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Land vs. Space! Super Mario 3D Land vs. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Sales Showdown


Super Mario 3D Land was developed to be a bridge between 2D and 3D Mario games. 2D Marios sell a whole lot better than the 3D ones in general, and this is especially evident in Japan, where certain kinds of players appear to actually be intimidated by 3D Mario games.


Nintendo’s first attempt at bridging the gap was in Super Mario Galaxy 2. That didn’t quite work out as effectively as they’d have liked it to, so Super Mario 3D Land was built with the sole purpose of blurring the lines between the 2D and 3D styles. Let’s take a look at how people responded to that, with two months worth of sales data from Japan:


Week Mario Galaxy 2 Mario 3D Land
01. 339,901 343,492
02. 105,149 93,441
03. 73,480 62,318
04. 52,978 61,710
05. 42,153 73,907
06. 26,217 89,743
07. <18,614* 112,533
08. 21,313 174,566

Total Let’s say 661-679k 1,011,709

* During week 7, Galaxy 2 wasn’t in the top-20 software sales chart. Since Media-Create don’t provide numbers for games outside the top-20, I’m not sure exactly how much it sold that week. Just that it was below 18,614 copies.


Or to put it in graph form:


Mission accomplished for now, I would say. Once the next 3D Mario game is revealed, and we learn more about it, we’ll probably have a better idea of if and how Super Mario 3D Land has affected the future of 3D Mario titles.


Food for thought:

Something that keeps nagging at me is that Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released in summer, while Super Mario 3D Land was released close to the holiday season. Would Galaxy 2 perhaps have done much better had it had the benefit of the holiday season?

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.