News Article

Only 3DS Games Sold Over One Million Copies in Japan in 2013

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Emphasizes the value of the Japanese market to Nintendo

While Nintendo may have endured some disappointment in hitting its own high targets for 3DS in the past 12-18 months, positive statistics do nevertheless keep coming for the portable system — especially in Japan. Not long ago we saw 3DS titles dominate the charts for the first six months of the year in the country, with Mario Kart 8 as a welcome imposter for Wii U.

Those half year results show that 2014 could be rather similar to 2013, in terms of 3DS titles leading the way as the biggest selling games over the whole year. A compilation of the top-selling games for last year show that only games on Nintendo's portable enjoyed sales in excess of a million in Japan; the top ten is below, with lifetime sales for that period also in brackets.

1. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 — 3,110,240 (3,110,240)
2. [3DS] Pokémon X — 1,967,479 (1,967,479)
3. [3DS] Pokémon Y — 1,759,117 (1,759,117)
4. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf — 1,628,044 (3,597,999)
5. [3DS] Tomodachi Life — 1,612,037 — 1,612,037
6. [3DS] Dragon Quest VII: Fighters of Eden — 1,237,825 (1,237,825)
7. [3DS] Puzzle & Dragons Z — 1,005,658 (1,005,658)
8. [3DS] Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon — 1,003,188 (1,003,188)
9. [PS3] Grand Theft Auto V — 649,091 (649,091)
10. [PS3] JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle — 483,378 (483,378)

The more things change in 2014 the more they potentially stay the same, too, with Monster Hunter 4 G and Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire arriving later this year and likely to perform rather well. Nintendo is no doubt hoping that Mario Kart 8 can creep towards one million sales for Wii U, along with other major releases on the home console in the second half of the year.

[via neogaf.com]

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User Comments (47)

Mega719

#1

Mega719 said:

It sucks that because the Wii U is so underrated all of it's great titles(except Mario Kart 8) are doing so poorly despite how much work was put into to make them fantastic games. Didn't Super Mario 3D World only make a couple thousand?

Jazzer94

#2

Jazzer94 said:

Not really a great thing if you ask me the market there is definitely shrinking.

Gold

#4

Gold said:

Oh course ORAS and MH4U are going to hit 1mil. Its Japan.

Mega719

#6

Mega719 said:

@Tsurii897 see? Sales can be much better than that clearly people aren't aware of any of the games released on Wii U they just assume they aren't good. I laugh at that getting much higher reviews than Thief, the most anticipated game on the other platforms

Nintendofan83

#17

Nintendofan83 said:

These numbers do not surprise me at all and I actually see some positives. I will outline why i'm not surprised and why i'm happy.

1) Many asians live with extended family members are there simply isn't roomy/time to play console games on a tv. The only way is if you have a tv in your room and in my limited cultural experiences (lived in Asian for 5 years), parents don't tv's in a kids room. They usually have a hand held and a computer.

2) Sales are sales and when Nintendo makes money, we all win. We may want to see Wii U sales rise but at least the 3DS is kicking butt and funnelling money into Nintendo which the big N can used to help develop the Wii U in other regions. Companies move money from profitable areas to struggling areas all the time. As long as the 3DS is making money, the Wii U can get help.

3) Consoles are simply not as enjoyable in Japan and its a combination of the games available and cultural differences in living. Korean students, much like Japanese and Chinese students, study at school or are busy from 8am - 8pm and then they have homework! I taught at a Canadian/Korean International school for 3 years and I have never seen so many sleepy kids. The only free time these students have is when they are waiting for class, on the bus, on the train etc. The 3DS is perfect for gaming here!

4) At the end of the day, population sizes matter and the fact that Japan is its own region is astonishing to me. Europe has about 700 million people and USA/Can have about 375 million. Japan has about 125 million compared to those 2 larger areas. I think it's impressive when any game sells over a million in Japan. These sales are great but lets face it, Nintendo's success and failures rest far more on their NA and Eur sales. These numbers show a cultural preference for handhelds in one country, in one corner of the globe. These sales are great but its only one country.

Mega719

#18

Mega719 said:

@Dipper723 @Wouwter ok you got me there but the worldwide numbers do show that people would buy the games on Wii U they know is a really good game. The reason Mario Kart 8 sold the best is because Nintendo went all out in advertisement

shigulicious

#20

shigulicious said:

@Mega719 yep. It's the advertising that helped for sure. I envision Hyrule Warriors to sell well for the same reason. I know it will do well in Japan, but Dynasty Warriors fans in North America are hard to find. Since Nintendo threw at us announcement trailers of all of those Zelda characters though, the game looks to be on track to perform well here too. I can say that because the game has been on Amazons top 20 video games for over a week and we still have a month before release.

Kaze_Memaryu

#22

Kaze_Memaryu said:

These sales are somewhat impressive, considering how much the japanese market has shrunk over the last few years.
However, I kinda doubt that MH4G will reach the 1 million mark, simply because many people over there won't consider the upgrade worth it - they can still play MH4, and all they're missing out on is G Rank, some new monsters (and the corresponding armors and weapons), and 1, maybe 2 new attacks for certain weapons. If they could download an update, more people would actually get MH4G.
Pokémon is bound to reach that mark, though. It's Pokémon, and japan (well, asia in general) loves Pokémon.

@Nintendofan83 While I've never even been out of my home country, I spend a lot of time analyzing daily descriptions of japanese people as well as their cultural environment, and I can agree to this far enough not to want to correct anything. It's a difficult lifestyle in asia, and many people simply can't play much at all. But since many people there simply need entertainment to endure the hardships of the day, it still sells spectacularly by comparison.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that especially smart devices are extremely popular in japan and have much more support from all kinds of companies than anywhere else in the world (in some places, you can go shopping at train stations via smartphone, you scan codes under product pictures at a wall, and it's getting delievered to your door).

Wouwter

#25

Wouwter said:

@Mega719 They need to sell more Wii U's for that to happen I think. In my mind it's amazing they managed to sell that and MK8 to about a third of all Wii U owners. :)

Mega719

#27

Mega719 said:

@Wouwter Wii U shouldn't be in this position period. 3rd parties shun and don't bring games to the system and THEY are the ones who criticize sales?

Spoony_Tech

#28

Spoony_Tech said:

Goes to show that not even Zelda is that popular over there. Where did A Link Between Worlds fall?

Player4

#32

Player4 said:

Im so proud of my baby Weegee, he passed one million sales in Japan 😭 Now give me Daisy's Mansion!!

@Manaphy2007 I totally agree with you. What are they thinking, keeping their games hostage in Japan? smh

Phle

#35

Phle said:

Considering I'm getting both Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Smash Brothers for both 3DS and Wii U, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, amiibo figurines and I already pre-ordered Hyrule Warriors Limited Edition, they might get a boost in sales in western contries, if more people are planning to go down a similar path. Pokémon is big, cos it rules. It deserves the spot. I know others that are getting Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire too :)

Zombie_Barioth

#36

Zombie_Barioth said:

@Kaze_Memaryu
You'd think so, but the 'G' versions of the series have actually beaten the originals in sales in Japan, by at least a little bit.

MH4 is also one of the highest selling games as well though, so who knows. Interestingly, it seems the games based on the 2nd generation (the 'portable' series) sells the best.

TheWPCTraveler

#37

TheWPCTraveler said:

Impressive. Eight distinct million-sellers. All from 3DS.
@sinalefa This was before Yokai Watch became a massive curbstomp of a success. It sold ~225k by end-2013, I believe.
@Insect_Prince They still have ~15.5k unsold copies, too.

bizcuthammer

#38

bizcuthammer said:

@Insect_Prince huh. Pretty sure that shoots down a sequel. Or even Wonder Red as a Smash challenger. Sucks, cause it's actually a pretty good game once you get past a couple technical issues.

raccoonboy

#39

raccoonboy said:

Only handful of old games made it pass 1 mill.
Pity how Nintendo spent years develop those masterpieces but stupid casual mobile game actually made more profits. Nintendo should make a phone or make games for mobile, it would buy it even if prices is 39.99, at least, i can play them at work without anyone notice.

kenzo

#40

kenzo said:

Nintendo have to keep an eye on the demographics of the Japanese market.

The Japanese population is decreasing because fewer children are being born.

The aging of Japan means this market is slowly being reduced for gaming.

Obviously, Nintendo need to generate Japan-like sales outside of Japan.

Hence ethnocentricity for Nintendo is not an option for sustainable growth.

Kaze_Memaryu

#41

Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Zombie_Barioth Oh, I wasn't aware of that! That's good to know!

@kenzo That's a very rough generalization, and it's not accurate, either.
While japans population is shrinking, there's also less interest in consoles in general, since living in japan means busy days that barely allow free time. As @nintendofan83 pointed out, they don't have much time for gaming at home, so they resort to mobile/portable gaming on the go.
The main issue for japans fading interest in gaming consoles is the general pressure from society: best grades, best job, best wife, best kids. You wouldn't believe how stressful and tiring this is, and it begins right when they start going to school.

Artwark

#43

Artwark said:

I can't believe that even with quality games, Nintendo is still struggling with the Wii U sales........its really awkward to see PS4 and ONE selling well with barely any top quality exclusive games if you ask me.

eviLaTtenDant

#44

eviLaTtenDant said:

6. [3DS] Dragon Quest VII: Fighters of Eden — 1,237,825 (1,237,825)
7. [3DS] Puzzle & Dragons Z — 1,005,658 (1,005,658)

Want.

rdrunner1178

#45

rdrunner1178 said:

@eviLaTtenDant I was thinking the same thing! Let's get those released in the West. Even if they only sell 1/2-1/3 of what they did in Japan, should be a no-brainer.

Windy

#46

Windy said:

Monster Hunter 4 is going to sell a gazillion copies in the US and Europe. I hope online is good for it. Its quite possible that I may only buy Fantasy Life and Monster Hunter as my only 2 retail games in the next 6 months. I'm usually buying stuff up as fast as I can but I've really slowed it down this year.

Henmii

#47

Henmii said:

I wonder though: Is the 3DS nearing its end? Its already a few years on the market, and Nintendo didn't show much 3DS stuff at E3. People say that this is because they want to focus on Wii u....but this may also be because a 3DS succesor may arrive 2015. We'll see.

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