Square Enix’s latest installment in the beloved Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy 16, has started a debate in the community as the company insists on its “extremely strong” sales performance. However, some believe that the sales of Final Fantasy 16 are not on par with its predecessors, and it might be a disaster for Square Enix, considering their high expectations from the sales of their titles.
The game, exclusive to the PlayStation 5, sold an impressive three million copies during its launch week. To put the numbers into context, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, released as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in April 2020, sold 3.5 million copies in just three days during its launch.
On the other hand, Final Fantasy 15 achieved a record of 5 million units sold on its first day back in November 2016, making it the fastest-selling game in the series’ history. These figures have raised questions about the performance of Final Fantasy 16 compared to its predecessors.
Adding fuel to the discussion, a Bloomberg article highlighted a dramatic drop in the game’s sales during its second week in Japan. The article pointed out that initial sales “lagged” behind previous Final Fantasy titles, leading to Square Enix grappling with perceived weak momentum in their flagship franchise.
In response to these concerns, Square Enix offered an exclusive statement to IGN, explaining that the sales performance should be analyzed in the context of the difference in the PlayStation 5’s install base compared to the PlayStation 4’s at the time of Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s release.
The company stated,
With 38 million PS5 consoles shipped globally as of March 31, 2023, sales of Final Fantasy 16 surpassed three million units worldwide several days after its release on June 22, 2023. The attach rate of Final Fantasy 16 is considerably high, given the PS5 install base.”
Square Enix defended the game’s initial sales, considering them to be remarkably strong. The company also promised to undertake various initiatives to further encourage players to experience the game.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Square Enix has faced criticism in the past for setting overly optimistic sales expectations for its games, even when they achieve considerable success in the market. However, industry sources (via IGN) familiar with the performance of Final Fantasy 16 reported that while sales had slowed after launch, the game was not yet considered a disaster.
Louise Wooldridge, research manager at Ampere Analysis, analyzed the game’s performance using data from Ampere Games – Analytics. According to their findings, Final Fantasy 16 was the sixth biggest title in terms of monthly active users globally on PlayStation 5 in June, with 13% of PlayStation 5 players engaging with it.
In the three days following its launch, the game ranked second in daily active users, falling just short of FIFA 23 but surpassing other popular titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty. By the end of the month, it stabilized as the fourth-highest, still ahead of notable live service games such as Diablo 4, NBA 2K 23, and GTA 5.
Wooldridge pointed out that comparing Final Fantasy 16 to previous franchise releases might be problematic due to the different market conditions and exclusive PS5 availability. Furthermore, the game’s darker themes and older cast may have influenced sales in Japan, where it faced competition from the more dominant Nintendo Switch.
While the sales performance of Final Fantasy 16 has been subject to debate, Square Enix remains optimistic about its success, and the game continues to attract a significant player base on the PlayStation 5.
As time passes and potential DLC is released, it will be interesting to observe how the game’s performance evolves and whether it can maintain its position among gaming enthusiasts. What are your thoughts about this ongoing debate? Let’s discuss this in the comments section below.