Skyward Sword has received raving critical reviews in both Japan and around the world, but, for some reason, the Japanese market isn’t showing the same amount of love for this most recent Zelda title as the rest of us are. Released in Japan on November 23, 2011, Skyward Sword is one of Nintendo’s biggest budget projects, and also one of its most time-consuming. However, Japanese gamers don’t seem as impressed as the rest of the world.
As of now, the game has completely fallen out of the top twenty list of weekly sales in Japan, meaning that there were less than 43,000 copies sold this week. Debuting at the top in its release month, Skyward Sword sold less than 320,000 copies in November. Past Zelda releases have had much greater success following their debuts: Spirit Tracks sold 500,000 copies in its first five weeks on shelves in 2009, and Phantom Hourglass, a 2007 release, sold 631,100 in its first five weeks. Of course, it’s a common conception in the west that Japanese gamers are more likely to favor handheld titles over console ones. However, 2006’s Twilight Princess sold 280,000-350,000 copies in its first week alone, and that was solely for the Wii. That alone beats out Skyward Sword, but once Gamecube sales figures are factored in, Twilight Princess packed a much heavier punch than Skyward Sword did in its first week.
One thing can be said without a doubt: Skyward Sword has already attained great success, both critically and commercially. There’s nothing to worry about. It’s simply an oddity that this highly-praised Zelda title isn’t receiving the same amount of love in its home-country as it is in other parts of the world. Japanese sales figures for the Christmas week can be viewed here. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo responds to these results in their future titles–what are your thoughts on this surprising development?