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Splatoon 2 is first game to hit 2 million sales in Japan this decade
Splatoon 2 – Japan’s favourite game

Nintendo Switch sales have dominated worldwide over Christmas, but the scale of Splatoon’s success in Japan may surprise you…

With anticipation for the first Nintendo Direct of the year already at fever pitch, it’s suddenly become very easy to predict what new games might be in the Switch’s future – as Splatoon 2 becomes Nintendo’s biggest Japanese hit in eight years.

One of the great frustrations about the video games industry is that it’s always so difficult to tell how well games are actually selling. European and American charts are purposefully vague and never include sales figures, but in Japan things are very different and you get highly accurate sales data every week.

And this week has seen the first new chart of the year, reporting sales over the new year period – which in Japan is the most important gift-giving season. And as you can see it’s almost total Nintendo domination…

Japanese console chart – 7 January

1 (2) Splatoon 2 (NS)
2 (3) Super Mario Odyssey (NS)
3 (1) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (NS)
4 (4) Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon (3DS)
5 (5) Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS)
6 (6) Yo-kai Watch Busters 2: Hihou Densetsu Banbarayaa – Sword/Magnum (3DS)
7 (7) The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (NS)
8 (10)ARMS (NS)
9 (8) 1-2-Switch (NS)
10(9) Earth Defense Forces 5 (PS4)

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Hardware sales of the Switch also handily beat the PlayStation 4, at 159,636 to 103,607, but the biggest news is that Splatoon 2 was not only the number one game but is the first console title to sell over 2 million copies in Japan since Wii Party in 2010.

Total sales now stand at 1,882,997 physical copies and 150,617 digital, for a grand total of 2,033,614.

Although successful in the West, the Splatoon franchise has been disproportionately popular in Japan with multiple live music concerts and other media appearances. And that can mean only one thing: more sequels.


When we’ll find out about that is anyone’s guess but in the meantime there’s been more good news for Nintendo, as their French subsidiary has reported that Switch sales have hit 911,000 – beating their target of 800,000 and both the Wii (703,000) and PlayStation 4 (650,000) during the same period. It’s also more than the Wii U’s entire lifetime sales in the country, at 832,000.

The situation seems to be similar in Italy, which this week reported that the Switch was selling faster than the Wii there too. And this is only a few days after the Switch was named the fastest selling console ever in the US, where it’s sold 4.8 million units in just 10 months.

As usual, the country with the least amount of information on sales is the UK, but as ever it’s the success in Japan that has the most influence on Nintendo themselves. And so hopefully this all means not just more Splatoon. but also more new franchises in general.


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