Splatoon Defies the Odds, Selling a Million Copies Worldwide
Nintendo was more than pleased to announce on Wednesday that “Splatoon,” a new game for its Wii U console that launched late in May, reached a million in sales worldwide.
“Splatoon” is Nintendo’s new unconventional approach to a more child-friendly first person shooter genre, in which characters can turn into squids and fire colorful ink at enemies. Video imagery from the game first appeared at the big Electronic Entertainment Expo last year, and was a big part of Nintendo’s showcase at this year’s E3.
A New Hit
A million in sales is a nice round number and puts the game among Nintendo’s best sellers for the Wii U of all time. But what’s really notable is that the game doesn’t pull from Nintendo’s plethora of characters like Mario and Donkey Kong for its success. It is based entirely on new intellectual property, the first true new IP from the studio that made the game in more than a decade.
Nintendo’s risky move seems to have paid off, considering Wii U sales trail well behind those of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Consider that two coming Nintendo games, “Mario Maker” and “Yoshi’s Woolly World” feature familiar characters. It would have been a safer bet for Nintendo to take the “Mario Kart” approach and just throw Mario, Link from “The Legend of Zelda” and other well-known characters into a shooter game. That strategy worked for the their racing, fighter-brawl and sports games. Nearly every game on Nintendo’s “top sellers” list for the Wii U features the usual cast of childhood favorites.
While a million in sales is no guarantee of financial windfall, it does give Nintendo something to brag about. It also gives the company options new options. Nintendo already gambled on the game’s success with a set of its amiibo toy figurines available from the get-go. The game could become yet another franchise to build around, with sequels and spin-offs. A version can be made for Nintendo’s still-popular 3DS hand-held machine.
Since launch, the company has released free downloadable content to keep players engaged. Don’t be surprised if a certain familiar plumber makes an appearance in “Splatoon” in the future.