This Week In Sales: Ouch, Natural Doctrine

By Ishaan . April 9, 2014 . 1:31pm

Period: The week of March 31st – April 6th (2014)

Top-seller: Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS) – 47,106

Nintendo 3DS sales: 9,091 | Total sales: 9,457,943

Nintendo 3DS XL sales: 22,947 | Total sales: 5,928,161

PlayStation Vita sales: 25,017 | Total sales: 2,677,612

Vita TV sales: 1,371 | 104,041

Wii U sales: 7,962 | Total sales: 1,697,696

PlayStation 4 sales: 13,401 | 506,739

<< Last week’s software sales chart

<< How to read and understand sales


Ouch, Natural Doctrine. Kadokawa Games’ cross-platform PlayStation RPG was released in Japan last week on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, and met with a rather sad fate.


Only the PS Vita version of Natural Doctrine charted in the top-20 software sales chart, and just barely. The Vita version charted at the #20 position, selling 6,046 copies. Probably not the result Kadokawa were hoping for.


While it may be tempting to blame Natural Doctrine’s poor sales on the recent hike in Japan’s consumption tax (read more about that here), I feel that’s an unlikely scenario, given that the title was squarely aimed at a niche audience, and such products tend to be the least affected by larger economic factors.


That said, another game might have taken a hit due to the tax increase. Last week, another Japan-specific iteration of Ubisoft’s Just Dance series of games was published by Nintendo. Just Dance Wii U sold 18,403 copies in its first week—a far cry from the debuts of Just Dance Wii (90,039 copies) and Just Dance Wii 2 (60,121 copies). Both games went on to sell fairly well over a period of time.


Given that the Just Dance series targets a more casual (and financially conscious) audience, it wouldn’t surprise me if the tax increase did put a bit of a dent in the game’s sales. Poor timing on Nintendo’s part if that was the case. That said, regardless of cause, 18,000 isn’t a figure to be proud of.


The top-20 software sales chart for last week is as follows:


Lw Tw Title Weekly Sales Total Sales Sys. Publisher
02. 01. Mario Party: Island Tour 47,106 257,873 3DS Nintendo
05. 02. Samurai Warriors 4 25,572 192,514 PS3 Tecmo Koei
04. 03. Yo-kai Watch 23,663 686,387 3DS Level 5
06. 04. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes 20,799 179,031 PS3 Konami
New 05. Just Dance Wii U 18,403 New WiiU Nintendo
01. 06. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd 16,111 114,738 PSV Sega
08. 07. J-Stars Victory Vs. 13,417 156,957 PS3 Bandai Namco
09. 08. J-Stars Victory Vs. 11,876 134,522 PSV Bandai Namco
03. 09. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd 10,278 70,243 PS3 Sega
14. 10. Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 10,081 90,876 PS3 Konami
13. 11. Dark Souls II 9,924 320,177 PS3 From Software
16. 12. Kirby Triple Deluxe 9,914 540,373 3DS Nintendo
17. 13. Fossil Fighters: Infinite Gear 9,704 130,083 3DS Nintendo
11. 14. Samurai Warriors 4 9,603 68,796 PSV Tecmo Koei
21. 15. Pokémon X and Y 8,328 4,023,294 3DS Pokémon Co.
18. 16. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes 7,859 112,137 PS4 Konami
15. 17. Pro Baseball Spirits 2014 7,576 50,277 PSP Konami
22. 18. Dragon Quest Monsters 2 6,881 768,483 3DS Square Enix
24. 19. Puzzle & Dragons Z 6,787 1,430,720 3DS GungHo
New 20. Natural Doctrine 6,046 New PSV Kadokawa


Sales data acquired from 4Gamer and Media Create.

  • Ethan_Twain

    I’ll be curious to see if Mario Party: Island Tour is actually a strong seller over time, or if there’s just not been much out these past weeks. It’s been hanging around the top of the charts for a while, but it’s unclear if it’ll stand up to stiff competition.

  • Lemon

    Perhaps the marketing for Natural Doctrine wasn’t good enough. Not to mention the delay definitely put a number of people off, too. Moreover, since this is Kadokawa’s first time publishing a game they themselves developed, many people are probably wary of how their game will turn out and are waiting for reviews before they decide it’s worth their time and money. Personally, I would have imported it (mainly because I simply love Anca’s design) had they not announced they were going to localize Natural Doctrine.

    • Kaetsu

      Lemons can’t type.

      • Slayven19

        I’m guessing he here to prove you wrong mr frost.

    • darke

      Maybe they just needed to release a demo? If the game plays better then it looks that’s generally not a bad thing to do.

  • JustThisOne

    Damnit, damnit, damnit. Don’t worry, ND. I will totally buy the crap out of you when you get over here. *__*

  • DesmaX

    Sales charts can’t get any worse than this

  • malek86

    Isn’t it far more likely that JDU sold a lot less because the casual audience of the Wii just ain’t biting on the Wii U?

    Sure, the tax hike might have hindered things further, but chances are not many were gonna buy the game anyway.

    • That was the more likely reason for sure. My point was that the tax issue probably didn’t help. If anything does feel the burn of the tax increase, it’s going to be these more casual games.

      • malek86

        The tax came at a time when the previous style of casual games is at an all-time low, though, since there’s essentially no more platform that supports them (mobile are all about card games and mobage). Even on 3DS, the big sales have shifted to more mainstream games, and stuff like Nintendogs and Brain Training hasn’t found success. The tax hike is really just adding salt to the wounds.

        • I think whether or not a casual game is affected by the increased taxes will depend on the perceived value of the game. I expect things like Animal Crossing, where there’s clearly a lot of value for money, to remain relatively unaffected. But the lower budget stuff that’s clearly trying to cash in on a license might take a hit.

          • MasterofMidnight

            But, but, the game has AKB48 on the front cover right? I suspect those girls aren’t so cheap (insert joke here)? Indeed, one must wonder if the game would’ve faired better had it been released on other systems.

          • darke

            I would have bought a copy from the PSN if they’d released on the PS4 like they did with the western version (which I also bought a copy of on the PSN…).

            The game might be casual, but it’s fun and generates precious amounts of exercise in my largely sedentary programmer-life. :P

    • darke

      Why’d they release it just for the WiiU anyway? JD2014 came out on both the WiiU and the Wii in western markets (not to mention the PS4, XB1, XB360, and PS3); it seems like a completely random platform to launch on given the install base.

      • Because Nintendo publishes the series in Japan. They don’t just bring the games over as-is and release them. They’re heavily localized for Japan, and they make significant changes to the tracklist based on Japanese tastes.

        • darke

          Yeah, I knew about the localisation; that’s why I was wanting a copy in addition to my Australian one.

          I didn’t realise Nintendo was the publisher, but doesn’t really explain the Wii U-only when they had a perfectly acceptable Wii port also. That takes loss-leading to suicide territory. :(

  • Wtv

    To me Natural Doctrine looks too generic. Maybe it’s better on the gameplay, but who knows.

    • persona_yuji

      Name of the main character doesn’t help. :P

      • darke

        So “Jeff” isn’t edge-y enough? Or does the name not imply a sufficiently maverick personality?

    • Ladius

      Going with the importers’ detailed explanations, the gameplay should be rather experimental and really challenging, which makes me both really sad about its sales and really happy about its localization announcement.

    • MrTyrant

      It doesn’t look so generic to me considering that the most generic games get higher sales but major complains were about that the game is veeery hard to the point that was imposible to complete some stages. Enemies are tough, if one of your character die is game over, very few ways to improve your characters (few free battles?) and if you are stuck on one stage you may try to restart the game all over again.

      • Thatguy

        Games sells poorly, because it’s too hardcore?
        Just… wow…

        • MrTyrant

          Maybe it was how people bashed the game so much in amazon at least. I think they did like the storyline or characters I don’t know much about that but the high difficulty and tedious combat was the main problem it seems.

        • Wtv

          Well, Dark Souls 2 sold well in Japan. So it’s not the main reason, probably.

          • Thatguy

            Well, Dark Souls 2 already have established fanbase, thanks to Demon Souls and Dark Souls, and famous for sadistic gameplay.
            But Natural Doctrine is more like Valkrira Chronicles.
            Oh, well, maybe i am wrong. But ND don’t look bad to me. I think it’s just need a patch, for people who don’t want to restart battles after 1 person dies, that allow player to continue battle after death of 1 character. And little monster rebalance

        • darke

          There’s a difference between ‘hardcore’ and ‘hardcore’.

          It’s very easy to make a game that kills you; it’s hard to make a game that kills you in a way that you feel it’s your fault for not being good enough and trying again. The latter is ‘hardcore’, the former is poor game balance/design.

    • Monterossa

      It looks too western aka generic, yes, you’re right.

    • Trotmeister

      Yeah, much as I love SRPG, I just can’t get myself excited for this game. Looks so bland and uninspired.

    • Bojan Njegomir

      What to expect from company that releases games on monthly basis besides generic? :-/

  • Brion Valkerion

    Well to be fair, Natural Doctrine looks boring as hell so…

  • Sentsuizan_93

    Oh dear…
    That doesn’t look encouraging for Natural Doctrine…

  • klkAlexar

    ND doesn’t seem to leave a good first impression so no surprise that it got such low sales, but now that I’ve read a bit more about the combat I’ll probably buy it.

  • Ladius

    Natural Doctrine fared a little bit better on the Famitsu chart, where the PS4 version sold some 7732 copies and the Vita one charted at 6138. That is still a failure even for niche jrpg standards, though, which is really sad considering there seems to be a fairly deep, challenging tactical jrpg behind its low production values.

    At least the game’s localization has already been announced, so we will be able to play it regardless of its Japanese sales.

  • Guest

    Everything is lower than last week! 3DS wasn’t so affected but still…

    Anyway, this week Hero’s Bank anime started airing, it has been just two days so we haven’t the full impact in that game’s sales yet. We’ll see next week.

    • I… highly doubt that the anime will resurrect Hero Bank, but we’ll see, I guess. The game seemed rather unfocused, like they didn’t really have a selling point to catch people’s attention with.

      • Guest

        Yes, I highly doubt it too, a minimal bump probably; Famitsu has it ranking at number 30th. But how sales in general behave lately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it next week among the top 20th with around 6000 copies sold :P
        (Unless I’m missing some big releases next week!)

      • Ethan_Twain

        Does Gaist Crusher have an anime coming to maybe save it too? And more to the point, why are companies releasing these games before the anime shows? Even when these games find success (Youkai Watch) it isn’t until the TV show drops.

        • This is just my personal opinion, since I don’t have any actual insight into why these games often come out before their anime versions.

          For one thing, it’s not always easy to coordinate the release of your game with the release of your anime. In the case of the former, you’re negotiating with retailers whereas in the case of the latter, it’s up to the broadcaster. Making the two line-up can’t be easy, I would imagine, since they each have their own interests at heart.

          But another reason is that, I think in a lot of cases, it’s actually good to have the first iteration of your game out before the anime airs. That way, you can get everything in place and you can get word of mouth rolling before the anime enters the scene. People will recognize the game for being a good game, get sales rolling, and when the anime comes along, it provides a significant boost to what is already a product primed for success.

          That’s what happened in the case of Yo-kai Watch. The game already had excellent word of mouth prior to the anime being aired, and got off to a decent start. Once the anime came along, it gave it a jolt and was able to build upon its existing success.

          Of course, this only works if your game is actually good. I don’t think either Gaist Crusher or Hero Bank were particularly focused products. Gaist Crusher looks good but unfocused…. Hero Bank just look confusing.

    • Kaetsu

      I had know idea the game even came out let alone bombed.

  • pokeslob

    hehe maybe this will price drop sooner then :3

  • J-Stars has almost 150k on both platforms? That’s pretty great. Can any players attest to how the netcode is for Americans playing against Japanese? I’m thinking about importing it.

  • MrTyrant

    Don’t worry Natural Doctrine, you will sell better here….I hope.

  • subsamuel01

    Going to buy it on PS4 when it comes out in North America.

  • subsamuel01

    The Japanese gaming market is just shrinking overall, only a few select titles succeed. Expected better sales from J-Stars, they should really localize the game I know there’s more interest for the game internationally.

  • Ni ~Algidus~

    NO. Natural Doctrine seems to be a fucking awesome game ):

  • otakumike

    Psh, NISA will earn their profit from us. Japan is getting pretty terrible at game buying. I mean c’mon, Mario Party is at the top? lulz

    • AkuLord3

      Not like anyway where else is just as good…everywhere’s just as bad

  • AkuLord3

    Being a New IP and such and whatever other things, not too surprised it by the numbers seems like people were expecting too much but it does suck that it didn’t do at least decent. Might pick up but who knows.

  • Suriel Cruz

    When something’s good, people will yell about it, but when is bad, people won’t say anything, respect the work put into it, but won’t support it.
    Yeah! Trailers and info, matters for the success of a certain game. IMO. Natural Doctrine doesn’t have that IMPACTFULL or NOSTALGIC feel to it, so maybe that’s the reason for his NOT SO GOOD start.

    • Ni ~Algidus~

      > IMO. Natural Doctrine doesn’t have that IMPACTFULL or NOSTALGIC

      this nostalgic feeling that people want is pretty much one of the reasons that is hurting this part of the entertainment industry.

      • darke

        It may be a problem; but at least it gets people to buy the product. Nintendo’s “let’s make another mario/zelda clone” annoys me as much as anyone, but their remakes sell to people who’ve grown up with them.

        If you don’t have that, and you don’t have a reason for people who look at it to go “Wow! I must buy this!” then you need marketing geniuses or you don’t get sales.

    • British_Otaku

      Isn’t it the reverse? People are more inclined to complain than praise a product. I could see a game being bad/having issues having an effect on sales, but perhaps that would be noticed on the second week as with JoJo PS3 in Japan (95% drop in sales):

      Whatever stopped Natural Doctrine from not doing well, it probably comes down to marketing first if not even a single version could reach 10K on a week which only had Just Dance Wii U (at an underwhelming 18K) as new top 20 competition.

  • Impressionnant

    Poor Jeff.

  • Eder García

    yeah, the niche audience is in 3 platforms, Kadokawa Games should put this title in PS4, no offense but their Honcho said the PS4 will revive consoles in Japan, is he retracting or something?

  • هاكو ممممممممم

    ummmm i think it’s just that there arent much people who like hard or challenging games or even deep strategy games like this one but for an jrpg player ill be sure to give this one a shot, meby its just that people are talking about it in a bad way without even trying it which makes the game looks bad

  • ogopogo

    Got my copy of Natural Doctrine from a retailer today and played for about 4~5 hours, it’s really not that great a game…reminds me of the X-Com reboot, but with even more BS than alien appearing out of nowhere.

  • Chido55

    This game had my interest but if its oh-you-are-so-gonna-die-easily game, I’ll think twice about it. Dunno if I am gonna labelled a casual, but I don’t really play things that will stressed me up eventually XD

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