Grand Theft Auto V Had The Best Debut Of Any GTA In Japan

By Ishaan . October 19, 2013 . 5:00pm

Last week, Take 2 released Grand Theft Auto V in Japan. The game sold 360,115 copies on PlayStation 3 and another 26,612 copies on the Xbox 360 in its first week.


Japanese sales tracker Media Create reports that GTAV sold through 85.71% of its shipment on the PlayStation 3 and 92.57% of its shipment on Xbox 360.


This marks the highest debut for GTA in Japan. For comparison 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV sold 132,676 copies in its first week on PS3 (78.77% sell-through) and 33,648 copies on the Xbox 360 (62.80% sell-through).


Prior to Grand Theft Auto V, the highest debut sales for the series in Japan belonged to 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. That game sold 246,000 copies at launch on the PS2.

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  • Martian Wong

    Somehow, I think Hideo Kojima is somewhat responsible for it.

    • He’d probably toy with that assumption before coming out and say no. lol

  • *whistles*

  • Grape Monet

    I really get sick and tired of hearing about how far behind the Japanese gaming industry is and how the West is so much better, but come on, having a better first week than the vast majority Japanese games do is a little ridiculous.

    • Xaltmas

      What do you mean by “ridiculous”?

      • DCBlackbird

        Surprising perhaps is a another word. I mean he/she not trying to denounce GTA V but for a foreign game to do better than native franchises is not seen a lot in Japan.

    • Ferrick

      problem is that the west doesn’t really like Japanese games if you think about it, in a sense, it’s a one way affection

      • I’ll never understand why people keep saying this. The west lapped up Dark Souls, and that’s just one recent example of a Japanese game being successful in the west. How is there a “one-way” affection in any way? It isn’t as though Japan buys western games by the bucketload every week.

        • MrTyrant

          People tend to confuse “japanese games are not popular here” based on critics or a lot of hater whines when in sales most japanese games even some niche ones, sell very well. It’s obvious because we wouldn’t have gotten most of the games translated nowadays.

          • People tend to confuse “japanese games are not popular here” based on critics or a lot of hater whines when in sales most japanese games even some niche ones, sell very well.

            I wouldn’t say they “sell very well” at all. The views of the “haters” regarding those niche games are almost certainly the views that the vast majority would voice, were they subjected to those same games.

            These games sell enough for smaller publishers to keep releasing them. That isn’t the same as selling well or being popular. When we talk about “popular” Japanese games, we’re talking about more popular series like FF, Dark Souls, Fire Emblem and so on.

      • malek86

        The biggest western game launch, GTA5, sold a total of 390k units. Not bad, sure, but when you consider it had like a 250 million dollars budget and sold 10+ million copies in the rest of the world…

        Meanwhile, in the west, japanese games like Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, Pokemon, etc. regularly have insanely big launches.

        There needs to pass a lot more water under the bridge before people can say that Japan likes western games more than we do japanese games.

        • Alexander Marquis Starkey

          Well when you compare localizations, GTAV did better in Japan than the Tales series did over here.

      • Alexander Marquis Starkey

        They don’t like niche Japanese games. Western Gamers will sit down and play good JRPGs when they can, there is a reason why Final Fantasy, Tales and SMT are the top selling JRPGs in the west. They don’t sell as western games because of either marketing or just not as much widespread appeal.

        • Ferrick

          or even the good ones from the looks of it, but yes, the difference between the west audience for japanese games and japanese audience for western games is too different to simply say “it’s an equal amount of success for both sides”

      • AndyLC

        Pokemon and Mario sells more in the US than Japan. Final Fantasy 7 sold 10+ million copies, mostly in the US.

        That western developers were able to match the sales of Japanese games in western markets being a big deal speaks volumes to how successful Japan has been.

        It’s just that some games journalists have a history of games that only extends back 5 years, so they forget this fact.

        • Ferrick

          right, because the market is the same as it was back in 1997
          -waves sarcasm flag-

    • You know, people paint this picture of the Japanese industry as a whole having some sort of unfathomable love for otaku games and T&A, but that really isn’t the case, and sales figures prove it time and again.

      There’s really only a very tiny small of gamers in Japan that will buy those games. The problem is, there are more and more companies in Japan that have seemingly lost the ability to create more ambitious titles, so several of them rely on that tiny otaku audience for their sales.

      These companies, for better or worse, put out more games each year than other publishers do, partly because the scope and budget of their games is not very high, which is what makes it look like there’s a lot of sleazy content out there. And yes, there is a lot of that content out there, but it isn’t like a whole lot of people are buying it.

      So, to address your point, I don’t think its’ “ridiculous” at all that a GTA game would outsell a lot of the fluff that tends to be released in Japan on a weekly basis. People appreciate quality games, just like anywhere else in the world. We’ve seen plenty of more ambitious games find an audience in Japan.

      On consoles, Dragon’s Dogma, Armored Core V and Dark Souls II come to mind. Meanwhile, on the portable side, we’ve seen things like Bravely Default, SMTIV and Fire Emblem all be immensely successful. Each of those are very meaty, ambitious games with great word of mouth. It’s natural that people would want them.

      • yelad

        I didn’t read your post, but holy shit dude, 212 downvotes???

      • Guest

        Wow. Never seen a comment get 200+ downvotes. Must have been linked somewhere like reddit, where the bias is very slanted towards western games and all Japanese games are pervy moe loli tentacle battles with the power of friendship.

        • @disqus_PTdIin9dvY:disqus @disqus_OVCnnws9oy:disqus @anthonyapduhan:disqus It’s some overzealous Sony fan with a Disqus bot. He downvotes anything positive related to Microsoft/Nintendo or anything even remotely negative that’s even slightly connected to Sony platforms. He’s been at it for a couple of weeks now.

          • Guest

            That doesn’t make any sense. Your post was about Japanese games and didn’t even mention platforms.

          • Anime10121

            …and it was damn near fact at that!

          • My post was about otaku games being niche, and the vast majority of those tend to be concentrated on Sony platforms. The post before that was about God Eater 2 not being of the same scope and budget as GTAV. Another Sony title. Trust me, this guy’s pattern is ridiculously obvious if you’ve seen his work before.

            He’s incredibly petty and will downvote anything that seems to oppose anything connected to Sony systems in any way, whether it involves saying something nice about a competitor (whether it’s iOS/Nintendo/Xbox) or something negative about PS3/Vita.

          • Guest

            Sounds like someone just doesn’t like you, not what you have to say about specific platforms. No one else gets mass downvoted for those things. Sounds like you’re looking for reasons to blame “Sony fans” too. I don’t see it.

            I love playstation and I thought your post sounded favourable to PS. PS gets lots of good Japanese games that don’y fit in that “otaku games” niche, probably more than other platforms.

            The real home of niche otaku games is PC. For every 1 on consoles there’s at least 100 more on PC.

          • JustThisOne

            Nah, it’s not just him. There are a lot of posts that get downvoted to the 200s in other articles. Not sure if it’s limited to Sony-related posts though. It sounds to me that he just downvote spams whoever’s opinion he doesn’t like.

            Guess this mysterious downvoter doesn’t really PC game then. :<

    • hazelnut1112

      What are you talking about? All I read was how GTA V did better in its launch week than any of the previous GTA games before it.

  • Tonton Ramos

    Way to go Japan

  • Klarktastic

    Well, its a really good game with a ridiculous budget so I’m not surprised. I was never a HUGE gta fan but after 5, I’m really looking forward to the next one.

    • Aoshi00

      yeah, the game is just so well made, immersive, and addtictive, w/ an amazingly detailed world.. I played GTA4 but never finished it (Lost & Damned & Gay Tony either).. I find GTA5 improved a lot and can’t stop playing it..

      It’s actually harder for Jpn gamers to play too since it’s not dubbed, and there’s so much dialogue during the fast car chases.. it’s a big release, but probably not dubbed in Jpn since there’s so much American references/gangster culture, like the Yakuza series is not dubbed in Eng..

    • d19xx

      Same here. I hope they apply the same face technology used in L.A. Noir next game.

  • Mental

    It’s nice to see a western title have a strong launch in Japan.

    • Anthony Birken

      Is this a rare oddity?

      • Somber

        yep. most western titles couldn’t do like that.

  • d19xx

    Nice to hear Japan digs Michael senpai, Franklin kun and Trevor chan.

    • The current generation of gamers are more open than previous ones

      • d19xx

        That or V is just really good. I personally think is the later.

        • Nah, blockbuster titles outside Japan haven’t done well till recently. Call of Duty has also seen an improvement

          This could also be a sign that Japanese devs are behind which the industry has been talking about this year, Inafune included

    • MrTyrant

      Yeah I loved the characters, they were fun and interesting. Just Fraklin’s mission were a little boring.

  • Chaos_Knight

    “Take this! ATV RAM ATTACKU!”

    That’s what I think the Japanese say when they’re playing.

  • Eder García

    and thus… a light of hope for Hollywood AAA game companies started to shine in Japan…

  • Anko Is Furious (King T.G.P)

    Awesome.. I’d love if Japan can be generous and return the favor for such an amazing experience.. Like Namco localizing God Eater 2 and Sword Art Online.

    Sorry if that was off-topic’ish lol.

    • The closest equivalent of this in reverse (ie; Japan bringing a hugely ambitious game to the west) would be Dark Souls II, Monolith Soft’s new game, FFXIV and FFXV.

      • Anko Is Furious (King T.G.P)

        Why are you crushing my hopes T-T..??.

        • I’m not crushing your hopes. I’m just saying, God Eater 2 is in no way anywhere near the scope and budget of those other games. You said “such an amazing experience,” by which I assumed you meant a game equally grand in scale as GTAV.

          • Anko Is Furious (King T.G.P)

            I know I was joking but yeah I know what you mean. The inner-fanboy in me can only dream and keep hoping for those games at least xD.

          • anthony apduhan

            What the?! How did you get so many downvotes? 216 NO WAY!

          • Ni ~UNREAL BLACK THINGS~

            the bots loves ya don’t they?

          • Woohoo! You sure spawned the wrath of them God Eater fanboys. You just won an achievement/Platinum Trophy.

    • Somber

      those games are nice but SAO’s budget is super low.

      • Anko Is Furious (King T.G.P)

        I was going to say .Hack games remade HD or PS2 Classics along with the PSP one too but then I’d feel as if I was asking for too much :/. I’d instantly die of happiness if that happened though lol.

  • People shouldn’t be too surprised about these kinds of events, times have changed in Japan with the new generation.

    Now if they can only fix their population issue

  • 愛憎

    I’m sure the advertising helped. There are some pretty huge ads in Tokyo. I recall looking down on Shibuya from up high, and an enormous banner being one of the most eye catching things in view.

  • katamari damacy

    Normally Yakuza coincides with a GTA release and japanese customers buy japanese exclusive games first. However this year there’s no Yakuza and it’s been awhile since the last one (Dead souls doesn’t count) so they were dying for a free-roam fix.
    Too bad in the west we don’t give a shit about the Yakuza series.

    • XiaomuArisu

      i give shits….Alot!!!

    • Europe has a larger fanbase I believe, certain IPs that release outside Japan get collectors editions there specifically

      • British_Otaku

        Depends on both the IP and the individual publisher’s confidence. We got physical releases, combi sets and limited editions for a number of One Piece games in the last few years, but inversely we never got even a physical release of Code of Princess (which had a preorder bonus for the Japanese and American releases).

        One Piece is huge in France and Germany and company, but Namco are still playing it exceptionally safe.

        There isn’t really any reason why Beyblade can get a game and limited edition in America and Europe but those two regions can’t even get a physical release of Code of Princess.

    • AndyLC

      Hmmm, that’s a great explanation.

  • Nomura said it himself that people have been saying Japanese devs are behind and FFXV will show people differently.

    What do you think will happen in the interim

    Also the twitter post Kojima made about GTV probably helped

    • I don’t know if I’m ready to take Nomura at his word regarding FFXV, since we haven’t exactly seen anything from that game that hasn’t been done in the past. For now it’s all talk, but it is Nomura, and he doesn’t usually say things for no reason, so we’ll see.

      In the interm, though, I think Deep Down, Dark Souls II and Monoth Soft’s X all look very interesting.

      In the context of the industry, Deep Down and X in particular are interesting because they both look like huge open-world games, which is very uncommon coming from a Japanese developer. Deep Down is obviously F2P, which is curious, since I don’t think any Japanese game prior—not even PSO2—has attempted an F2P production of that scale.

      Meanwhile, X is a very obviously Japanese RPG with an open world and high-production values. Especially in the wake of Xenoblade and how well that was received, I think that could really be interesting, too, because it could very well be the next big inspiration that JRPG developers have needed (and lacked) for so long.

      • MrTyrant

        Man, I want X. the only reason for me to buy a WiiU is that game. Is a dream to combine a good story with giant robots and put them in a huge open world map. Im really curious to know how would work.

        • It does look great, but I hope the use of the mechs isn’t too limited. They said that you’ll be able to use them in certain areas, but I hope those areas are expansive enough that they don’t feel like an afterthought. That said, I trust Takahashi and his team to know that people will have that concern.

          • MrTyrant

            Yeah I know. From what I saw I think they can fly, walk and transform for different terrains but I hope they won’t limit how far can you go with them.

  • AndyLC

    Japanese people watch Hollywood movies.
    This is an American game with cinematic inspirations.

    American games are approaching the quality of American movies, so it’s not too unusual to see it being received alright in Japan.

  • ZekeFreek

    >.< This is the same country that gave fucking inFamous a Z-rating, how the hell is something like this not banned outright?

    Japan's ratings and censorship practices confuse me with their inconsistency.

  • artemisthemp

    I really would like to know numbers instead of %, since % is subjective.

    Xbox 360 most likely had 150 copies, while PS3 may had 1000 in Japan, but we won’t know.

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