.
- Hours: How long the guide writer thinks it will take to collect all the trophies. Users on PSNProfiles often give feedback about this.
- Online Required: The bane of many trophy collectors are trophies that require playing online. Servers can quickly become ghost towns for any game without a huge audience, or be taken offline completely. I did not include games where you obtain trophies either online or by playing local co-op.
- Missables Included: Missables are trophies that have to be collected before progressing past a certain point in a game or else they are unavailable until playing through a game again, or a previous save file is loaded. Trophy hunters have to keep a careful eye on these.
- Platinum Acquisition Rate: What percent of users on PSNProfiles who have played the game have obtained the platinum trophy. These are much larger than the overall platinum acquisition rate of all players, since people who use PSNProfiles love to collect trophies. I decided to use this metric since the overall platinum rates are so often less than 1%, these larger numbers give us more room to compare.
Distribution of Difficulty Scores
Here we can see the distribution of difficulty scores on PSNProfiles has a nice ramp up and then ramp down in frequency, with the hardest games being the rarest. The shorter, simpler games without platinum trophies are more weighed toward lower difficulties.
Difficulty by Year and System
It’s often observed that games got a lot easier starting with the 7th generation (the one with the PlayStation 3), unfortunately we don’t have the PlayStation 2 to compare with, but game difficulty does seem to have dropped over time. I’m not sure why 2023 had a sudden increase. I didn’t expect virtual reality games to be markedly more difficult, though the numbers are a bit less reliable with fewer games overall.
I had to exclude a few no platinum trophy years and PSVR2 due there not being a sufficient sample size.
There are games from 2007, before trophies were implemented, because a few games patched in support for trophies after release.
Hours to Acquire All Trophies by Year and System
It’s easier to see in the system chart, but the time required to get a platinum trophy has gone down a bit over time. For games without a platinum it’s a bit less clear. Despite being more difficult on average, VR games take a lot less time.
There weren’t a lot of guides for 2019 games without a platinum trophy, meaning Siralim 3’s 600 hours to acquire all trophies severely altered the average.
Hours to Acquire All Trophies by Difficulty
Getting a platinum trophy takes longer the harder a game is, which is exactly what you would expect if the difficulties ratings were pretty accurate. Getting all of the trophies in no-platinum games is a bit less consistent, 4-difficulty games seeing a big jump, and then the 9s and 10s being much more time intensive than 8s.
Platinum Trophy Acquisition Rates by Hours Required and Difficulty
These two graphs show us exactly what we would expect: the harder or longer a game is, the fewer people will get the platinum trophy. The maximum number of hours you can enter on a PSNProfiles trophy guide is 999, and there are a few games that can potentially take longer than that. Take a look at the Notable Games section for more on them.
Platinum Trophy Acquisition Rates by System
This is another showcase of how games have gotten easier over time, with platinum trophies being more than twice as common among PlayStation 5 games than PlayStation 3. There wasn’t a lot of information for PlayStation VR2 games, so this could change over time, but it’s interesting that they seem to have harder platinum trophies than the original PlayStation VR.
How Online Requirements and Missables Factor Into Trophies
This might be a lot to take in, but the more saturated colors indicate games without a platinum trophy, while the paler colors are those with a platinum. Blue is for online games, red is for games with missable trophies.
Games without platinum trophies tend to require online services less often, as well as feature missables less often. The overall trend seems to be fewer of either kind of trophy over time.
Online play requirements become more common the harder a game is, with an especially large jump between 9 and 10. Missables, however, seem to have very little correlation with difficulty, bouncing up and down.
Here we see that the games with the hardest and rarest platinum trophies (towards the left), are much more likely to have some kind of online component. Winning hundreds of matches online can be a grueling task that not many want to go through. Missables on the other hand seem to become a bit rarer as platinum trophy rates go down, and I’m not sure why.
It’s always fun to look at the outliers with a study like this. These three games take more than the maximum 999 hours a guide can display:
- Diablo II: Resurrected – There is a trophy for reaching level 99 with a hardcore character, meaning you can’t die once. This is one of the most ridiculous trophies I’ve ever seen, it will take hundreds of hours of carefully grinding the same one or two bosses to get this, and you’ll have to hope you never lose your character due to lag. You’ll need a team of selfless people readying bosses for you to make this more plausible.
- Final Fantasy XIV – This MMORPG platinum requires players to beat each of the four expansions, do the raids on savage difficulty, complete lot of hunts and FATEs, collect Triple Triad cards, craft many items, and gather many materials.
- Fortnite – This is actually for non-battle royale part of the game, the “Save the World” mode. The platinum involves lots of grind, including saving thousands of survivors, buildings thousands of structures, and killing thousands of monsters.
Four games with guides in this study had impossible platinum trophies. PSNProfiles generally removes people that use cheating devices to get these, so you still may see some people with these online:
- Backfirewall – There is a bugged trophy for beating a certain score in a dance competition. This game is less than a year old so there is some hope it can be fixed.
- Boundless – There are actually three bugged trophies preventing anyone from getting the platinum. One requires collecting more journals than there are to collect, another requires visiting some kinds of worlds that haven’t been added to the game, and another requires completing more feats than exist in the game. The developer was supposedly working on fixing the trophies three years ago.
- Dragon Fin Soup – This partly crowdfunded game was supposed to receive a major update, but the developer went silent four years ago without releasing it. The trophies involve collecting pets, crafting items, and catching fish.
- Gonner 2 – Three years after release it’s unknown what is required to get a “nice combo”. It could be bugged or it could be very obscure.
Seven games without a platinum trophy will likely take over 300 hours to nab every trophy: Deadman’s Cross (300), Warframe (300), Destiny of Spirits (350), Let It Die (350), APB Reloaded (400), Planetside 2 (500), and Siralim (600).
The game with the highest platinum trophy rate was Quick Mafs, with 99.24%. The games with platinum rates at or below 0.1% are:
- NBA 2k16 (0.02%, PS4 version)
- The Finals (0.03%, a very new game as of this writing)
- NBA 2k14 (0.04%)
- Badland (0.07%)
- Crypt of the NecroDancer (0.08%)
- Fight Night Round 4 (0.09%)
- NBA 2K15 (0.1%)
The game with a difficulty of 1 with the lowest platinum rate is Fight Night Round 4 (0.09%). It’s also listed as taking 10 hours, which seems a bit suspect. Neko Atsume has a difficulty of 1 and is supposed to take 200 hours, yet the platinum rate is 34.19%.
The fastest 10-difficulty games to complete are apparently Atari Flashback Classics Volume 2 and Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 at 20 hours, while on the other side of the scale Crypt of the NecroDancer is expected to take 900 hours. The 10-difficulty game with the highest platinum rate is Fall Guys at 7.89% (It was 8.05% when I recorded all this information). Fall Guys actually has two distinct trophy sets, this is the one with the current launcher.
PSNProfiles and its guides for most of the game related information.
Wikipedia for release dates.