Ni no Kuni Prices Slashed At Japanese Retail

By Ishaan . January 2, 2011 . 2:01pm

Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s Nintendo DS RPG, Ni no Kuni, hasn’t been doing so well. Or rather, it hasn’t been doing as well as both retailers and Level 5 expected it to do.


With 330,000 units sold as of December 26th, Ni no Kuni is only about halfway through its initial shipment of 600,000 copies ordered by retailers. And it would appear that these copies are being sold at slashed prices at Japanese stores, down from the original price of 6,800 yen.


On the web side of things, have more or less matched price, with the game going for 30% off at 4,772 yen. Meanwhile, AmiAmi, too, are selling Ni no Kuni at 44% off at 3,450 yen.


At this rate, we’re left wondering how much of a second shipment Ni no Kuni will actually see, once the first is sold out.

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  • JustaGenericUser

    Damn it. This is sad. I was hoping the game would do well. :(

  • MrRobbyM

    People holding out for PS3 version/DS piracy?

    • malek86

      Or maybe people understanding that a giant book is not good for portable gaming. Now if said giant book was not mandatory, maybe. But I hear you actually have to check it out while playing? That can’t be a good idea.

      That, or the game is just not that good. Whichever you prefer. By the way, how have import reviews been?

      Piracy can’t be blamed since other games sell better (and this one also has a huge book which you can’t easily get online…). And the PS3, well. There still isn’t much of a Level 5 fanbase on the console. I would think there shouldn’t be too much of an overlap.

      • i remember the giant book was just a book with all the spells in it, so you can practice the spell writings when your not on the ds, i dont remember hearing it being required

        • malek86

          I don’t really know if it’s required or not. It’s still a good part of the “appeal” of the game, though.

        • badmoogle

          Hmm i remember i read somewhere that you need the book in order to play the game properly.
          But even if its use is not mandatory perhaps many people thought differently?
          Maybe poor advertisement also played a role.

        • Yes, it is required, the first time you have to use it is for the first fire spell, you can’t find anywhere but in the book, also, you can advance or go back unless you use the spell, so you are pretty much screwed without the book (because the next part of the games also ask you to look for a spell on the book)

          • JustaGenericUser

            So it IS mandatory? Wow, that’s pretty dumb. They either didn’t think this one through or it was a desperate attempt to fight off piracy.

          • Yeah, 100% sure, it really sucks ._. if it gets wet or anything happens to it, you are screwed

        • Aoshi00

          I don’t think you draw the spells too much, just initially when you use it the first time, like the gate, fire, heal, treasure unlock, etc spells, I’ve only drawn them one time so far and afterwards it’s just commands.. It’s nifty like when you first go to the parallel world, the lamp-like monster Shizuku tells you to draw a spell to open the gate, then you flip to pg 20 and draw it by following the pattern, thought it’s kind of cool and immersive.. but you don’t constantly draw them.

          • Aoshi00

            Edit: played for a few hrs now and fought the 2nd boss, you do need to refer to the book and draw the spells a lot, the way they did it is quite clever as there’s a lot of information in it. There’s even an ancient language in it that has different letters/symbols that correpond to kana..

      • badmoogle

        Unlike the rest of the world the majority of people in Japan play their handheld games on the go which makes the mandatory use of a book (especially a big one) a bit akward to say the least.
        I think the book implementation fits better with the home console version.

        • Aoshi00

          But the book is neat because you look at the book and draw the rune w/ the stylus by following the pattern, unless they do it w/ Move on the PS3. It feels like breaking the 4th wall, because when Oliver’s companion tells him to refer to the magic book, and then I look at it like I’m Oliver, it’s kind of cool..

      • Ladius

        Completely agree with you. As much as I love big packages, the book in Ninokuni is simply unsuitable for real portable gaming (as opposed to home handheld gaming, more common in the west). Moreover, I have been hearing bad things about the game itself, from subpar, slow battle system to boring plot and characters, and probably this word of mouth isn’t helping its sales.

      • Aoshi00

        So Jpn gamers really don’t play any games at home anymore? I commute to work every day too but I rarely play games on the bus… so they don’t like console games (and prefer MGS PW or 3rd birthday on portables) and now a DS game w/ a book they don’t like it either? That’s pretty picky…At any rate, I just started playing it for several hours (I just put it on the bed and play it w/ the stylus), pretty fun so far, the graphics and sound are probably some of the best on the DS, tons of spoken dialogue too. I’m amazed they manage to pack so much in the little cartridge. The Ghibli animation looks really good as well, not even as pixelated as the Prof Layton cutscenes, and that’s on a blown up XL.The book might be cumbersome to bring outside, but I kind of like the idea as it feels like breaking the fourth wall, like he’s telling “me” to look at the book in front of me and draw the runes.. Will need to play more to see, but it’s a pity people are passing up on this game. One of the purpose might be to fight piracy, but the book is really well made and full of tons of text, very well put together, both material and content wise.If I like the DS game enough, would definitely get the PS3 ver as well.

        • Code

          Bah these kids don’t remember the days of drawing maps and writing stuff down >ww<'' I think the whole book concept is totally badass.

          rar, I definitely think it's neat, maybe it's not as portable as some games, but hey not every game has to be, they did something that’s suited to the DS, because it has a screen you can draw on not because it’s portable I figure, I don’t think that’s unusual. It’s like when Okami came out, I loved it on PS2, but at the time I totally felt like it would have went so much better with something like the DS or Wii where you have to actually make paint strokes (of course the Wii version came out later and I guess didn’t really do that I guess opo;) but still, it’s doing something outside the ordinary, no sweat >w<'

          It might not be "bus" portable, but I could still see playing it in different spots around home comfortably. Everyone's seems so high strung lately, is it really a write it off because you can't play it on the bus opo; I think I spend most of my portable time playing on my bed opo'

          • Aoshi00

            Totally, we don’t always need to play every single game on the go do we? If I’m outside I wouldn’t be playing games anyway.. Even for a long RPG on a DS or PSP, it’s still nice to lie on the bed to play it for dozens of hours, like watching a long Ghibli anime.. People complain console games making them cough potatoes and sit for hours in front of a TV (and then they don’t like Kinect that make people get up and break a sweat) and now a DS game having a book, come on.. To me this set up and experience feels very unique unlike your average game..I think the game’s not selling as well as they expected because your average Jpn movie goer/Ghibli watcher just aren’t that into games.. also this doesn’t have the word DQ or FF in its title.. Referring to the physical book from time to time is kind of cool though, like augmented reality or something… which is why I have been more interested in the DS game than the PS3 game even though that looks good as well.

          • Code

            Yeah exactly, I mean honestly when I’m on the go I like games I can quickly pick up and set down, so I rarely play anything too think like adventure games or JRPG any ways opo I usually just carry something easy going. This is the type of game I’d just play/enjoy at home.

  • vadde939

    At this rate I’d be suprised if a second shipment was any bigger than 150k. Sad to see the game isn’t selling so well.

  • guess everyone’s waiting for th ps3 version x)
    i am…

  • They should have named it Ni No KuDragonQuestNi. Think they could fly under the copyright infrigiment’s radar and make a lot of money at the same time.

    • Aoshi00

      Yea, people complain about only Call of Duty or Medal of Honor selling in the US, it’s the same w/ Jpn, unless it has Monster Hunter, Dragon Quest, or Pokemon in the title, games just don’t move that many copies (unless it’s Moe games), especially for a new IP.. I’m not sure if your regular Ghibli audience are gamers either.. The magic book is really a nice collectible though.. I keep wanting to touch it :)

  • HarryHodd

    I hoped this would do better. Hopefully the PS3 version does better.

  • Well dude, the best news is that the PS3 version is still slated to come out and that, at last check ,still looked to be of phonemically epic stuff, so I can not wait for that one. Hopefully lackluster performance doesnt affect plans for release here in domestic America.

    • Whatever happened to that USA branch Level-5 was supposedly opening back in September? I haven’t heard anything of it since July.

      • neither have i, ive been google-ing every once in a while but zero u.u.

      • Level-5 have not announced anything about the office. In fact, that little blurb that they were planning the building was something we dug up on our own – not a widespread press release announcement. So, they’re pretty quiet about their plans.

        But, it’s pretty clear that Level-5 wants to expand in the West.

        • Talking about digging up, i’ve found a game that release was really quiet o.0, and siliconera hasn’t said anything about it :0, is called arm’s heart for psp and it was directed by Matsuzo Machida (shadow hearts 1 and 2)

  • maybe people are just waiting for the PS3 version, i mean i would rather play the game HD and on my t.v, then SD on a handheld. sure more people got it but when you get a choice between hd and sd in this day and age which would you choose

  • NO



    • I don’t think they can cancel it after coming this far there is already a promo video so they should have most of the game done… it would be a total loss of money if they cancel it

  • This sucks, i wanted level 5 to conquer the world, and bring us their games in english

  • What did they expect? If my calculation is right… With the falling Yen, 6800 is over 200% what any non-peripheral standard issue DS game to date has ever retailed for in America.

    • It’s rising Yen, falling USD. Prices of Japanese games don’t change based on exchange rates anyways. You make it sound like that importers influence sales a lot more than the locals do.

    • Aoshi00

      You know that the Jpn MSRP for FF13 is over 9000 yen right (like $115 by current exchange rate, of course it’s like 1000 yen now in bargain bin)? Your average Jpn DS game runs from ~5000-6500 yen.. so w/ this extra book, it’s really not asking all that much.. most Limited edition or pre-order bonuses aren’t as well made as this book anyway.. and exchange rate (stronger yen, weaker US$) only has to do w/ us outside Jpn who import like Tommy Lee said, I think the import sales is negligible. So games are actually kind of cheap here w/ 360/PS3 for $60 and DS for $30-40 compared to Jpn.. of course games price do drop very quickly both in Jpn and the US..

      • Yeah. I’m just saying maybe some people have started to think they’re overpaying compared to us, and so being more frugal with game buying.

        • Aoshi00

          If this is called Dragon Quest no Kuni or something, people would buy it day 1 no questions asked though… That’s why FF13 sold that many copies in the first week..

        • Guest

          If this is called Dragon Quest no Kuni or something, people would buy it day 1 no questions asked though…

  • Picked it up on AmiAmi for that price. Sad to see it so heavily discounted already, but I can’t pass up an import offer that good. Now I can have some fun trying to stumble through another game I don’t even slightly understand!

    I hope both versions still make it overseas for a release though, I’d love to snatch up both the PS3 and DS versions in English.

  • PrinceHeir

    i think they were expecting the PS3 version more though.

    not to mention i think DS titles have long legs so i think they’ll probably sold everything in 2011.

  • JustaGenericUser

    On the “People are just waiting for the PS3 version” thing:

    Aren’t the two versions completely different from each other, though? I could swear the gameplay is at least. Story might be different, too, but I’m not sure.

    • IIRC, the only thing that’s supposed to be the same is Oliver’s back-story.

  • Hope we do get the PS3 version in the West. With a good localization!


    hd (or sub hd) graphics are going to kill the video-gaming business

    • Sorry, I struggle to see how HD graphics will kill the video-game business, dude! If the advent of high definition gaming had not occurred, I would have never been into consoles.

      • OVERUSED

        it creates shallow gamers who aren’t willing to try smaller video-games because only they care about hd graphics

        development costs continue to rise and it kills creativity (it hurts small developers and the indie developers)

        you can’t afford to be creative and take risks when your game cost 20 to 80 million dollars or more to develop

        • Gestahl

          You mean to say PC games all lack creativity and are shallow experiences, right? :-D

    • malek86

      Consoles have always been about graphics. It’s not like this “trend” started with the HD twins.

  • heartless141

    6800 for a DS game is always a no for me in the first place.

    • Aoshi00

      It’s really not that bad, the average Jpn DS game is 5000-6500 yen anyway.. w/ this big book it’s actually quite worth it.. Actually that was my first thought when I heard about the price too, but they didn’t skimp on the book’s quality at all, and it’s kind of worth the original price, it’s just too bad it drops so quickly, wish I had waited a little longer before importing it.. I only paid like $20 more though…

      • badmoogle

        Out of curiosity does the book have any Ghibli artwork?

        • Aoshi00

          Hm.. it’s not really in Ghibli style, maybe the monsters a little bit.. more in the style of a fantasy or fairy tale book, but lots of detailed artworks and illustration that look very nice, feels like you’re holding a replica of what Oliver is holding, not just a cheap manual to refer to spells or monsters. There’s some mini-games someone checks w/ Oliver to see if his Magic Master is “authentic”, like Find Waldo or some translation game (they made up some different alphabets like Hunter x Hunter).

  • Yukito

    Studio Ghibli.
    Nintendo DS.
    Roleplaying Game.

    How the hell does this make any sense?

  • I don’t blame them. I would hold out on the PS3 version too.

  • Joanna


    I really really want to see this over here. I still hope either Level5 or Nintendo takes a chance on this. A game like this shouldn’t be Japan-only. :(

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