Monster Hunter World was a risky venture for Capcom: a vast, expensive game for home consoles in a series mostly popular in a country where home consoles no longer are. But new numbers out of Japan today, along with an announcement earlier in the week, suggest that the bet has paid off big time.
According to figures from Famitsu, which tracks Japanese retail sales, Monster Hunter World has sold more than 1.35 million copies in the country since its release on Friday. That doesn’t include digital sales — physical copies of the game are widely sold out across Japan, and Famitsu estimates that the total number is more than 2 million.
Monster Hunter has historically been most popular on handheld systems, and the best-selling game in the series — 2010’s Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for PSP — sold 2.15 million copies in its first week. Considering that there have only been about 6 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold in Japan to date, it’s hugely impressive that World has managed to post comparable numbers. The 2 million figure would mean that essentially a third of the Japanese PS4 user base has gone out and bought the game in the past six days, making it by far the best-performing PS4 title in Japan yet.
This matters because Monster Hunter World is actually intended to bring the series to wider global popularity, and it was entirely possible that the Japanese numbers would suffer as a result of the focus on home consoles. That would mean other markets would have to pick up the slack, which was far from a sure thing given the series’ limited appeal in the West so far. But World has been extremely well received around the globe — to be clear, the game is incredible, and does a great job at attracting new players — and Capcom announced on Monday that 5 million units have been shipped worldwide.
That figure is for units shipped, not sold, to be clear — it doesn’t account for whether copies are sitting on store or living room shelves. Still, it’s the largest launch in the series' history, and the broader global interest can only be additive to the surprisingly strong Japanese sales. In short, Monster Hunter World's initial success represents a vindication of Capcom's strategy, and it's an encouraging sign for Japanese games in general.