It’s safe to say that many have underestimated the new Nintendo Switch-exclusive JRPG Octopath Traveler. The game has launched to strong reviews, and it’s selling well enough that its publishers (Square Enix in Japan and Nintendo internationally) are struggling to keep it in stock, with Amazon already having sold all of its copies of the game.
Not only has Amazon run out of its copies of Octopath Traveler, but the game is hard to find elsewhere. Square Enix has issued an apology for the game being virtually impossible to find in Japan, and gamers elsewhere are unlikely to find it on store shelves in their area as well. Clearly there was more demand for this classic-style JRPG than anyone anticipated, and while it’s undoubtedly an early sales success, it’s possible that the added costs of producing cartridges has also played a role in the shortages.
For example, if Square Enix were to release Octopath Traveler on a disc, it’s possible that it would have released a number of copies more in line with what its actual sales expectations for it were. However, with Octopath Traveler being on a cartridge like all other Switch games, Square Enix and Nintendo had to be more conservative with the number of units produced.
While some may be frustrated that they can’t find any physical copies of Octopath Traveler, the game being both a commercial and critical success is a good thing for not only the Nintendo Switch, but classic-style JRPGs in general. Recent years haven’t been kind to the once-dominant genre, but the success of Octopath Traveler shows that consumers are hungry for a quality JRPG experience.
In the meantime, those who can’t wait for a physical copy of Octopath Traveler and want to see what all the fuss is about can try out the free demo that’s available on the eShop. If they like the demo, they can then transfer their progress to the main game, which will ensure that the three hours or so it takes to complete the demo won’t be time wasted. Of course, players may have to settle for a digital version of the full game, but hopefully stock of the physical version is replenished soon.
Octopath Traveler is out now, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.