Square Enix Shipped Far Fewer Copies Of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

By Ishaan . November 29, 2013 . 12:01pm

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII made its debut in Japan last week, and sold 277,082 copies in its first week on the PlayStation 3. Sales tracker Media Create reports that the PS3 version of the game sold through 71.98% of its initial shipment.


This means that Square Enix shipped just 385,000 copies of Lightning Returns on PS3. In comparison, back in 2011, the publisher shipped 845,000 copies of Final Fantasy XIII-2 on PS3, and that game sold 524,217 copies in week one (62.06% sell-through).


Given Lightning Returns’ higher sell-through percentage, Media Create feel that it sold about as much as retailers expected it to. The lower, more conservative shipment for the game is for the best, since it’s seeing less interest than its predecessors and having too many unsold copies of a game floating around stores quickly results in steep price cuts.


When Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released back in 2011, that game sold one-third of the original Final Fantasy XIII’s launch numbers. At the time, Media Create suggested that XIII’s lower sales were partly a result of lower interest from women; however, they do not provide any such data on why they feel Lightning Returns has failed to perform.


Food for thought:

While the Xbox 360 version of Lightning Returns didn’t chart in the top-20 software sales ranking, Media Create reports that the 360 version sold 4,000 copies at launch. In comparison, XIII-2 sold 10,000 copies on Xbox 360 at launch.

  • Invisbin


    • Göran Isacson

      Have to admit, I giggled a little at that comment in combination with that avatar. Is Xehanort not a Lightning-fan, one wonders?

  • SwiftWind

    I’m glad that Square Enix had realistic expectations of this one…

    • JonathanisPrimus

      Square Enix may have wanted to sell a lot more than 375,000 copies, but retailers were not willing to commit to any more.

      • ペート

        lmfao why did this get a down that very well may have happened. a third game is such a stretch for this series let’s be honest

        • Sergio Briceño

          Probably some people who blindly love the game are to blame, but they are unlikely to give you an explanation as to why they unvoted him.

          Asking for a reason for unreasonable behaviour is unreasonable for a reason after all.

          • Alex Shadov

            I don’t say that XIII series is perfect, on the contraire, it’s quite the worst of FF. But the first game, as flawed as it was, was my favorite, I HATE the XIII-2, but I admit that is better in gameplay than the first one. The thing is, that I’ll buy LR:FFXIII, but I’m asking to all types of saints for it to be a better game than what my guts tell me it will be… if XV, when it comes out, let me down… I’ll lose all possible hope for FF series.

    • mike


  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    Lightning Returns looks like a cool game but i think fans may have been put off by Final Fantasy XIII-2’s ending.

    • Godmars

      I was put off the sequels, and became concerned for the series, since the “first” 13.

    • Luis Es.

      I’m one of the people who was put off by ff 13-2 ending. Also i’m not really a fan of the dress up thing. It doesn’t really make sense to me. I don’t know if it’s explain in game why she has that power now or why she needs to change close like erza from fairy tail but it just doesn’t feel like it fits to me.

      • Dashiell A.T., esq.

        Does it really need a meaning, though? Character customization is always welcome in my eyes. I got all the costume DLC for 13-2 and that basically did jack except change the outfits.

        • Luis Es.

          For me it needs a meaning if it’s going to be a part of the battle system which is different then the past. I’m all for dressing up and I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it was just for aesthetics or if it was how the battle system originally was. But sticking it in now just doesn’t feel right to me. That being said i’m not going to get this game. I’ll just watch a play through and if i enjoy that maybe i’ll get the game.

          • Dashiell A.T., esq.

            But is the battle system different because of the costuming or because you’re playing a single character rather than three?

          • Luis Es.

            Well in the other games you really only play as one character a time but you can control the others paradigms or w/e. Clothes are like paradigms imo. So they could’ve just kept that system and just added in clothes as equipment that adds small bonuses or properties. Also these changes to the system can’t be that great if the sales numbers aren’t that great , which seems to be true.

      • Samsara09

        the “dressup” was their response to the fans’s nagging for more customization and for more control on their caracters’s attacks,while compensating for Lightning being the only playable character.Well,if there is some cloth you don’t like,simple,don’t use it.You have freedom.But yeah,I can agree it is random,but not so much to the point I will miss the trilogy’s ending,especially since I have both XIII and XIII-2.

      • Eric

        Well, final fantasy jobs/classes/crowns/whatevers have traditionally been tied in to what you wear/look like. I mean look at all the final fantasy tactics, look at heroes of light, ff 3’s, bravely default, x-2, etc. This is just kind of an extension of that. A new spin on the old.

    • Surgeon of Death

      They were put off by allot more than that.

      • Sergio Briceño

        I can’t judge XIII-2 as I haven’t tried it myself. But for me, it was the first 20 minutes of XIII that killed the series for me. Then I asked on the comments section of Siliconera what was good about the game and after some feedback I barely made it past an hour before growing bored again. Clearly, not a game series for everyone.

        • Surgeon of Death

          I can understand that. This entry into the series was due to pure lack of effort and deviation from the core of the series(Blame the retarded director). Have you played any of the other FF numbered games? THOSE are real FF games. I recommend 5,6,7 and 9, X and 12 are also great(9/10 great) but X is pretty generic IMO.

          • Jisgsaw

            X being pretty generic is, I think, what should make it a good entry into the series (especially considering the upcomming HD port).
            Then again, Tidus is… special, and can brake the game for a lot of people.

          • Surgeon of Death

            Agreed. I’m not saying that it being generic is a really bad thing(since it obviously worked out for X) just stating that it was generic BUT they took it too far with later games. Look at 13, and be honest about it. The game was linear HELL, the bosses were just crappy in every way they all had the same old strategy and the combat was just auto battle to win. How much time did they even have in game cutscenes for development? So was the main cast. Lightning is a very bad cloud clone. I wish they tried to make her stand out more as her own person. And she should be able to sell herself. Square basically tried to sell her to people by making her some “AMAZING” character. Snow is……Snow. Hope was winy. Vanille was annoying. Sazh and Fang were ok. But all the characters lacked serious development(like stuff on their upbringing and the world THEY LIVE IN?). The story was just childish. The characters literally spent over 15 hours running away from something they didn’t bother clearly to explain in the beginning of the game AND THEY RAN AWAY THROUGH VERY LAUGHABLY FORGETTABLE environments that was seriously lacking content. The 13th game was a failure in the eyes of fans and just seemed like they were trying to make a 40 hour movie instead of a quality game. 13-2 took the bad mechanics of 13 and improved them. But the plot which is essential to RPGs was already skewered and made even more horrible with a time plot. Lightning returns is no different story wise. They force side missions on you to actually get to the main ones and the game is basically just centered around fanservice. They advertised lightnings costumes to the point that people thought the game was a freaking dress up sim. The series has fallen low. And its Toriyamas fault. The sales have even dropped. I know that they shipped a low number of LR but they should be selling over 500,000 at the very least. That just goes to tell you that both square(of course) and the fans realize the quality of the series has dropped and become corrupted by the generic casual audience in Japan. I dont think it’s going to do bad in the US but the sales wont be that high. All they had to do it keep those core mechanics from past titles and improve the quality over time(the battle system doesn’t even matter too much and can always change) but they are letting the wrong person direct. Nomura might not be the best clothes designer but he seems to have hit a nice note with 15 from what I can see in the trailers. Hopefully he can deliver. I place my faith in him.

          • JSYK

            i think you’re speaking for yourself. 13 was a great game. of course not the best but it did something new. the battle system is extremely fun albeit long but it had strategy. and those who say otherwise, i can’t help but look down upon them since they lack wit and reflexes plus most likely had too many game overs -_- the story is okay (actually the mythos is awesome but never really explained properly) and while I do feel that they really should have stopped with 13, at least we get 15 on the ps4 right? *sigh* Suck it up people. We can’t stop change. Love it or hate it you’ll still end up playing it.

          • Alex Shadov

            Yeah, (Still haven’t played it) Tidus… from Dissidia games… is quite the fellow… and the fact that someone (눈_눈) spoil the ending of X for me… yeah… X will have to wait.

          • Sergio Briceño

            I have played 3 and 4 :( It’s too bad they are not on your list because I did enjoy them. They got that “oldschool” feel to them and you feel for the characters from the beginning. I don’t have a PS2 so I’ve had trouble trying to play X, X2 and XII, but I’ll try XHD once I get the chance.

            What broke the game for me were 2 things:

            1) Characters: I’m not going to be the guy that says “FFXIII’s plot was like a bad soap opera”, because it wasn’t the writer’s fault, the plot was “ok”, but the characetrs’ performances were what ruined it for me. And the focus on trying to make Lightning a cool and interesting character while remaining selfless and devoid of emotion wasn’t such a good idea either (there is a reason why cool characters are NEVER the main character on japanese media, they become boring fast).

            2) Gameplay: I’ve seen a lot of people praise it, but it’s just a “pretty” tbrpg with an action meter, I’ve seen some games pull this off nicely, but in XIII it just felt like a bad combination. And together with the fact that you can finish the first disc (Xbox 360 version) with 3 stars+ on each battle by just mashing A (autobattle) made it really boring to me. Though I’ve been told that battles pick up on difficulty later on.

            I love JRPGs and I think the PSX and DC were home to some of the greatest and I’m happy I got the chance to play them. But to me a great JRPG is the one that engages you by the second dungeon at the latest. Having completed an entire DVD and not liking the game kind of made me feel sad, both about myself for giving it a shot and FF for sinking so low.

          • Surgeon of Death

            My first FF was actually 3. Loved the HELL out of it. The ones I recommended were just the best of my favorites. Between you and me and everyone that reads my comment, I never beat the last boss because of the lack of saves in the final dungeon. I have played 1,2, 3, 5, 6,7, 9, 10,10-2(somehow),11,12,13-1 and 2 and ARR and tactics. If you have a PS3 or vita i highly reccomend you pick some up digitally. I haven’t played 4 or 8 yet will pick them up eventually though.

          • Daniel

            Why didn’t you mention VIII? Did you hate it that badly?

          • Christopher Nunes

            You don’t think 8 is a real FF game as well?

          • Alex Shadov

            Squall… will probably disagree.

          • Christopher Nunes

            Opinions though… honestly I like FF games, but for the first time I found a game of a genre I love to be utterly boring and chore to play. A game should NOT be like that!

            To me games are meant to be fun no matter what. If people like FF13 more power to them, but for me… I’m not entirely stoked about it and I quite like FF8 more than 13.

          • Alex Shadov

            I’ve never played the 8. But, a friend told me that is pretty good, the thing is, that the 8 (flameshield activate) is practically a copy of the 7. Now, I’m not a Cloud gruppy (is that right, “gruppy”?) and the only thing I LOVE from 7 is Buster Sword and the Crisis Core game, so… I’m neutral on that theme.

            XIII, I hate Hope, and Lightning is not a great character, but I like the first game, and despise the second one and I’m wondering if the third one will be worst than the second (hope it won’t).

            Conclusion: Between Cloud, Squall and Lightning… I prefer Squall… (but, (。´∀`)ノ because Lightning have tits and is using the Buster Sword in the third game… sorry, but I have to like more XIII series.)

          • Surgeon of Death

            Haven’t played it.

    • Masa

      no, people were out off by the awful story, characters and gameplay.

      • Dashiell A.T., esq.

        the gameplay was amazing are you insane
        story was terrible tho… and caius was unbearable

    • Tiredman

      I feel kind of annoyed now. I am playing through the game now, having finally got a copy for a price I was willing to pay over Black Friday, meaning $12. Knowing it will have an annoying ending…….Oh well, already have tons of bad things to say about Final Fantasy 13 and all of its spawn, whats another one.

      • sakusakusakura_nyo

        Don’t worry about it too much. It’s still a fun game overall, and $12 is a great price. I paid $60.

        • Tiredman

          I did for FF 13, that was my last full price Squeenix purchase, and will remain my last for a good while to come since I am not really into their published games. Right now my main gripe with 13-2 is the severe lack of difficulty. Either I didn’t level up the way the game wanted me to, or the game is just easy. I maxed out ravager and lv 50 on sentinel on Serah and maxed out Commando and Sentinel on Noel. Working synergist on Serah and the debuffer on Noel now.

  • This indicates that SE didn’t have much expectation for this game in the first place and we might take it as a sign that they’re indeed through with the Lightning saga. I also take it that this game wasn’t as expensive as its predecessors to make.

    • Tatsuya1221

      I’m not sure S-E had any part in the amount that were available at launch, not sure if it’s the same in japan, but as far as i know in the us retailers/resellers order how much stock they receive, so if it’s like the us, it was the retailers who had lower expectations, not S-E.

    • Samsara09

      There wasn’t any doubt this was the last one.But yeah,they had a profit with this game…I imagine.

  • Travis Boswell

    I’d be fine with them ending the Final Fantasy XIII series and not putting Lightning in any more games, to be honest.

    • Dashiell A.T., esq.

      I’ve loved the 13 games so far, but even then, I’m ready for them to move on. After LR, I want them to keep making new things that are unrelated.

      • arks

        you got that right! lighting that, lighting this
        (i remmeber that i had the same fears for ACII)
        for goodness sake. make a movie , an anime or even a manga about it. but
        please please
        don’t pull it too much and move the hell on!

        • Dashiell A.T., esq.

          Oh man, AC2 is the perfect example. Loved 2, Brotherhood was ok, skipped Rev, and didn’t finish III b/c them annualizing the Ezio games burned me out on a series I love to death.

          Haven’t tried 4 yet but it looks fun… here’s hoping it reinstills my enjoyment of the series.

          Likewise, I hope FF15 re-invigorates the series and they don’t do a million spinoffs for that too :|

    • Sardorim

      Kingdom Hearts, she will be in there eventually.

  • Godmars

    So that’s going to be their excuse. Their reason why they’ll call the game a rounding success.

    Not that it says anything that they expected it sell as “well” as it did.

  • and it had more than 1/2 the sales of the original, though I hear the game is good from people

  • LightZero

    Yup as I expected. They weren’t anticipating a high enough number and they are satisfied with the opening sales. They most likely got a good profit. Not all games have to sell a million copies day 1 to be successful especially when it’s a cheaper spin-off sequel not a main entry. That aside I think LR will get about 1+ million LTD within 1-2 years which is good.

    • Warboss Aohd

      tell dat to EA.

    • GH56734

      But WHY all of their other localized RPGs with similar or higher sales are considered “failures” just because it’s not a million-seller?
      The hypocrisy in Square’s mindset is off the charts.

      • Xerain

        Whether or not something is a failure depends on how much money S-E spent making it, and how much money S-E told their investors it would make.

        This article actually says nothing about S-E’s opinion on if the game is a success or failure. All it’s saying is there are less copies of XIII-3 lying about after the opening week than there were of XIII-2.

        As many others have said, that could just mean the retailers were expecting less sales, and so refused extra copies form S-E so they wouldn’t have extra stock they’d need to put on sale. For all we know S-E is pulling their hair out behind closed doors, but they’ve yet to release an official statement.

        I’d like to think they were joking, but in an interview a about half a year ago their claimed they were aiming for Skyrim-like sales.

      • Sardorim

        Because LR doesn’t take as anywhere near as much money to make as say Tomb Raider reboot.

  • Renzo-senpai

    Loved the story of the first (going against the world, fighting fate, etc) the sequel (tho good gameplay) made it made outta placed

  • Monterossa

    The game is fantastic. Why should I care about how many copy it sold or how many people complaining about XIII saga?

    • Nice Boat Quatro

      I don’t know. Why are you even commenting if you don’t care?

      • Sardorim

        Why are you caring so much to comment him about not caring? Kinda coming off as a jerk there.

        • Nice Boat Quatro

          Why are you caring about me caring about him not caring? Try saying that three times!

      • Dashiell A.T., esq.

        Why comment if you don’t even know?

    • Dashiell A.T., esq.

      Normally I’d say that you should care how well a game sells so they can make more but lets be real, even as a huge fan of the XIII games, they need to quit making them by now.

      Don’t need to give a flying rat booty about the haters, though :V

  • almostautumn

    Every article I see that reminds me this garbage trilogy is over makes me sooo happy.

    • FlyingPony

      Its really time to move on to new lead.. no more Lightning.

    • Kaihedgie

      So why do you care so much about this “garbage trilogy” that you would continue to give it attention

      • leingod

        I guess because it’s over, and maybe he hopes they’ll move on to better things.

  • Martian Wong

    Noctis to the rescue…when FFXV hits store that is….

    • Soma Cruz

      XV? they dropped versus 13 then?

      • Martian Wong

        They dropped Versus XIII last year @ E3

  • Yan Zhao

    “Lower sales resulted from lower interest from women”

    Um yeah, thats totally the reason.

  • Pichi

    Now I see why SE is having the Japanese voice track for NA. Gotta squeeze more sales as much as possible.

    • saxophone15

      I doubt it. I find it very hard to believe that there is any significant number of people that make the decision to buy just because of the Japanese voice track for NA.

  • サレム

    The day FF will get my trust again is the day when a main FF game trailer doesnt have a damn ballad playing.

    • JSYK

      well then I hope you weren’t planning on playing 15. lololololol

  • Seven of The Scions

    Well, i still expecting this game sooo baaad!
    Can’t wait for february!

    The Gameplay are awesome!
    looking forward to exploring the world:)

  • Tyghost

    I agree that women were less interested in FF XIII-2 in comparison to the first game. What they failed to mention is that men were also less interested. As were people of alternative genders.

  • TrueDefault

    I guess not many people are excited about Lightning. To be fair, her personality is very dull to me, I’d rather be able to play as Fang.

  • TheSegaMan

    Im getting tired of hearing people bash this game. I personally tolerate the XIII saga more than most people, but I am glad its ending too. Ive heard enough of Lightning and crew and want them to move on. But this is the last game in the XIII series and it seems like they are putting more work into it than the other two, so lets at least give it a chance and not just bash the hell out of it just because it has XIII in the title.

  • peter her

    hahaha 3shitty no one owns that bro shooter creating garbage

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos