Worried about sales numbers? I'm not.

#1 Posted by Darknezz (64 posts) -

The question of whether Xenoblade will sell well in the west has been cropping up a lot since it was announced for an April 2012 release. Personally, I think it'll do just fine. Take a look at sales figures for recent JRPGs. The numbers below are all from VGChartz, which I believe to be accurate.

Monster Hunter Tri

Japan - 1,054,200

US - 454,925

Europe - 305,480

Keep in mind with this one, Monster Hunter is one of the biggest properties in the Japanese market, while being relatively unheard of in the west. This is a fringe case, where the Japanese market outsold both the US and Europe combined; even so, the 750,000+ units sold worldwide more than make up for translation and localization costs, thus turning a profit. To not publish this game outside of Japan would have been a very clear mistake. Let's continue with some other titles.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Japan - 114,074

US - 240,918

Europe - 87,167

This is the second-highest selling JRPG on the Wii, according to VGChartz's search sorted by popularity. When sorted by total sales (worldwide), it comes in fourth, beneath a Pokemon game (and, come on, of course that sold gangbusters) and a Dragon Quest game.

This is where we start to see the trend for most lesser-known JRPG titles. Not only does the US market outsell the Japanese market, it even beats out both other regions combined. Go ahead and look at some other small-name releases out there, like Rune Factory: Frontier or Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon.

On the total sales side of things, next up is Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

Japan - 239,801

US - 175,143

Europe - 126

This is, again, kind of a big-name title in Japan, so it's not surprising to see it sell well in the Japanese market. It's also anime disguised as a JRPG, so it's not surprising to see it do poorly elsewhere. This does, however, continue to show another trend worth noting; JRPGs do very, very poorly in Europe.

Even so, a wide North American release selling more than 70% of the units sold in Japan is pretty good. I'd be willing to bet that covered the costs of localization and then some.

Oh, and those Pokemon numbers I mentioned earlier?

Pokemon: Battle Revolution

Japan - 303,646

US - 696,462

Europe - 292,220

Once again, this shows the same market trends as before; European sales being poor (in comparison to other markets), the US dominating the market when it wants to, and the Japanese market not caring about anything that isn't Monster Hunter.

Honestly, I'm just surprised it took Nintendo this long to announce Xenoblade for North American release. They must know these numbers, which means someone has to have noticed the same things I'm pointing out. The fact that it was translated and localized for the English language at all means that Nintendo would have been foolhardy to not bring it over State-side, given that a European-only release could very easily be a waste of money.

With proper marketing and a quality product, and we know that Xenoblade is the latter from European and Japanese publications' reviews, the North American market is pretty easy to sell to. My only worry is that it won't sell well because of poor marketing and, let's be honest, a less-than-ideal release window, and then someone's going to point at that and say, "WELL, GUESS WE SHOULDN'T BRING OVER THESE OTHER WELL-RECEIVED RPGs, EITHER!"

Those're my thoughts on it, anyway. I'm curious to hear other peoples' thoughts on this.

#2 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4672 posts) -

I agree. It was silly for them not to release it in NA along side Europe.

#3 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

Vgchatz data is highly questionable

#4 Posted by Darknezz (64 posts) -

@slightconfuse: Is it? What makes it questionable? And do you know of a better source for these numbers?

#5 Posted by Animasta (14632 posts) -

@Darknezz said:

@slightconfuse: Is it? What makes it questionable? And do you know of a better source for these numbers?

they don't actually get their numbers from anywhere. they just make them up.

#6 Posted by Bribo (589 posts) -

Well, if we go by the Tales of Symphonia numbers (and we kind of have to seeing as it's THE ONLY JRPG ON THE LIST, YOU BLITHERING TOMFOOL) then Xenoblade should do very well.

#7 Posted by Darknezz (64 posts) -

@Animasta: I dunno, this seemstrustworthy enough. I mean, I'm not really sure where you'd find more accurate numbers.

#8 Posted by Hailinel (23658 posts) -

@Darknezz said:

@Animasta: I dunno, this seemstrustworthy enough. I mean, I'm not really sure where you'd find more accurate numbers.

The thing is, that's still just an estimate, at best, and not necessarily an accurate one. NPD sales data is far more trustworthy, but they don't release those numbers publicly.

#9 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

being critically acclaimed does not translate to sales just look at rayman origins or Shadows of the Damned.

Also i feel that 3rd party games have not sold as well on the wii as other consoles

#10 Edited by UnrealDP (1220 posts) -

You're comparing a bunch of well known franchises and Muramasa to a single JRPG? The JRPG was also the worst of the four in sales.... Oh well, I hope still Xenoblade does well and I guess that now there's a bunch of Wii's not in closets due to skyward sword, it might actually sell more than twelve copies.

#11 Posted by bigsmoke77 (783 posts) -

wow a new member who is not an idiot, don't see those alot! Excellent post

Online
#12 Posted by Dalai (6974 posts) -

My guess is bringing the game to the states is going to be cheap enough to where if they sell 100,000 copies, they'll still make a profit. They don't have to do much development-wise since it's already translated and the niche JRPG fanbase will flock to it because of its status as an exceptional game. However if Nintendo is smart, they should try to make an attempt to market the game at least a little bit.

Online
#13 Edited by Brackynews (4035 posts) -

BTW, several of your links are 404ing.

@Darknezz said:

The question of whether Xenoblade will sell well in the west has been cropping up a lot since it was announced for an April 2012 release.

...

Honestly, I'm just surprised it took Nintendo this long to announce Xenoblade for North American release. They must know these numbers, which means someone has to have noticed the same things I'm pointing out.

Your premise seems disjointed. Nintendo holds off on N.A. continent release, to something of an outcry (droughtcry?), then when they finally announce, the pundits start to question how well it will actually do? Who are these armchair-analyst shareholders distraught about sales numbers? (I prezume many of them read VGChartz.) However, if you want to spark debate about why Nintendo took so long, that's a train I can ride.

The two reasons Nintendo has for not localizing a European game to North America comes down to either licensing restrictions, or profitability. If they were confident in the titles, they would not have hesitated. These decisions would have been made long before the 3DS mea culpa. Now that they are truly taking a corporate loss, the economies of localizing (don't kid yourself that translation is the only cost) start to look a lot better, not only for profit but for mindshare. Appealing to the Core as Reggie likes to say. Absolutely I will give Xenoblade a whirl, but I won't buy it unless I do like it. In my mind, Xenoblade is sitting on the same plane as Rogue Galaxy. Hardly destined to be a barnburner or trailblazer, not like other un-Japanese JRPGs Shadow Hearts or Skies of Arcadia. If I wasn't looking carefully, I might mistake the cover for FFX.

Many of those numbers you gave are not particularly noteworthy. Not from profit, or attach rate perspectives. Less than a million sold for a Pokemon game in a single region is atrocious. Epic Mickey has higher reported total sales, and you can debate all day which mouse is more beloved. MHTri is the high water mark, and Nintendo knows perfectly well there is not another JRPG title that will do better on consoles. Why do you think all the important Dragon Quest releases have gone over to the DS? Pokemon is the N.A. winner because in Japan it's the DS ubiquity that drives Pokemon sales; here it's the Wii. Despite your other numbers showing the U.S. being a sales leader for specific titles, those games are not the broader market picture, and are miniscule considering potential sellthrough of popular Wii games being 5-10 million, if we leave out NSMB as an outlier. Just because the U.S. market has a higher ratio of sales compared to E.U., doesn't guarantee that net profits will be significantly better. Licensing, logistics, marketing, all entirely different animals across the pond. And let's not forget the simple fact that the delay has already resulted in customers importing the game. So I'd bet you can lop off a minimum of 15% from any sales projections, and the only reason I'd go that low is because of region lock. (That's million hits)

Kooloo-limpah!
The fact that it was translated and localized for the English language at all means that Nintendo would have been foolhardy to not bring it over State-side, given that a European-only release could very easily be a waste of money.

This has not historically been Nintendo's way of doing things. There was a member poll about if Rosy Rupeeland should be brought over, and generally the feedback was negative (because Tingle). So I imported it. They do gauge the interest of their customers. This is why you can declare your intent to buy something on their website for bonus coins. Nintendo is one of the key reasons pre-orders were established as a business model in the eighties. They know how to look out for this stuff. Foolhardy is not the word.

#14 Posted by Darknezz (64 posts) -

@UnrealDP: The reason I use numbers from bigger franchises is because they show market trends much better than smaller numbers do. If you notice, I did pull in more references for smaller games; Rune Factory and Fragile Dreams, both for the Wii, show the same kinds of trends I'm trying to point out.

@Brackynews: The people clamoring for a North American release aren't the same people wondering if the game will sell well. Largely, the people who want the game released here probably couldn't care less about whether or not Nintendo will profit; they just want the game. The people wondering about whether or not it's a good business move to release the game for North American systems overlap with that audience, sure, but some people just like to speculate on this kinda stuff.

The rest of your post is definitely worth thinking about. Of course, we don't really know one way or another whether the game will be able to turn a profit. I'm mostly just pointing out that the market trends point to profitability, especially given the outcry from fans who want the game brought over. I'm willing to believe that the game will sell well enough to justify bringing it over.

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