Nintendo is bound to be happy with the reception that Splatoon has received upon release. The paint-based multiplayer shooter has been released to a wave of positive reviews, with plenty of praise for the game's ingenuity within a genre that is sometimes criticized for a lack of new ideas. In short, the Wii U title looks to have become an impressive addition to the Nintendo gamer's library.
It's not all been positive for Splatoon, however, and the title has had to contend with both criticism and some serious setbacks in the run-up to its release. Most noticeably, the rumors of a lack of voice chat turned out to be correct, with Nintendo explaining that it took the measures to avoid online negativity and toxic experiences. Meanwhile, a lorry carrying pre-order Splatoon stock, complete with Amiibo figures, was stolen from Nintendo's European warehouse, leading to shortages with British retailers.
Thankfully, that kind of bad luck has not surfaced in Nintendo's home turf, where Splatoon has been doing swimmingly well. In fact, the multiplayer-focused title has been a huge commercial smash hit in Japan. According to the most up-to-date Media Create video games sales figures from Gematsu, Splatoon is riding high at the top of the Japanese charts.
The figures put Splatoon at selling close to 145,000 units within its first week of release, a highly impressive figure for the Wii U exclusive. The squid-filled shooter sold more than treble the figures of its closest competitor, and even leapfrogged The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's all-time sales in Japan. It remains to be seen whether the title can keep up the pace, but the sales figures bode well for Splatoon's long-term relevancy either way.
It's not just software sales that will have Nintendo jumping for joy this week, either, as the gaming publisher has also performed admirably in the hardware market. The Wii U may have struggled with sales throughout its lifespan, with many expecting the console to drift out of the limelight after the announcement of the mysterious NX, but Nintendo's current home console has once more jumped to the top of the sales charts. The Wii U sold an impressive 17,000 units over the course of the week, no doubt also down to the success of the highly-anticipated Splatoon.
So far, Splatoon looks to be paying back the effort that Nintendo has placed into the creation of the new IP, particularly given the publisher's reliance on its long-lasting franchises such as Super Mario, and perhaps Splatoon could become an important IP in its own right. Nintendo is certainly pushing the multiplayer title for its potential longevity, with Splatoon set to have content in Super Smash Bros. and the publisher has also released new free content for the game. Let's see whether Splatoon can truly make a continual impression on the video game industry.