The most recent installment in the famed Monster Hunter franchise has been extraordinarily successful in Japan. The game was released on November 28th, and Capcom had some pretty ambitious sales predicted for March 2016. They estimated that Monster Hunter X would sell 2.5 million copies by then. However, as of December 3, 2015, the game has sold 91% of its stock and over 2 million copies. Dayum.
But that's not all! The launch also led to a rise in total hardware sales, with sales of the New Nintendo 3DS LL increasing by over 360% from the previous week. Nintendo must love you, Capcom. But why has this game been so successful? And can we anticipate a release date for the West?
Why Has Monster Hunter X Been So Successful in Japan?
Monster Hunter is really fascinating to me. This is a gaming series unlike any other, and has thus created a national culture unlike any other.
Monster Hunter is the most popular video game franchise in Japan. This is mainly due to the game's presence in the world of handheld gaming. Take a trip to Japan and you're likely to see tons of people on public transport with a 3DS or PSP in-hand. It's insanely popular. But why?
When it comes to multiplayer games in Japan, the landscape is very different. Arcades are still massively popular, and rather than playing games online with someone you've never, nor probably will ever meet, they play with friends. Monster Hunter's multiplayer mode suits this form of gaming perfectly. But it goes beyond simply playing with friends; there's social pressure to get involved with games like this in Japan!
"On a trip with 15 or so colleagues, everyone but me was playing Monster Hunter on their PSPs." Kenji, a 25 year-old actor recalls, "I sat in the corner playing Final Fantasy on my PSP, while everybody else sat in circles of 3 or 4 laughing and having fun… It was terrible. When I got home, the first thing I did was get a copy of the game."
Can the West Get A Release Date?
Multiplayer games are still a fun way of socially interacting with your friends in Japan, rather than the more predominantly separated experience it can be in the west. Therefore, imagine how this social pressure works with a new installment in the Monster Hunter franchise, particularly with one that looks as good as Monster Hunter X does!
The PSP is still more popular than the PS Vita because of Monster Hunter, and now the New 3DS has seen a massive spike in sales which are directly linked to this franchise. Monster Hunter X is doing extremely well in Japan, and we hope that we'll see a release date in the west in the near future. Let us know what you think of this cultural phenomenon and whether you're excited to get your hands on Monster Hunter X.