Nintendo game sales dominate the Japanese holiday period

Monday, 6th January 2014 10:48 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo scored big in the Japanese software market over the holiday break, with several high-profile entries shifting a not-insignificant amount of units.

It comes from Famitsu’s weekly sales figures, which look something like this:

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds — 225,418 (3DS)
  2. Puzzle & Dragons Z — 198,968 (3DS)
  3. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster — 182,638(PS3)
  4. Pokemon X and Y — 156,483 (3DS)
  5. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster — 134,645 (Vita)
  6. Wii Party U — 87,262 (Wii U)
  7. New Super Mario Bros. U — 75,131 (Wii U)
  8. Super Mario 3D World — 71,159 (Wii U)
  9. Monster Hunter 4 — 40,338 (3DS)
  10. Animal Crossing: New Leaf — 37,300 (3DS)

Only two of those games don’t appear on Nintendo formats.

In hardware, the 3DS family of handhelds placed top after shifting 208,893 units, while Wii U came second with 79,174, sitting ahead of PS Vita’s 75,207.

Nintendo Life adds that Mario Kart 7 ranked in 25th place, with Mario & Luigi: Dream Team in at 29.

Could this be the start of a sales turnaround for Nintendo? Will the influence spread west? Time will tell.



  1. Digital Bamboo

    Well that’s a bit of good news for them, I guess.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. The_Red

    Wii U is really making a come back in Japan. I can understand Vita (Because it’s a handheld and Japan loves its handhelds) but Wii U’s recovery is almost baffling. Good for Nintendo even if it is due to crappy games like Wii Party U and New Super Mario Bros U.

    #2 12 months ago
  3. mistermogul

    @2 – Yeah crappy games like Mario 3D World!? lol

    [Super Mario Bros U is a good game also, you actually played it?]

    #3 12 months ago
  4. Francis O


    I can understand you saying Wii Party U is crappy, but New Super Mario Bros U isn’t bad. Hell, it has a higher metacritic than every PS4 and Xbox One launch game.

    I don’t think the Wii U’s recovery is baffling at all. Nintendo makes a lot of games with Japan in mind first (party, platforming, ect)

    Not to mention games like Pikmin 3, Mario & Sonic, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD, Taiko Drum Master, and Super Mario 3D World are all in the top 50, with Super Mario 3D World has consistently been in the top 10 since November.

    So its more than just New Super Mario Bros U and Wii Fit U.

    I think backward compatibility helps as well. Plus the price drop. The 2014 lineup looks good as well. Wii Fit U (retail), DKC, Smash, Mario Kart, Hyrule Warriors, and Bayonetta 2 could have got people to pull the trigger early.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. The_Red

    3D World was not part of the crappy part (My bad if it came off like that :) ).

    @Francis O
    Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World are all great games (along with Wonderful 101) but none of them are driving the software sales. It’s Party U and NSMB U.

    And regarding NSMB U, I do consider it to be crappy. The NSMB on DS was amazing but then Nintendo kept repeating the same thing. While many people say Nintendo is milking Mario to death, the truth is that every new 3D Mario game is a new experience. Mario 64 was a revolution. Sunshine was rather ambitious if flawed. Galaxy was a masterpiece (Not too keen on Galaxy 2 but still). 3D Land was a smart mix of 2D and 3D while 3D World was more of that but with decent new elements.

    New Super Mario Bros games on the other hand have been mostly same-ish and feature really marginal improvements. I didn’t play NSMB 2 on 3DS but the Wii and Wii U ones were really disappointing IMHO.

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Francis O


    Its the breath of games that drive a console, not just the games that are in the top 10 or so.

    Pikmin 3 is still selling around 7000 units a week in Japan. Some people might see all the games you can get and decided to pick one up.

    I’m a firm believer in the host of content is what sells a system. Not just a game or two.

    New Super Mario Bros U and Wii Party U are bundled with the Wii U. This adds value. Then people go out and pick up other games as well.

    As far as New Super Mario bros U being crappy, I think you were just disappointed with it. Its not a crappy game though. And its much better than the DS game, which doesn’t even have 4 player multiplayer.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. OlderGamer

    A lot of haters like to compare the current Nintendo with Sega when Sega transitioned away from hardware. However, Sega never dominated sales in Japan at that time. Dreamcast was a very strong seller in NA, infact having a very strong launch and subsquint18months. But the system didn’t move in Japan(easy to see why, the DC had a very western focus with its online, sports and shooter lines ups, lacking the traditional big name rpgs that swoon Japanese gamers.)

    Japanese companies look at Japan first.

    Where as Sega saw the Japan DC sales as a complete failure, Nintendo see a much different situation. And until THAT changes, Nintendo will continue to do what they do and how they do it. I think even if they completely lack sales in other territories.

    I also tend to think that WiiU sales will rebound. Fellas I own a PS4, it isn’t anything special. I played on a friends X1, nothing special there either. Every gamer I know plays games like League of Legands and Exile and uses services like Steam. I don’t think the consoles will take the world by storm like they used to. I think the market is bigger, broader so the over all numbers will look decent, but when it comes to %s…I don’t know if the consoles will dominate like they once did. I myself am playing TitanQuest with friends and family on Steam, while my new next gen system sits there waiting for something amazing to play.

    Why will WiiU do alright if I think consoles are diminishing in importance? Different demographics. WiiU will sell to families young and old as well as to a few of the so called core gamers. I just don’t think the system is priced to move yet. A 179usd system will be hard to stop. Esp if it has all of the big names like Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong, and so on. Will it dominate the console space? No, I don’t think so. Will will be the death of Nintendo? lol, no.

    #7 12 months ago
  8. Joe Musashi

    A lot of haters like to compare the current Nintendo with Sega when Sega transitioned away from hardware.

    Ugh, straight in with the straw-man and dismissive name calling.

    Frankly, if Nintendo were to show the same forward-thinking and agility that Sega have since their troubled Dreamcast days then that’d be a great sign of awareness.

    Nintendo’s current approach is not working. Globally. There’s no point taking one market and pretending the other ones they operate in fail to exist. Being selective in this regard is pure denial – massaging the numbers.

    Nintendo’s Q3 results are due Jan 29th. There is no confidence that they will meet their forecasts (which should have been revised last quarter but Iwata chose not to). So, number aside, the company needs to show awareness of its standing and direction in the global market.

    Adapt or die.


    #8 12 months ago
  9. dreamcastnews

    @8 or, we could just wait and see what’s going to happen. The PS4 and XB1 aren’t out in Japan yet and since Nintendo turned their handheld around, I’ve learnt not to dismiss them changing the fortunes of their machines.

    Even if the Wii U does fantastic in Japan and maybe America it’s no reason for them to ‘adapt’. I can’t see the Xbox One selling like hot cakes in the East but that isn’t exactly stopping MS from sticking to their guns.

    Maybe that 9 million figure isn’t being revised for a reason? Maybe they will use it as leverage to ditch the console or phase out Iwata, who knows?

    #9 12 months ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    @9 Don’t. You’re going to open an uncontrollable floodgate.

    #10 12 months ago
  11. dreamcastnews

    You’re right. I thought that as soon as I pressed ‘send’

    #11 12 months ago
  12. OlderGamer

    For sure it is a global market, no doubt JM. But at the same time Japan is somewhat isolated. If Nintendo sold like hotcakes in Japan, yet sold little or nothing elsewhere, you don’t think they would stop selling producing product for Japan do you?

    I recall a lot of Sega guys apologizing for failure and such. Their system and software sold very well outside of Japan. But they stopped making it because they failed to gain traction inside Japan. While I won’t speak for them or for Nintendo, my gut tells me that their home territory is far more important to them then other markets. And lets be honest, the Japanese market is a sizable one.

    A company could do great there and terrible elsewhere, yet still do well over all. That is the crux of what I am saying. So you can hold your straw man comments.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. Fin


    I think the “adapt or die” is very interesting – Nintendo plainly haven’t (I’d wager they hit upon the Wii market by accident), which is standard fare for a Japanese company – it’s why I’m so surprised Sony managed to nail basically everything that was wrong with the PS3 with PS4.

    Japanese culture is ridiculously slow moving, slow to adapt – with a company like Sony, which is more and more being driven by outsiders (is gaijin the phrase?), it’s becoming better, but Nintendo’s approach is the same as ever, stick it’s head in the sand and hope things change for the better.

    It’s a problem with Japanese game dev as a whole – game design has moved on so much in the last 10 years, but playing a Japanese game, you’d hardly notice.

    #13 12 months ago
  14. Legendaryboss

    Doesn’t this usually come out on Wednesdays? Filling in for the holidays likely.

    Anyway… Nintendomination In Japan:
    Zelda 3DS did well, despite being told previously Zelda isn’t a big hit like it is the West/EU. A lot of Nintendo classics in there or new games resurged or both. Very good for Nintendo in Japan but i doubt this influence will spread to the west: different cultures, different (weird) and/or exclusive games generally never seeing light worldwide. (Due to stubbornness, MH 4? Because Capcom?)

    As for Sony and Square Enix:
    Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster did well on both platforms, combined shifting above 310k. But the performance elsewhere won’t be so equal (More or less), due to Square Enix’s vagueness and evasion nature on the PS Vita version. So yeah good start on that front in Japan. I suppose PS Vita is doing well trailed by PS3, PSP, most likely.

    As for Microsoft………………………….. Waiting for Xbox One.

    #14 12 months ago
  15. Joe Musashi

    @9 “ or, we could just wait and see what’s going to happen

    A lot of people have been waiting to see what’s going to happen. Over 12 months. But it’s also perfectly fair to allow people comment on the future. It happens with absolutely everything else and there’s no reason why Nintendo’s movements and standing should be excluded. If you don’t wish to do that then, of course, that’s your choice.

    “Maybe that 9 million figure isn’t being revised for a reason? Maybe they will use it as leverage to ditch the console or phase out Iwata, who knows?”

    So, Iwata is using his own actions (or lack of) as leverage to ditch the console or phase out himself??

    Right. That makes sense.


    “For sure it is a global market, no doubt JM. But at the same time Japan is somewhat isolated.”

    Except the issue isn’t about Japan. It’s about Nintendo in the global market.

    “So you can hold your straw man comments.”

    The straw man comments were directed at the needless dismissal of non-existent ‘haters’.

    @13 It’s clear Nintendo haven’t adapted and that their lack of agility is hurting. Not just in pure marketshare but with regards to their standing as a global and investable brand. Its much bigger than whether Mario sells X number of copies in a given week.

    In any technology driven industry, where the market can radically change in no time at all, questioning whether it’s worth adapting at all is like asking whether it’s worth learning to swim when you’re surrounded by water.

    Nintendo are stubborn when they’re leading. And that’s a privilige you can afford at such a time. But when you’re trailing it’s not the right approach.


    #15 12 months ago
  16. Dragon

    These are famitsu numbers, and an incomplete one. They release top 30 every week.

    MC numbers will come on Wed for 2 weeks. I am saving my ammo for that ;)

    #16 12 months ago
  17. Legendaryboss

    Ah right, i’ll shall restock and budge up my ammo for that day.

    #17 12 months ago
  18. dreamcastnews

    @15 I think you aren’t really giving Nintendo enough credit really. Wii, DS and 3DS have all been very strong and that’s under Iwata’s reign.

    Did you also discount the PS3 out of the race when it was flagging? It managed to turn it around though. You’re entitled to your view that’s without question, but it isn’t an exact science.

    I’d be interested to know how you feel Nintendo should ‘adapt’, coming out with a powerful machine like the other two doesn’t cover it I’m afraid. They’ve got the right idea with the Wii U but perhaps poor execution, the machine or next machine should really be a dock for their next handheld with 1:1 resolution between the handheld and TV console.

    #18 12 months ago
  19. OlderGamer


    “For sure it is a global market, no doubt JM. But at the same time Japan is somewhat isolated.”

    Except the issue isn’t about Japan. It’s about Nintendo in the global market.”

    No it isn’t, this article was strictly about Nintendo selling well in Japan over the holidays.

    #19 12 months ago

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