Well, How Did Persona 4 And Devil Survivor Sell?

By Spencer . October 6, 2009 . 7:32am

image Shin Megami Tensei is on the rise, but how popular is the series overseas? Atlus revealed sales figures for games released from August 2008 to July 2009 in their latest financial report.


Here’s how the two MegaTen titles did in North America.


North America
Persona 4 (PS2) – 110,000 (150,000 expected)
Devil Survivor (DS) – 40,000 (25,000 expected)


We also have sales data for Japan, but since Persona 4 was released there on July 10, 2008 that number is from last year’s report. Considering Persona 4 came out between two fiscal periods it’s probably different and just here for a rough comparison between regions.


Persona 4* (PS2) – 300,000 (180,000 expected)
Devil Summoner 2 (PS2) – 180,000 (120,000 expected)
Devil Survivor (DS) – 110,000 (100,000 expected)
Persona (PSP) – 160,000 (50,000 expected)
Growlanser (PSP) – 50,000 (40,000 expected)


Whoa, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona exceeded Atlus’ projections three times over.

Read more stories about & & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Wow Devil Survivor did quite well in Atlus’s Expectation and Persona 4 was just shy of 40,000 copies.

  • I’ve always found Atlus’ sales projections to be interesting.
    I don’t have the chart with me now, but last time they released information like this they placed selected games on a xy graph and placed them on “new IPs that did well”, “new IPs that did poorly”, etc.
    Can’t remember if it applied to sales in Japan or overseas…

  • I’m also surprised at the Persona PSP sales… but similarly surprised at Persona 4’s US sales being short of expectations – the fanbase is rather loud. Wonder if it was just too late into the PS2’s cycle? I guess we’d have more evidence of that if US Devil Summoner 2 sales were available.

    • lostinblue

      I think so, PS2 was already on the decline to make those sales figures.

    • If the serial numbers on the DS2 boxes are any indication, then they haven’t made/sold more than 40K. There were no other versions AFAIK.

  • MadMirko

    Devil Survivor was released on 23rd of June 09, and these figures are up to and including July, so I’d say almost doubling sales expectations within a single month bodes well for a SMT:Strange Journey localization.


    On the other hand, I’m amazed that they’d expect the game to sell 25k copies in total and still figure they can make a profit. Localizing a DS game is probably pretty cheap, even one as text heavy as this one.

    • Moriken

      Well, translating text is at least way cheaper than rerecording voice acting…

      • MadMirko

        Yup, that’s one of the reasons why text > voice (and by extension sub > dub).

        • QBasic

          Hah! Don’t you wish. :P

          Even if you’re going with “sub only”, you still have to *purchase the rights to use it.* Nothing is free or cheap these days.

          So next time you catch game that has dual audio, be sure to understand extra money, and extra special love was put into it. :3

          • MadMirko

            I’m sure Atlus USA gets a “competitive price” from Atlus JP. ;)

            Seriously, I prefer original audio and subtitles in English. For me (and I’m aware that that means nothing) the extra money for the re-recording is wasted. Lower the price or give me a nice artbook, because that is something I actually get enjoyment out of.

          • Pichi

            Devil’s advocate, the paying for royalities for the original track for some are wasted, etc. I love when companies are able to to dual stuff. You can always wait for a price drop, but just because it has one track doesn’t mean its cheap all the time, though.(is mad at some prices of sub-only anime DVDs)

    • Joanna

      yeah, I’m happy to see that Devil Survivor exceeded expectation because I want strange journey as well. :D

      on a rather unrelated note, I finally picked up devil survivor last month…still have yet to play it because I’ve got no time, but I know it will be good. ;)

    • I hadn’t even thought about how Devil Survivor’s success might bode well for SJ’s localization!

      m/ o m/

  • Did P4 outperform P3 or not? That would be my main indication of success.

    • Yes, in North America.

      From last year’s report: Persona 3 74,000 (60,000 expected); Persona 3 FES 11,500 (5,000 expected)

      I’d have to dig through more presentations to get data for Japan.

      • Great, so my point stands. Atlus USA overshot their P4 expectations, but there was still a substantial increase in sales between two successive installments. That’s more than Konami can say about Silent Hill. OOMPH!


        AND NOW FOR A REQUEST SPENCER DEAREST. You know the “Like” button at the bottom of every comment? That’s nice. But there also needs to be a “Dislike” one to show disagreement. A simple thumbs up/down if you will.

        • Yeah, I miss that feature. I hope it’s an administrator setting that can be turned on/off as opposed to a Disqus-wide setting.

          A “Dislike” link would also have been helpful the one time I clicked “Like” on some random comment by mistake.

        • QBasic

          No. No. NO! I don’t want a dislike feature…

          Cause I’m damn well certain when a Dynasty Warriors post comes up, my comments will break records in “dislikes”…

          Hurm. =_=

          • AllenSmithee

            Well, at least a way to un-like if you will.

      • jj984jj

        According to NPD it ended up doing a lot better by the end of 2008, at least double that combined, so that’s probably why they expected more out of Persona 4.

  • AnonymousCommenter

    NPD has Persona 4 at 123,000 as of January 2009 in the US only. Presumably Canada accounts for +7-10% and the game has sold at least a few thousand a month since then.

    … so I wonder what accounts for the insane-o discrepancy between the Atlus released numbers and the NPD tracked numbers.

    • Does NPD track Amazon sales?

      • I should hope so! That’s where I buy all my new games.

      • AnonymousCommenter

        Two issues:

        1) NPD’s tracked number is /above/ the Atlus number, so whether they track an individual retailer or not is academic to the fact that either Atlus is releasing an incorrect or temporally incomplete number OR NPD’s extrapolation in this case is too aggressive and platform multipliers need to be adjusted.

        2) NPD tracks 100% of the US market. They track certain retailers, a healthy sample size, by direct point-of-sale information. They track other retailers through extrapolation. The entire market is accounted for.

        • Thanks for the reply. Appreciate the info. :)

          #1 is very strange. Do you think NPD is tracking shipped units as opposed to the number of units actually sold? Although, I can’t imagine why Atlus wouldn’t want to release the “shipped” numbers in that event.

          • jj984jj

            I don’t think companies pay all that money for NPD data to find out what they already know, it’s definitely sold. Perhaps they just overestimated missing retailers like Wal-Mart, or Atlus is being modest.

          • …you’re right. I’m an idiot. Sorry, brain fart.

          • jarrodand

            It wouldn’t be the first time. Off the top of my head, NPD also reported Tales of Symphonia to have sold more in the US than Namco reported shipping.

            Atlus isn’t being modest either, these are actually their shipment figures.

        • Joanna

          no love for Canada? Ignoring such a large landmass is bound to skew data. I’m sure if they included Canadian purchases the number would be substantially larger.

          • And we aren’t even counting Play-Asia, which people in a lot of different countries use to access games that aren’t made available to them otherwise.

          • jarrodand

            NPD also tracks Canada separately.

  • All right, now that I’ve stopped frothing at the mouth over those criminally bad Persona 4 sales (had the PS2 fanbase moved on?), let’s see what we can make of these numbers.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Persona 5 was multiplatform. 400,000 sold worldwide on a high-definition platform isn’t exactly cause for celebration. Atlus of course are excellent at budgeting, but even so, the amount of effort that goes into a single Persona game warrants higher sales.

    2. Expect to see lots more DS games. Unsurprisingly, both DS and PSP Atlus games have been doing great in Japan, and that’s clearly where a lot of the money is being made.

    3. I worry for Sakura Wars 5, which NISA is bringing over in…March? Even if it’s on PS2 and Wii, I wonder how much of a difference that will make. :(

    • lostinblue

      Sakura Wars 5 has to be taken like a grain of salt, I think… It’s an old game, and a numbered one at that, when the other never even made it over, I’ll buy it but I’ll think it would and will flop across all platforms.

      I think Persona 4 sales, if attached to PS2 and Wii when released a year back could have been a good surprise though.

    • BK0000

      I’m glad Persona 4 underperformed in America. I wish it had done the same in Japan. I want the REAL Persona series back. I hate those two weaboo simulation games.

      • This is one of those comments I wish I could vote down. Bad karma man. You’re basically biting the hand that feeds you.

        • BK0000

          I’d prefer for the series to die if we have to keep getting games like 3 and 4.

          • Or, you can just not play them and let those that like them (clearly a nice chunk of people) continue to enjoy them.

            Or you can be a vindictive prick.

          • Ereek

            Exactly. I don’t really like the idea of “voting down” but that guy is just saying it for attention. I prefer the older-style SMT games, too, but I still enjoy the new Persona-style. I see no reason to whine.

            Oh~ ATLUS, where is my Growlanser? Even that exceeded the Japanese sales.

          • Devonian

            Apparently you dislike games that are actually fun…

        • CleruTesh

          I just had to look up the word “weaboo”. So, basically, since most otaku are no longer offended by the word “otaku”, spiteful people had to make a new word to project their spite with? Yeah, there are plenty of unconstructive comments that I’ve read on here. But if there are “dislikes” that cause a comment to be censored, well people may be afraid to speak their mind. If they simply rack up in your profile as “likes” currently do, then the problem would likely escalate, with these types wearing that infamy as a badge of honor. My advice is to simply ignore (ie NOT respond) to those type of comments. That’s what I do anyways.

          • QBasic

            You just responded. You DO know that, right?

          • CleruTesh

            While my intention was to create a response to a comment that I felt was well-intentioned but unfortunately misguided; it did occur to me immediately afterwards that I was, in fact, responding to the unconstructive comment by proxy. So again, I am glad there is no “dislike” button, for I may very well have used it on my own comment.

          • Couldn’t care less about the weeaboo diatribe, doesn’t faze me. What I don’t appreciate is the hypocrisy behind wanting to have a cake and eat it too. Wishing Atlus games to underperform both in Japan and the US, so they’d go “back” to their roots? That’s not just wishful thinking, it’s plain ridiculous.

            Also “likes” don’t accumulate and I’m probably one of the only readers who uses it. Just a leftover from my slashdot days, hoping the negatively rated comments get hidden below a certain threshold.

          • CleruTesh

            No offense, but I feel I may have to take back my theory that you are, in fact, “well-intentioned”.
            While I disagree with censorship on standard Voltairian principle, I do sympathize with the desire to remove negativity.
            However, if you would like to censor comments, based NOT on their spitefulness, but, rather, on whether or not you agree with their philosophy on economic principles, and how that relates to their games of preference…
            Well then, good sir, you have perhaps become a textbook example of why I feel that censorship is a BAD idea.
            And for the record, I say that as a huge fan of P3 and P4.

            “Though I disagree with what you say, I would defend to my death your right to say it” -Voltaire

      • Perhaps you’d find a traditional Shin Megami Tensei game a la Strange Journey more appealing?

        I don’t think Persona is going back to the old formula any time soon. Look at those sales numbers on Persona 3 and 4. I highly doubt the old format would be any more relevant today.

      • QBasic

        Keep dreaming. I’m with you on Persona 3, but the fact is, it’s an Atlus money maker.

        Now, concerning Persona 4….you ARE aware that you’re a complete fucking moron, …right? Hating on the best SMT game in YEARS just because it follows a style similar to one of their shittier SMT games (P3) gives no real justification. It just makes you look like a pompous, ignorant shitstain.

        • AllenSmithee

          I dunno, the ad-hominem attacks involved with your post doesn’t exactly paint you as the brightest guy around. I can see your point, but let whomever feel however and enjoy what you want

          • QBasic

            That’s not the point; it’s all this recent elitism that’s been popping up in the SMT fanbase. “If you like P3, P4 or Devil Survivor, you’re a weaboo jackass.” I’m seriously getting sick and tired of that douchebaggery, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve seen it on the Atlus USA forums…

            And P4 is a special issue; there’s way too much hate for that game just BECAUSE of this elitist nonsense. I see absolutely no logic in bashing a game that’s on par with Nocturne just because it borrows a similar style to P3… And I say not that as a fan, but as a critic.

    • I think one of the big things aout the PS2 market possibly having “moved on” stateside is that a lot of gamers probably upgraded to PS3’s and with lack of backwards compatability remaining, they can’t even PLAY a PS2 game. I know that’s not a main reason but I guarantee this has hurt some of the gamers out there. That and without word of mouth advertising most people already think PS2 is dead. I hear Sony fans complain that not a single RPG has hit PS3, yet we’ve had a handful of RPG’s for the PS2. It’s hard to say.

      • QBasic

        US gamers are pretty retarded as a whole. I won’t even begin with the FPS craze.

        Most who upgraded to PS3s haven’t even sold their PS2s. This I’m certain cause the money back value for selling a PS2 at a gamestop or on ebay is piss poor; it just isn’t worth it.

        That said, to most retard gamers, anything last gen “isn’t worth playing, and therefore must suck.” At least that’s the mentality of 60%.

        • I can’t argue with a lot of that Q! =) Though, having seen lots of the habits at a game store you’d be surprised at how many of those “main stream big graphics” gamers easily trade in old systems for $20 or less. It’s quite sad. But overall, I hear you.

          • QBasic

            Ah, well, those are the especially sad cases. They deserve your prayers and pity so that they might find themselves a brain larger than a peanut in the next life.

  • Ereek

    Some of these show just how inaccurate VGChartz is.

  • malek86

    Did they really expect P1PSP to only sell 50.000 copies? It’s still a SMT game.

    • JeremyR

      Well, it was a port of a 10-11 year old game. 50,000 was probably over optimistic.

  • BK0000

    Hopefully those sales of Persona will convince Atlus to do both Persona 2 games for PSP.

    • QBasic

      Atlus USA has NOTHING, NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with development.

      Seriously. This fact is repeated on an hourly basis… Why don’t people get it…? =_=

      • BK0000

        I never said they did.

      • Maybe, JUST MAYBE, he was referring to the JAPANESE sales for Persona PSP.

        • AllenSmithee

          Even so the US version nets them in money, so that might have some kinda concern to them. Not much of one considering they make fine money by themselves without localisations but the point stands, doesn’t it?

          • You need to learn to reply to your email, “Allen”!!! I thought you wanted to do “this”.

  • weathervane

    So, is the discrepancy between P4 expectations and sales due to Atlus having unreasonably high expectations for the title, or is it really just not as popular as we all assumed? I guess that I have to agree with the commenter that said that the illusion of P4’s popularity can just be chalked up to a really vocal fanbase :(

  • P4 is good. But not mainstream. And when it isn´t mainstream it won´t sell as good as people want it to.

    Or it could have been that it was released for PS2 that dissapointed many people. Think if they had made it for PS3. The graphics! The music! The length!!

    Or something like that…

    I´m just happy to see it being released and I hope that Atlus will continue to release their SMT: Persona games outside of Japan. I would love for a PSP or PS2 version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment.

    That would make my day.

    • dv8shun

      Atlus (I believe) is not dumb and they knew full well that the majority of the 150,000 would its hardcore fanbase. I interpreted the sales for P4 in the US as the Megaten fanbase not buying as many units and nothing to do with the “mainstream gamer”.

      With the advent of services like Gamefly, used copies (Which I assume are not counted in the sales figures) and our favourite, torrent sites, I could see why maybe Atlus didn’t reach the 150,000.

      Just my baseless theory though.

      • Probably yes.

        I don´t know how Gamefly did it with the release since I bought mine online from VG+. Or maybe it was Rosenqueen.

        Torrents were used though. Not by me but I do imagine that a lot of people used that way to get their hands on P4. Which is a shame and yes, I can see why they didn´t reach their goal.

        Theories are just fine and dandy, Mine is also a theory to why it wouldn´t sell the wanted amount.

  • neo_firenze

    I’m most interested in seeing how Persona PSP performs in North America. If it does well, it bodes well for a P3 PSP localization. And if P3 PSP does anywhere near as well as P1 PSP in Japan, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to hope for Persona 2 complete on PSP…

  • Soma

    These sales figures certainly are interesting and a little surprising.
    I would have thought P4 would have sold much better considering how well P3 did in NA.

    • JeremyR

      I think it was probably hurt by P3 FES being released only about 8 months before. More than 1 game a year in a series is probably too much.

      • Hello_Hello

        That and a lot of people were expecting a P4 FES release at some point, and were a little sceptical when Atlus U.S.A. promised there wouldn’t be one when they have absolutely zero control over what games their parent company decides to make.

  • malek86

    What about DS2’s western numbers?

    Actually, scratch that, what about a PAL release?

  • Alrighty, lets hope PERSONA PSP did that well here, we could use more PERSONA on the PSP in the US

  • Man Persona 4 should have done WAAAAY better than that. For every copy Valkyria Chronicles sold, they too should have sold a copy, haha. I mean Persona 4 is right up there in the Valkyria Chronicles level of awesomeness.

  • dat_ass


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