Aside from helping to transport gamers to a virtual fantasy world in which bottles contain fairies, postmen can fly, and people have long and pointy ears, the developers of Zelda strive to make Nintendo money.  After all, if the games in the series didn’t turn a profit, the developers would have no choice but to discontinue the franchise.

Fortunately, even after 25 years, the Zelda series is still going strong. Yet strangely it seems to sell twice as well in the US as it does in Japan.

A user on the NeoGAF forums has posted a graph picturing the sales figures for each game in the series, and comparing Japanese sales to those of the USA.  Hit the jump to see this chart, which shows how the games financially compare to one another.

The user does not make it clear what the source is, but these figures (US is blue, Japan is red) are an interesting find for anyone looking to see how well the Zelda games financially compare to one another.  Keep in mind that Skyward Sword’s figures will ultimately have a dramatic rise.

This chart begs the question: what is it about the Zelda franchise that seems to appeal to the US more than to Japan? Let us know why you think the sales are double in the comments below.

Source:  NeoGaf (via GoNintendo).
  • This really doesn't come as a surprise. America is way bigger than Japan, but if Japan was the same size as the U.S. then the graph would feature opposite stats I should think.

    • TheMaverickk

      This ^^

      Although Japan is a very populated country it's still no where near the size of all of North America (remember that this sales chart isn't specifically the US alone but also includes all of us Canadians in the north as well since NA groups us all together).

      Sales figures in Japan are rarely bigger then in North America. I think one of the few franchises that actually sells more in Japan versus the US, is the Monster Hunter series, which they are crazy about over there in Japan, where as in the North America people barely care.

  • MrDudeyRock

    I'm still trying to figure out what "Hyrule Adventure" is ..

    • M3rror

      The very first Zelda. It has to be since it goes in order by release date. I'm still trying to figure out what the numbers mean…. Do they reperesnt in millions $? Thousands $? $'s? Copies in thousands? I just see numbers and bars which doesn't help me at all.

      • MrDudeyRock

        Lol, I was trying to figure out the scale too. But I think it's in thousands. Oh well, the graph doesn't even have some games, like FSA, and CE..

        • @MrDudeyRock: "Hyrule Fantasy" or "Hyrule Adventure" was the original name for the very first Zelda game, when it was only released in Japan. It was later dubbed "The Legend of Zelda" in both Japan and the rest of the world, very shortly after.

          @M3rror: Yes, the numbers are in thousands. If those numbers were by the millions, Nintendo would be RICH! …well, even more rich than they already are.

          • Banooru

            Copies or dollars/yen? Cause I know when you look at financial statements for Nintendo, they usually show U.S. Dollars in thousands and Japanese Yen in millions. I would assume this chart shows copies in thousands, but I wish we had been given a source and more info.

          • Jarkes

            Actually, the original game's full title in Japan was "Hyrule Fantasy: The Legend of Zelda."

  • Aspirety

    There's no Four Swords Adventures, haha.
    What an odd chart…

    • Nitsirtriscuit

      ninth down, combined with ALttP because of similarities in length, system, and style.

      • Jarkes

        Not Four Swords. Four Swords Adventures for the GC.

  • wow, Majora sold less than Seasons/Ages.. yeah, 3D remake please.

    • Jarkes

      Keep in mind, when Majora's Mask was originally released, critical reception was a lot more negative, as well as far less sales. It's only been the past few years where it's become so popular.

  • Eddy

    Much better to compare units sold than money made, I would think

  • guest

    Huh, I'm curious what the sales would look like if we add in VC sales, because I know some of the games would shoot up, earlier games from when the franchise had less fans have sold more now that they're available to buy again, I wasn't able to buy Link's Awakening until it came out on 3DS, and Majora's Mask which had a lot less time to sell on N64 has certainly been doing alright on the virtual console, etc. Majora's Mask really needs a 3DS remake.

  • Sanity's_Theif

    Damn, didn't realize Twilight Princess was the best selling Zelda game in the US

    • kjgkjg

      ….Look again. Ocarina of Time sold the most.

      • Banooru

        I think he means when you add Wii and Gamecube version Twilight Princess sales they equal 3,680 thousand (10 thousand more than OoT), they are separated in the chart. : )

        • Banooru

          Of course this does not include when you add OoT 3ds sales on top of sales for the original OoT, though. But I see GC and Wii TP as virtually the same game (motion controls aren't that advanced and they were released close together) whereas OoT and OoT 3ds had significant changes to the graphics and controls, and the period of time between their releases were vast.

  • Banooru

    Japan to U.S. sales are higher for games with toon link in them, and "Realistic" Zelda games that came out after Wind Waker seem to have lower ratios of Japan to U.S. sales than "Realistic" Zelda games that came out before Wind Waker, showing some cannibalism (certain Zelda games are eating the sales of other Zelda games, U.S. gamers tending to lean towards "realistic" Zelda games, and Japan gamers tending to lean towards toon link Zelda games). But, the diversity seems to be necessary in order for Nintendo to stay competitive. I'm hoping future Zelda games like skyward sword will end this separation though, after all, Nintendo's goal is "gaming population expansion by offering compelling products that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, gender, or gaming experience."

    In order to see how much money Zelda really brings in for Nintendo, you would have to show how much console sales go up when a Zelda game comes out (Captive pricing: pricing two or more products that work only when used together). And, of course, these higher console sales result in higher sales for games that consumers would not purchase a Wii in order to play. I would say it is in Nintendo's best interest to continue making high quality Zelda games. That's probably why Iwata wants Fujibayashi to make a quality Zelda game quicker for the Wii U (3 years, YAY), so they can increase sales for cheaper software. I think the innovation and artistic merit in Zelda games also builds Nintendo's brand equity.

  • Craig

    I think Japanese are so comfortable in their culture and experience more of these kinds of games all the time, even ones the west never sees. Whereas to us, it's a different experience to our cultures and we appreciate it more. It's kind of like how in situations, people see what the people involved in something can't see and it's exactly the same here – It's become a comfortability for the Japanese, whereas everyone else appreciates the different experience these games provide.

  • Nintenfan81

    Well, it's pretty obvious to me. The entire country of japan is the size of California. California is a massive state, but it's only a fraction of the whole US and its population, so naturally with the US having so many more people Zelda would sell better here.

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