A Closer Look At Pikmin 3’s Launch Sales In Japan

By Ishaan . July 20, 2013 . 5:00pm

Nintendo released Pikmin 3 in Japan last week, and the game sold 92,720 copies in its first week. That’s more than Pikmin 1 sold in its first week, but far less than Pikmin 2.


Here’s a look at the sales of all three Pikmin games to date, along with their sell-through percentages, courtesy of Japanese sales tracker Media Create:


(2001) Pikmin – First week: 90,000 (54.9%)  | Total sales: 549,000

(2004) Pikmin 2 – First week: 160,000 (48.4%)  | Total sales: 484,000

(2013) Pikmin 3 – First week: 92,720 (48.45%)


Ouch. Quite the drop from the previous game. Additionally, it also needs to be noted that while Pikmin 1 didn’t sell quite as much right out the game, it went on to sell a high number of copies in the long run.


It should be interesting to see if Pikmin 3 can make up for the drop by selling consistently over time like Pikmin 1 did; although, in order for it to do that, the Wii U itself would need to sell to a larger audience first.


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  • kuroneko0509

    Just to be fair, Pikmin 3 first week sales is only two days compared to Pikmin 2 which is 4 days. Plus, Media Create doesn’t track digital download, which some people might prefer to download it instead of getting physical copy.

    • Crevox

      This is true especially with the pre-order bonus for the digital download they had going on.

    • TheHolypopeofgaming

      Japan doesn’t do digital downloads.

      • Wasn’t there some promo in Japan where people could save 10% on Pikmin 3 and some other games if they download them? I just did a search to see if what you said was true, and if this discount is the case, it would probably prove you wrong.

        • TheHolypopeofgaming

          I was reading an article in OXM that most consoles in Japan aren’t online.

          • AlexanderPappas

            If someone has a Ps3 for example in Japan, and internet connection why wouldn’t they have online. There is a reason there is Japanese PSN and Eshop stores with a different selection of games. Plus I play Japanese people all the time online.

          • PreyMantis

            Are you trolling or something? I really hope you’re just trolling.

          • FoxMulder900

            Consoles have been online in Japan for longer than any other region. There was a modem for the original Famicom for god’s sake.

          • J_Joestar

            source? I don’t really see an Xbox magazine being an authority on Japan…

        • MoustachePikachu

          That’s actually true. In fact Siliconera did an article on it not too long ago.
          Here is the article article http://www.siliconera.com/2013/07/03/nintendo-pushes-digital-releases-with-pikmin-3-cheaper-on-the-eshop-than-at-retail/

      • Spirit Macardi

        I seriously hoping you’re joking, since that isn’t even close to being true.

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        I think that has been kinda debunked with the fact that tons of Animal Crossing and Friends Collection in Japan sells digitally.

        Not to forget, Nintendo is actually doing a huge promotion with Pikmin where if you bought the game digital, it will be cheaper.

      • Yeah I am sure all those phone games that Japan loves all have physical versions of those download only ti-


  • komiko12

    I think had Pikmin 3 was released at a time when there are many Wii U units sold, it would’ve sold much higher at launch. But of course we all know that Pikmin 3’s job was to increase the sales of the Wii U units.

    • Samuel

      I’m sure Nintendo knew that Pikmin 3 wouldn’t be a system seller. It’s a great franchise, but its system sales are no where near the amount of their main franchises like Mario Kart.

  • James Enk

    the truth is some of the games that are going to get released for the WiiU in the coming months have to be “sacrificed” for the good of the system they won’t perform as good as they could have under better circumstances because of the small install base but they would surely help in growing it and that’s the price Nintendo has to pay for the first year of the system

    • AlexanderPappas

      Pikmin 3 runs at 60 fps and has gorgeous graphics. There are 5 ways to control the game. TV+gamepad, TV+Gamepad+wiimote and Nunchuck, TV+ pro controller+ Gamepad, Gamepad, Gamepad wiimote and nunchuck. The gamepad has a built in sensorbar if you wanna play with wiimote and nunchuck off the TV. None of the control schemes Ive mentioned are multitiplayer control schemes. They put a lot into this game. I think Pikmin 3 is preforming pretty damn good.

      • Arrei

        Sales performance, not game performance.

      • James Enk

        don’t get me wrong i am not underestimating the quality of the games

    • This is pretty spot on. Chicken and egg. The system needs games in order to pick up traction. The games that will help it do that are Mario and Zelda and Donkey Kong. In the meantime, these other less popular games will have to hold the fort so people don’t begin trading their Wii U systems in.

      Would games like Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101 be better off being released in 2014, once the Wii U has a larger userbase? Yes, definitely. But unfortunately, Nintendo don’t have that luxury. These are the games that are ready now, and they need to put them out there, because there’s absolutely nothing else.

      It’s wasted potential, but there’s no choice.

  • Farid Belkacemi

    Like the Rock Pikmin, Pikmin 3 will probably have thin but strong legs :)

  • Gemlit

    Think Pikmin3 would have sold better if it were sold as a collection of Pikmin games, perhaps a trio for how about $49.99?

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu


      Certainly would have helped New Playy Control Pikmin’s price being reasonable though (it as of now costs more than Pikmin 3 does)

  • Arrei

    All I know is, this is one game I’m picking up immediately when I get a Wii U myself. It’s been too long since the last game!

  • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

    You know, those numbers represent the game being out for only 2 days. That’s nothing, so unless I’m missing something and the other two numbers also belong to data from two days only I think it’s an extremely unfair comparison between the three titles~.

    • ronin4life

      I had heard pikmin 2 was 4 days of sales. The GC was also several years old at that point.

    • However, Pikmin 3 is also an HD game and cost far more to develop than the first two by Nintendo’s own admission, so that’s a factor as well, and perhaps a far more important factor.

      • garf02

        still dont matter, you are weighing the sales of 2 days VS the sales of 4 – 7 days the previous games had. nor the same userbase (numbers wise)

        PK2 was released when GC had an install base easily on a tenths of
        millions (lets say 20M), for PK3 to sell 57.50% of PK2 sales on a WiiU userbase that is
        just the 20% of GC was.

        If we expect the number to grow evenly, had WiiU been on the 20M units mark, PK3 would have sold 460.000 on 1st 2 days

        not sure if they will apply or not for PK 1 or PK2, but PK3 was
        released on the 13, and th sales data cut at 14, yet it list it as “week
        sales” yet it was only 2 days

        so if we take on account user base, days, its pretty much retarded to try to compare all 3 launches.

        • If we expect the number to grow evenly, had WiiU been on the 20M units mark, PK3 would have sold 460.000 on 1st 2 days

          And that’s precisely the point. Wii U isn’t at that mark and won’t be for another year or so at least. There are no ifs and buts. Sales are sales.

          It’s like what someone else mentioned above. Some of the Wii U games coming out over the next couple of months are going to suffer low sales because the Wii U userbase is too low. There’s no avoiding it.

          • garf02

            you really should dig a little bit more before doing comparison.

            1) all sales on PK 1 and PK 2 are retail, there were not downloads at that time, while PK we only have retail sales, no idea how many more Online sales were, an people have a reason to buy online, ti was cheaper)
            2) PK 1 released on Oct 26 /2001. this is a high sales season, so for a new IP on an console relatively new at that time its logical to have low numbers.
            PK 2 released on april 29/2004 but despise not being on a high sales season, its was a sequel and GC userbase had reached its peak to that time.

            3) the other important thing about the dates is that if Media Crate always count Monday to sunday weeks.

            PK 1 released on a Friday, That means It had 3 days worth of sales.

            PK 2 released on Thrusday, That means it had 4 days worth of sales

            PK 3 released on Saturday, That means it had 2 days Worth on Sales

            so, in really the comparison will be

            PK 1: 90K Units in 3 day (30K units per day average)

            PK 2: 160K Units in 4 days (40K units per day average)

            PK 3: 92K + X Units in 2 days (46K + (X/2) Units per day average)

            so if you see, PK 3, will be outselling its previous entries
            X = Online sales

          • You’re missing the point. None of these things ultimately matter. A lot of this information is irrelevant, which is why I chose not to make mention of it.

            The point is that Pikmin 3 cost Nintendo a lot more time and money to develop than either Pikmin 1 or Pikmin 2 did. This game has been in development for several years, changed platforms in the process, and gone from SD to HD, which is a significant increase in development costs.

            Even if Pikmin 3 had sold the same amount as Pikmin 2, that isn’t good enough—not when the game cost them so much more to develop. Selling 90,000 copies of an HD game is not the equivalent of selling 90,000 copies of an SD game.

            Also, let’s be generous and assume they sold an additional 15% of Pikmin 3 copies via download sales… that brings Pikmin 3 sales to about 113-114k. That isn’t much better. A difference of a couple thousand copies here and there means nothing. Not when you’re going from SD to HD.

          • garf02

            ok lets start by a basic: Please tell me how much PK 3 cost was, to develop?
            Unless you have not noticed N dont need to break the 5M sales to make a game profitable, as example, a full AAA HD Fire emblem Game in WiiU will only need 700K sales to break even.

            Source: http://mynintendonews.com/2013/07/10/if-fire-emblem-came-to-wii-u-it-would-need-to-sell-700k/

            2nd, even if you “are right” and the sales are low, Nintendo games dont follow the usual high-low sales and then disappear, N games keep selling even during the whole sale, so life time sales eventually justify the game.

            and then “None of these things ultimately matter. A lot of this information is irrelevant, which is why I chose not to make mention of it”

            >Hey, PK 3 sold less than the previous ones
            But we are not counting Online, just retail
            >Doesnt matter
            But PK 1 had more days on the count, so did PK 2
            >Doesnt matter

            See how biased and dumb this sound ?

  • puchinri

    That’s interesting. Pikmin 2 did do a whole lot at once, but it still sold less overall than the first (I wonder how the sales of each look over time). Also, 3 has done very well for the course of two days. I can’t wait to see how the numbers go.

  • Kelohmello

    Irony of nintendo’s situation right now is that Wii U is an HD console, which means games are going to cost more to make… and yet they’re not selling consoles, which means they’re not making more money, which means they’re suffering massive losses, even on their popuar first party games like Pikmin. These sales numbers speak for themselves.

    Kind of ironic too, Nintendo’s selling each Wii U console at a loss in order to make up those numbers with game sales… doesn’t seem like that’s working out for them very well.

    • I think you’re being just a tad overdramatic. This data comes from only 2 days of sales. And in those 2 days, Wii U sales nearly trippled compared to the low numbers it was selling before, which is a dramatic difference considering those low numbers, though it puts it at a more normal rate that Wii U numbers should have been selling since the beginning.

      It proves what people have been saying all along: Software sells hardware. And if Pikmin was able to increase Wii U sales, even if it isn’t permanent, it does foreshadow how the system will sell once more popular games like Mario 3D world come out. It’s really impossible right now to compare sales of Pikmin 3 and the first and second game because its only been out for a week, so it’s way too early for people to judge these numbers as underwhelming or good. And as others have been saying, digital sales are not counted in this chart.

      You can’t say they’re suffering massive loses just based on these numbers alone. The game hasn’t been out long enough to make a real judgment. Even if the game is HD, I somehow doubt the game’s budget put it in a situation where it would need to sell over 2 or 3 million copies to profit. I imagine that Nintendo would have been smart enough to manage the game’s budget appropriately, especially considering how the last two games performed. Don’t forget that at one point this was supposed to be a Wii game.

    • heavenshitman1

      Sony (SCE specifically) is losing money. Sony’s selling devs and assets. Nintendo is appearing to about buy another dev Atlus.
      XBOX charges for online and still throws advertising in (so I read). And XBOX has barely been a profit from the start.
      Pikmin 3 at that kind of sell through will very likely be a profit. Nintendo run smaller teams, hence why their games take a while. According to one article I read, Nintendo would have to lose 100s of millions for decades before they’re broke

  • Solomon_Kano

    Looking forward to seeing where it stands on next week’s chart.

  • Herok♞

    I would wait until we have the download sales numbers and more then 2 days to make fair judgement, since the push for downloading was a big thing there.

  • Paladinrja

    Another doomspin article. Clicked on it expecting a positive article about the sales increase for the Wii U – instead got a anti-Nintendo fanboy post not unlike that we see in forums for 9mths.
    I mean what fucking relevance is this?
    Pikmin 1 sold exclusively on the NGC. A low volume instal base.
    Pikmin 2 released 2yrs later, sold mostly on the freak Wii even though it released on the NGC – so combined sales.
    Pikmin 3 – 2 days.

    Really Ishaan, you coulda just posted this in game forums, like every other moron does. Ridiculous that this is tagged and misleading.

    • Those sales for Pikmin 2 don’t count the Wii version at all. Those are for the Gamecube version only. I’d suggest doing your research before you decide to come into one of these threads and start insulting people or you’ll be given the boot very quickly I’m afraid.

      • Paladinrja

        Regardless, you miss the point. Exampling just one aspect of my post is as craven as threatening me. Its not like I can stop you is it?
        This isn’t page worthy and is misleading.

        You wanna post controversy? then you take the good with bad like a man. Otherwise do as you will, don’t consider for a moment, I give a shit. Tag your articles properly so I can avoid this rubbish if I want.
        Media hacks making hardware claims way above thier station and retrospecting sales data in the most erudite manner possible is ‘tiresome’.
        Go do some real research and write articles that contend the wider narrative, instead of sell out to click-media bagging everything Nintendo do. Its cheap and unwanted.

  • jtak336

    Only 2 days, does not include downloads, nearly tripled hardware sales, and has a much smaller install base than Pikmin 2 was working with. So I’d say it’s doing pretty well, and comparing it to Pikmin 2 is a little silly.

    • ronin4life

      I think it is doing well too, though “tripling wiiu sales” wasn’t much of an accomplishment in this case…

      • British_Otaku

        It’s hardly like the Wii U was selling 500 (more than the 360 last week) systems a week and went to 1500 (slightly more than the Wii last week).

        It hit over 22,000 from over 8000… >_>

        From being outsold by 4 systems that week (including the 3DS and 3DS LL separately) to being outsold by only the 3DS LL.

        2 days to do so makes it seem more significant, perhaps we will see the Wii U outselling the PS3 still next week.

  • Magnumsally

    only 2 days of sales were tracked

  • XiC


    Your Pikmin 2 data is completely wrong. First week was 190k (Gamecube, Japan only), total was over 1.6 million (760K Japan) counting Pikmin 2 Wii sales as well.

    • TheExile285

      VGchartz makes up their numbers….

      Ishaan uses Media Crate which is a reputable source.

      • XiC

        That’s iffy for me. Famitsu places Pikmin 3 at 102K first week. That likely has virtual sales taken into account which would be the accurate number to use for this article.


        As for VG making up their data they seem to be inline with everyone else varying by 10%.

  • Daviniel Marquez Cruz

    Its the sales for TWO FUCKING DAYS not a whole week….

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