Splatoon 3 hasn’t just climbed to the top of the charts, it’s absolutely demolishing them, at least in Japan. Nintendo announced the latest sequel in its party shooter series has already sold over 3 million copies in just three days there, making Splatoon 3's launch bigger than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and any other Switch game you can think of.
“[D]omestic sales of the Splatoon 3 game for the Nintendo Switch system have surpassed 3.45 million units in the first three days since its launch on September 9, 2022,” Nintendo wrote in a press release today. To put that number in perspective, it’s more than the combined launch sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Pokémon Legends: Arceus in Japan.
Here are the top four Switch game launches according to Famitsu:
Splatoon 3: 3.45 million units (September 9, 2022)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 1.888 million units (March 20, 2020)
Pokémon Legends: Arceus: 1.425 million units (January 28, 2022)
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl: 1.396 (November 19, 2021)
While Splatoon 3's reviews have been pretty positive so far, this is a huge jump since the last game about painting battlefields and making billboard memes released. Splatoon 2's lifetime sales in Japan are only 4 million, and Splatoon 1's sales globally are only 4.95 million. This means that if the momentum continues, Splatoon 3 is likely to outsell the first game in just one month, and in just one country.
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.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 12, 2022
We don’t have U.S. sales numbers for the game yet, but initial indications point to Splatoon 3 being one of the biggest Switch games ever. And it’s not because it’s some massive evolution of the series either. I played it a fair bit over the weekend, and in many ways it feels like the sort of iterative improvement you’d expect for an online shooter, taking the lessons learned from Splatoon 2 and making a more refined and robust sequel.
So why the newfound jump in popularity? Possibly, it’s because everyone who originally sat Splatoon 2 out (which released shortly after the Switch did in 2017 alongside hits like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey) wanted to get on board after years of positive buzz from one of Nintendo’s most passionate fandoms. The Switch has also sold 25 million units in Japan and 111 million globally in the years since. Maybe the Splatoon 3 hype simply shows the power of releasing a major first-party Nintendo game on the fifth best-selling console of all time.