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Splatoon 3’s Launch Sales In Japan Are the Biggest In Gaming History

A wipeout, indeed

Footage from the launch trailer of Nintendo's Splatoon 3

Barely a month ago, when the Splatoon 3 Direct graced my YouTube feed, I remember uttering the sentence: “Who cares that much about Splatoon?” What a fool I was then. While Splatoon 3 is certainly beloved in the US, it’s not that popular. But now I’m in Japan. And the answer to the question I posed on my American couch is—Japan does. Japan cares about Splatoon immensely. Enough for 7 Eleven to sell purple melonpan. Enough for the sales upon Splatoon 3‘s first weekend to blow gaming records into (inky) smithereens.

Nintendo put out a press release, but the press release is coy and humble to the extent where the immensity of Splatoon 3‘s launch goes completely unmentioned. Splatoon 3 is not just the biggest launch a Switch game has ever had in Japan. It’s not even the biggest launch a Nintendo game as ever had in Japan. It’s the biggest launch any video game ever has ever had in Japan. And, need I remind you, Japan is the country where globally iconic characters like Mario, Link, Pikachu, Tom Nook, and (outside of Nintendo headquarters) Cloud Strife were all born.

It wasn’t even like Splatoon 3 just narrowly eeked out the record-breaking sales, either. The previous all-time record holder was Pokémon Black and White, which sold a whopping 2.08 million copies in just two days. If we narrow our field to the Switch, the record for three-day launch sales belonged to (unsurprisingly) Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which sold 1.88 million copies in three days. Very impressive, especially considering that just a short while beforehand, Splatoon 2 had made headlines for being the first game in over a decade to sell 2 million copies in Japan over its lifetime. (Remember how we all played New Horizons when it launched because we were all stuck at home? Good times. I won’t lie: part of me kind of misses that camaraderie.)

But then came Splatoon 3. Splatoon 3, on the other hand, sold 3.45 million copies in its first three days. In Japan alone. THREE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND COPIES IN THREE DAYS IN ONE COUNTRY. As Forbes points out, the original Splatoon‘s lifetime sales across the entire globe were 4.95 million.

And so Splatoon 3 is now the best-selling game at launch in Japanese history. I’ve certainly been seeing it around: electronics stores have been touting the game quite ostentatiously. The downside of this for me is that my Splatfest region is Japan, and given the lifetime popularity of the series here, everyone is much, much better at Splatoon than I am. Ah well.

Image credit: Nintendo

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Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.