Metroid Dread Screen
Image: Nintendo

Metroid Dread was a hugely hyped reveal in Nintendo's E3 2021 presentation and there was lots of excitement, praise and awards buzz around the game following its release on 8th October (alongside the Switch OLED model). How did that convert to sales, though? Well, following a very strong start, the first official numbers are in and they're ok in terms of big first-party releases, but very healthy from a franchise perspective.

Up to 31st December, Metroid Dread sold 2.74 million units, which accounts for nearly three months of sales. While that's not huge when compared to massive multi-million juggernauts like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing, it's a very solid result for a series whose sales numbers don't tend to align with the mindshare it enjoys with Nintendo fans. In Japan, especially, Metroid has never been a big seller.

In the context of the overall Metroid series, it's likely close to becoming the IP's bestseller already; barring a calamitous loss of momentum, according to estimates gathered from Nintendo's own data it's only around 100,000 units shy of overtaking Metroid Prime for that honour. It has already passed the original NES Metroid, which has estimated lifetime sales of 2.73 million copies.

Given the series' modest sales history, it's perhaps unsurprising that Dread hasn't had an outstanding launch in the bigger Nintendo first-party picture. The game wasn't even mentioned in the company's summary when accounting for the year-to-date successes. In the list of Nintendo million sellers it's down in 11th place, edged out of the top 10 by Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield. Of course it's had less time on the market than most games on the list and we'd certainly say its sales figure is positive, but it's not been a runaway smash hit.

And here's a humbling thought, in Q3 alone (1st October to 31st December) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 4.61 million units.

Overall, Metroid Dread has excelled by the standards of its own franchise sales, even if its numbers are still well off what you'd expect of a major new release in franchises like Super Mario, Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda and so on.

Let us know what you think of Metroid Dread's initial sales figures in the comments.