Sales of Final Fantasy 16 are “very strong,” Square Enix insisted, telling IGN that the game has sold well relative to the PlayStation 5 install base.
The PS5 exclusive sold three million copies during launch week, a figure that sparked debate online about whether it met Square Enix’s sales goals.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake shifted 3.5 million copies in three days when it launched as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in April 2020. Final Fantasy 15 sold 5 million units on its first day, but it launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2016 and remains the fastest-selling game in the series’ history.
The discussion was fueled by a bloomberg The article noted that sales of the game in Japan had dropped precipitously in the second week after launch, that initial sales had “lag” behind previous games in the long-running role-playing series, and that Square Enix itself was “grappling with weak momentum” on its flagship franchise.
In a statement released by Square Enix exclusively to IGN, the company noted the difference in docking station between the PS4 dock when Final Fantasy 7 Remake debuted, and the PS5 dock dock when Final Fantasy 16 launched last month.
“With 38 million PS5 consoles shipped globally (as of March 31, 2023), Final Fantasy 16 has sold more than three million units worldwide several days after its launch on June 22, 2023,” Square Enix said.
Taking into account Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s acclaimed sales figures and the difference in the size of the PlayStation 4 install base at the time this title was released, we can see that Final Fantasy 16’s attach rate is exponentially high, given the PS5 install base.
“Square Enix considers Final Fantasy 16’s initial sales results to be very strong, and we will continue to implement a wide range of initiatives to get more people to play the game.”
Square Enix is notorious for their wildly inflated sales projections, with everything from Tomb Raider to Hitman considered internal failures despite millions of copies sold.
IGN sources familiar with Final Fantasy 16’s performance confirmed that sales have slowed significantly since its launch but the game has yet to be considered a disaster some have claimed it is. One source pointed to recent comments from producer Naoki Yoshida that DLC may be on the horizon, and thus more investment in development time, as a key indicator Final Fantasy 16 may have legs.
Final Fantasy 16 divided fans by leaving the role-playing features prevalent in previous entries for a more gritty, action-oriented experience inspired by Game of Thrones.
at IGN’s Final Fantasy 16 review We said, “Final Fantasy 16 features fast-paced, reflex-driven combat, and is definitely a departure from what fans might expect from a Final Fantasy game, but its excellent story, characters, and world-building are right up there with the best the series has to offer, and its innovative Active Time Lore feature should set a new standard for how long, story-packed games can keep players invested in its world.”
Louise Wooldridge, director of research at Ampere Analysis, said her gaming data painted a positive picture. According to data from Ampere Games – Analytics, Final Fantasy 16 was the sixth most popular title by monthly active users globally on PS5 in June, with 13% of PS5 players playing it. For three days after launch, Final Fantasy 16 was the second highest-grossing PS5 title by daily active users globally, falling short of FIFA 23 but surpassing the likes of Fortnite and Call of Duty. By the end of the month, it had fallen to fourth place but seemed to have leveled off, maintaining its lead ahead of big direct service titles like Diablo 4, NBA 2K 23 and GTA 5.
“Final Fantasy 16 launched in market conditions that were very different compared to those of previous franchise releases like FF7R and FF15, so comparisons are problematic,” Wooldridge explained.
For example, FF16 is a PS5 exclusive, and it launched earlier in the PS5 lifecycle than FF7R in the PS4 lifecycle. When the active PS5 installed base is less than 40 million globally, sales of three million are definitely not poor.
This may fall short of Square Enix’s expectations, but the launch environment and the game’s mature rating limit its potential somewhat. Given Yoshi-P’s success in converting Final Fantasy 14, I imagine expectations were particularly high.
“A rapid drop in sales is also expected in the days following the RPG’s launch – many of the initial sales will be from core gamers and fans of the franchise. It will be interesting to see if it can continue to sell and stay in the charts in the coming months, perhaps a better indicator of its performance.”
Wooldridge said the perceived lack of sales in Japan is due to the popularity of the PS5 compared to the Nintendo Switch in the country, with the latter dominating the sales charts. In Japan, Final Fantasy 16 drew twice as many players per day as the next most popular PS5 game, Apex Legends, and was the most played game in that time period.
“It’s not surprising that it didn’t sell well in Japan, given the new direction the game took,” said Wooldridge. FF16 has more serious and darker traits than previous versions, as well as – for most of the game – an older cast of characters. Players in Japan widely prefer younger characters (as we saw with Nier Replicant where in Japan the main character was a teenage boy, but in the Western release the main character was a man in his 40s). FF16 seems to be more aimed at Western audiences – it lacks the traditional JRPG style.
“The game seems to overlap with Final Fantasy’s core fanbase and wider ARPG audience — it’s strayed away from its original style and structure… not so far that it loses most of the franchise’s fans, but not far enough to fully engage more of the main players.”
While fans wonder what direction Square Enix will take with the inevitable Final Fantasy 17, the company is already working on a winter release for Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Part 2, which is officially called Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. The Final Fantasy 6 remake is said to be a hot topic within Square Enix’s walls, too.
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