News Article

A Link Between Worlds Early Japanese Sales Surpass Ocarina of Time 3D

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Yet don't reach glory days of Phantom Hourglass

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds arrived in Europe and North America on 22nd November last year, but it was 26th December before it arrived in Japan. It's had a decent performance in the charts, too, claiming top spot in its début week before falling back to third place in its second week.

Yet how has it performed by the standards of its Zelda portable predecessors? Siliconera has obtained some useful data from Media Create to show that, overall, the performance has been entirely reasonable, if not quite a return to the glory days of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on DS. Nintendo has clearly been fairly accurate in its sales projections and managed stock levels well; by providing stock to match demand, it avoids excess copies hanging around shelves only to be discounted.

Opening week sales of 224,143 led to stock sell-through of 83.47%; the second week brought overall sales to 297,215 units, which is apparently 96.84% sell through, so not long after launch Nintendo can now meet retail demand with additional stock. As you can see in the launch sales chart below Nintendo has done a reasonable job of judging demand, avoiding a troublesomely plentiful supply as was the case with Spirit Tracks, which led retailers to discount the title to clear shelf space.

How do these sales figures compare to the DS entries? While Link Between Worlds is shifting more copies than Ocarina of Time 3D, its early results haven't quite matched either DS predecessor.

Despite its strong run, the 3DS hardware is still a good distance away from the scale of the DS' success, and may never reach that level — time will tell. In any case the lightning in a bottle impact of its predecessors may be tough to replicate, though perhaps a reasonable ambition for the latest Zelda title can be to hit Spirit Tracks sales levels in Nintendo's homeland.

Some interesting statistics nevertheless. We'll see how the results tally up a year for now.

[via siliconera.com]

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User Comments (31)

Peach64

#2

Peach64 said:

Not really much of a surprise that a title launched 3 years into the console's life with all those 3DS units out there sells more in it's first 2 weeks than Ocarina did back in the first few months of the 3DS's life when there was a fraction of the consoles around, but still better than flopping I guess!

3DS is doing well, but there's no question mobile is cutting into the handheld market, so it would have been quite the challenge to match the numbers of the DS iterations.

Gioku

#3

Gioku said:

I find it so weird that those games sold so well... I've never heard anything about those games that would suggest that they were so popular... I guess those games must have been more popular in Japan than the west! I really would have expected ALBW to be the best of the bunch, but... I guess I was wrong...

Shworange

#4

Shworange said:

So, most copies are sold in the first week? It looks like for all the games that a large amount was sold the first week and not much of any were sold a full year late.

AdanVC

#5

AdanVC said:

Times are totally different now, 3DS has to compete with smarthphone gaming and Vita (But Vita unfortunately is just a case lost already...) back in 2007, the DS main competitor was only the PSP and smarthphone gaming was inexistent or at least it was not so important to be considered as a competitor, that's why Phantom Hourglass reached those insane hugh numbers and the DS in general. But with ALBW and the 3DS in general you can clearly see how Nintendo still keeps the touch on handhelds and proving once again that Software would always move hardware and quality will always means more than quantity. You could have hundreds of games on your iPhone but NONE OF THEM would reach the epicness of a handheld Zelda experience or any other 3DS game, that includes Vita experience as well.

Dinosaurs

#6

Dinosaurs said:

Spirit tracks was fun. The music can pop into my head so easily. Guess Nintendo will be seeing smaller returns from its Zeldas for 3DS?

Peach64

#9

Peach64 said:

@shworange This is true for almost every game. Most people that want a game get it on day one. Nintendo games do have long legs, but they continue to sell maybe a few thousand a week for a year, maybe two, when two to three hundred thousand copies will have been sold in the first few weeks.

It's frustrating when people comment in the chart threads that a game was only out for 2 days of that chart period so we should wait for the following week. Every single time it sells less in the full week than the first two days.

Monkeh

#10

Monkeh said:

This game really should be selling better and I hope, like with most Nintendo games, it'll have a (long) continued, good amount of sales instead of very high sales at first which then drop significantly as time passes.

AK-1138

#11

AK-1138 said:

The fact that a sub-mediocre game such as Phantom Hourglass sold as much as it did is nothing short of mind-blowingly terrible. Those are some "glory days" I hope shall never return. Another great game like ALBW will surely undo the damage done to handheld Zelda, though.

TheRavingTimes

#12

TheRavingTimes said:

Though the 3DS is without a doubt Nintendo's golden ticket to fortunes, the DS was a ticket printed out of premium platinum coating. The DS found massive 3rd party support which brought a large audience of casual and hardcore gamers. It's apparent that the lack of a casual audience who were lulled by the original Brain Age(s) and Nintendogs provided large sales figures for many DS titles. If it weren't for the DS sales the Professor Layton series could have potentially ended by the third instalment due to smaller sales figures as oppose to the 5 million copies sold thanks to the first instalment alone.

Gridatttack

#14

Gridatttack said:

@Barsteward1 Couldn't agree more.
Phantom hourglass was lackluster. No glory days indeed (perhaps 'glory days' here refers to the amount of sold copies)

unrandomsam

#15

unrandomsam said:

@Gridatttack I think the best portable entries are Oracle of Ages followed by the Minish Cap. (At least prior to a Link Between Worlds that I won't comment on until I finish the Hero's Quest don't think it is fair to).

JaxonH

#16

JaxonH said:

@unrandomsam

I bought Oracle of Ages and Seasons, though I'm not entirely sure how many years will pass before I have time to play them. I got Minish Cap with the Ambassador's Program, and while my brother swears by that game, I haven't played it either (aside from the first hour to get a game save going). He told me he thinks Minish Cap is the next best portable Zelda after Link Between Worlds. You know how backlogs are though- you mean to get around to them but...

Shire

#17

Shire said:

@TwoTheNines
I really liked Spirit Tracks. It's definitely one of my favourite games in the series.
And I loved the relationship between Link and Zelda.

Shire

#18

Shire said:

@JaxonH
Minish Cap is my least favourite handheld Zelda. Some of the puzzles were badly designed, and there were some really frustrating bosses. It's a good game, but not as good as Link's Awakening and the Oracle games.

unrandomsam

#19

unrandomsam said:

@Peach64 No way, The only games I get day one are the ones that review sites consider niche when it comes to reviews. 1st party Nintendo I get when it is convenient. Multiplatform I get when it is 75% off or more. 3rd party exclusives I get after about 3 months. (They always panic and drop the price and I don't like feeling ripped off).

FlyingKickPunch

#20

FlyingKickPunch said:

I just finished this game today. Definitely a worthy sequel to my favorite Zelda game of all time. So many memories came flooding back playing this game, but nostalgia alone wasn't why this game was great. The gameplay and dungeons were pure gaming nirvana. Good show Nintendo, good show.

Uberchu

#21

Uberchu said:

I bought spirit tracks mainly for the train function included with a Zelda game.

I wasn't much of a Zelda fan back then.

Razzle

#22

Razzle said:

I played through Minish Cap right before A Link Between Worlds, and let me just say in my opinion it does not even compare. As a big fan of Ocarina of Time I felt like A Link Between Worlds was a condensed but similar experience - wonderful gameplay and never frustrating. As a fan I was thrilled, but the beauty is this is also the perfect game to introduce newcomers to The Legend of Zelda as you've got the classic story of Hyrule and the Triforce - wrapped up in a friendly and expertly balanced 10-15 hour quest. It doesn't get better.

boynerdrambling

#23

boynerdrambling said:

Is this what gaming has turned into? Analzying the sales of every single game thats ever released. I weep for the industry, i really do.

Morph

#24

Morph said:

I would hazard a guess that albw has sold better in the west than phantom hourglass or spirit tracks ever did tho

HappyHappyist

#25

HappyHappyist said:

wow. spirit tracks was pretty good, what's with the sales? the game was a helluva lot better than ALBW anyway.

ultimate321

#26

ultimate321 said:

@HappyHappyist
I love spirit tracks and i had great memories with the game but absolutely no way. ALBW was much better hands down. It was the perfect sequel. Some things tbat i initially had a gripe about (lack of immersive story minus the few cool cutscenes) were just a reflection of its nature as a sequel.

HappyHappyist

#27

HappyHappyist said:

@ultimate321 i don't know how how many times i've said it, but ALBW is broken. i liked the game at first, then i realized how broken it was. Spirit tracks is FAR superior. sure, its a LOT shorter, heck, the dungeons are some of the easiest in the franchise, but the game sticks with you. the characters are actually memorable and 3-dimensional, the story is more than just "save the princess," it doesn't rely on a fan favorite zelda game as a crutch.

i'd call ALBW anything but a "perfect" sequel. it has SEVERAL problems, many of which are game breaking. the renting system is broken because the game is so easy, the dungeons are far too simple, and the item upgrades are mostly pointless.

TDS_Computer

#28

TDS_Computer said:

I really enjoyed both Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass. I think people whine about these games due to the control schemes. while I would prefer a standard control scheme, the one they use is easy to get used to. ALBW is just plain awesome sauce. I am certain overall it will outsell the other DS games.

minotaurgamer

#29

minotaurgamer said:

Zelda has never being that big in japan for starters. Zelda has always been more popular in the west. That's why Twilight Princess was made with the western gamers in mind (and sold very good) unlike Skyward sword which was more anime-ish for the japanese audience and had awful mediocre sales.

Also, Phantom hourglass is 6 years old and ALBTW is not even a month in stores over there. That comparison would make more sense after a month or maybe two.

StarDust4Ever

#31

StarDust4Ever said:

Anyone surprized that the new Zelda is selling more should look at the 3DS install base in mid 2011 compared to late 2013. They are both excellent games btw. The first was a remake of the N64 title Ocarina of Time, and the second is a direct sequel to SNES Link to the Past. Both the original LTTP and OOT are perhaps the best Zeldas ever made, and the 2011 remake and the 2013 sequel are equally good. I'll admit the rental system in ALBW is kind of annoying though until you buy the items outright. I kinda prefered the LTTP system where you unlock the weapons one at a time to access new areas, intead of rent/buy them all at once. Whatever, once you buy them all and upgrade a few of them, it makes besting enemies in the field/dungeons a piece of cake.

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