Bluepoint Games’ 2018 Playstation 4 port of Shadow of the Colossus (2006) for the Playstation 2 has nearly doubled the original launch week sales. The news comes via a media release from retail analysts GFK Chart-Track. They state that the launch week sales of the PS4 version were 74% higher than the PS2 launch. The figures do not including the numerous digital sales on PS4. This February 6 release followed a number of significant releases from other Japanese developers. Not only does Shadow of the Colossus highlight the success of both PS4 exclusives and remakes, but also a larger trend in the industry. The first quarter for games releases is weak due to releases being pushed for a pre-Christmas release. However Japanese developers are now filling this void in the market.
Japan’s Big Q1 Releases
Beginning the year off to a huge start, Japan had two significant PS4 releases before Shadow of the Colossus. They are Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World for the PS4 and Xbox One, and Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball FighterZ for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Before Shadow of the Colossus was topping sales charts, it was Capcom’s latest game that dominated. Monster Hunter: World is an open world role-playing game that released internationally on January 26. The game sold over 1.3 million copies in its first three days, dethroning PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as Xbox One’s top paid game. Most importantly, Monster Hunter: World’s release week saw over a 140 000 PS4 units ship in Japan alone. This was the best sales week for Sony’s console since its launch week in 2014. As of now, Capcom has sold over six million copies of Monster Hunter: World, including digital copies.
Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball FighterZ, a 2.5D fighting game, has reached similar sales success of two million copies sold. According to publisher Bandai Namco’s figures, that would make it the fastest selling Dragon Ball game of all time. Released on the same day internationally as Monster Hunter: World, and on February 1 in Japan, it is the first original fighting game to be released since Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite back in September 2017. In breaking the 4 month hiatus in fighting game releases, Arc System Works’ was able to cash in on a genre hungry for new releases. For a western comparison, EA Sport’s UFC 3 released for PS4 and Xbox One on February 2 was only able to make significant release sales in the UK, reaching #2 in the sales chart, with Dragon Ball FighterZ at #6 and Monster Hunter: World still at #1.
What does this mean for the industry?
The success of Shadow of the Colossus is both a testament to the popularity of the PS4 as well as the market demand for remakes. Another similar case can be seen with Team Ninja’s PS4 latest release. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, an action fighting game, released internationally on the 30 January 2018. On a domestic level it was the top selling game of its release week, with more sales than the second, third and fourth games combined at over 100 000. However, Shadow of the Colossus’ launch sales are an indication of a much more significant trend. With such huge releases at the start of the year, gamers can look to Japan and Japanese developers for their Q1 releases. While Western developers ignore this time period, in favour of Q4 and Christmas releases, gamers can still expect a chain of critically acclaimed releases in the New Year.
Looking at the success of Shadow of the Colossus’ sales following an already stacked January for Japan, expect the best to come from the East. This trend looks to continue with the international release of Dynasty Warriors 9 for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One yesterday, Metal Gear Survive for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One on February 20th and Kirby Star Allies for the Nintendo Switch on March 16th.