Splatoon 3 becomes biggest video game launch ever in Japan

Today's Nintendo Direct presentation kept the momentum rolling.

Last week, Nintendo launched Splatoon 3 for the Nintendo Switch, the latest entry in the ink-based multiplayer shooter. Critically, the game has received almost universal praise, with many reviewers praising the game’s creativity and family-friendly qualities. Players appear to agree, as the game sold 3.45 million units--both physical and digital--in Japan alone during the launch weekend.

This is by far the largest launch of a video game in Japan, eclipsing that of Animal Crossing New Horizons in March of 2020; that game sold 2.68 million units in its launch window. 2010’s Pokémon Black and White (2.64 million),1999’s Final Fantasy VIII (2.50 million), and 2009’s Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (2.34 million) round out the top five Japanese game launches of all time.

On Twitter, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad commented on just how remarkable a launch Splatoon 3 had in Japan.

“What’s notable here is that this isn’t just a record for the Splatoon franchise in Japan, it’s a record for any game launch in Japan,” Ahmad tweeted. “In other words, the game sold more in 3 days than Animal Crossing New Horizons for Switch, the previous fastest selling Switch game in Japan, and Pokémon Black & White, the previous fastest selling game of all time in Japan.”

The game also performed well outside of Japan. According to European market research company GfK, and asreported by GamesIndustry, Splatoon 3 topped the UK boxed charts for the first time in the series’ history.

Splatoon Wii U and Splatoon 2 on Switch both debuted at No. 2 on the GfK Entertainment All Formats Chart in their launch weeks, with Splatoon held off by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Splatoon 2 held off by Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy,” a GfK spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz.

In response to the news of Splatoon 3’s huge launch, stock prices for Nintendo shot up an impressive 5%, according to CNBC

The momentum kept rolling for Nintendo today following the company’s Nintendo Direct, which boasted a number of bombshell announcements, headlined by a title and release date reveal for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom; the follow up to 2017’s Breath of the Wild will launch in May 2023.

Other announcements from today’s Direct include new entries in fan-favorite franchises like Pikmin, Octopath Traveler, Fire Emblem, and Mario + Rabbids

Nintendo has enjoyed a period of strong growth throughout the lifecycle of the Switch console, and it is certainly capitalizing on its hits. Today’s Direct presentation touched on nearly all of the company’s mega-hit IPs, including future content updates for Splatoon 3. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo capitalizes on its current momentum.

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Editor-in-Chief

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.