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Zelda: Breath of the Wild needs to sell over two million copies in order to become profitable for Nintendo, a target that seems feasible considering how the past titles in the series have fared financially.

At first, two million copies sold for the newest Zelda game seems to represent a high target for even an AAA game, but in reality it is much more normal. Games like Tomb Raider ‘failed’ at 3.4 million copies sold, while Alien Isolation’s sales numbers were considered a ‘weak’ at 2.1 million copies sold.

However, if one considers all the variables behind the latest Zelda title, it seems like a sure success already. Considering that Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set to release on the Nintendo NX as a launch title and the Nintendo Wii U as it’s swan song in 2017, there doesn’t seem many plausible scenarios in which Breath of the Wild is a financial failure.

Furthermore, if we compare the two million profitability margin with how the last main game in the Zelda series to be released, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it sold 3.52 million copies worldwide within the first five months of being released. These sales numbers are relatively close with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which sold 3.27 million copies worldwide within the first five months of being released, which like Breath of the Wild was a duo system release.

The fact that Zelda: Breath of the Wild only needs to sell at least two million copies is interesting, especially when one considers that 300 people have worked on the title over the game’s five year development cycle, with about 100 developers currently working on it as Breath of the Wild nears its release date of early 2017.


Quick Take:

Given the sales numbers of the previous modern Zelda games, two million copies sold seems to be an understandable and financially responsible goal to be striving for, an absolute rarity in today’s AAA industry. Hopefully, this means that Zelda: Breath of the Wild is as good as it looks, but it’ll be close to a year until we find out.

What do you think of Zelda: Breath of the Wild needing to sell two million copies? Are you going to buy it? Let us know in the comments!

More About This Game

Patrick Perrault

Staff Writer

Writer for TechRaptor, who hopes to gain valuable experience in a constantly changing industry.



  • Robert Grosso

    Not to mention a small goal.

    The handheld Zelda’s usually crack those numbers, but the console ones…they are usually 3 million+ sellers.

  • Zepherdog

    Zelda IS a profitable franchise and I’d wager Nintendo isn’t big on marketing gimmicks, hence the relatively low budget compared to inflated, run-of-the-mill AAA games. Regardless of how they choose to shoot themselves in the foot, fans will always take the flack and shell out day 1.

    Here’s hoping the NX gets proper support and isn’t another half-hearted, half-asses attempt at replicating the success of the Wii like the Wii U.

  • Jonathan Litwinka

    The number itself isn’t that bad, but what I’m wondering is how the NX will effect it. Twilight Princess on the GC only sold 1 million units, and I’m wondering how the Wii U’s small install base, combined with uncertainties about the NX, will influence sales.

  • TT

    I plan on getting it, but I have to wonder what exactly the NX would offer

  • Robert Grosso

    Twilight Princess also sold close to 8 million copies on the Wii as a launch title.

    I have a feeling that number might not be a problem for the NX.

  • Nathaniel Plain

    Nintendo just needed to say that the game needed to be released to be profitable. Seriously, there is no way they would not turn a profit on this. Way too much positive buzz from E3 for it to tank.

  • goodguya

    Even Wind Waker sold 2 million. I’m not worried about the sales projection, especially if it’s an NX launch title.

  • RandomDev

    It’s going to sell 3x that number easily.

  • KLLRFRST

    This is a Zelda game people have been chomping at the bit to play for over 2 years. This will not only sell 2 million copies in a week, it’ll move 2 million NXs in week.

  • garf02

    given how they didnt have to pay for a light show presentation, and still had the most talked about game of E3. yeah, they are wizards some time

  • Kris Godwin

    Wow. Nintendo could teach the other companies a thing or two about responsible budgeting…

    *cough*Square-Enix*cough*

  • Hobo-Tobo

    Only complete fucking idiots were surprised by the sales numbers of Tomb Raider and Alien Isolation being a failure/weak.

  • garf02

    “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it sold 3.52 million copies worldwide within the first five months of being released. These sales numbers are relatively close with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which sold 3.27 million copies worldwide within the first five months of being released”

    and RE:6 was a failure wiht like 5-7M sales.

    Nintendo is a literal wizard, when it comes to budget management, also as a 1st party games. the returns are higher than 3rd party games

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    Yeah and it will sell consoles as well. Nintendo know this so it’s not just game copy sales they are looking at with this new Zelda as it’s one of the few franchises that can legitimately make a lot of people buy a new console.
    Hell I haven’t bought a console since a PS2 and I’m considering it if the game turns out as good as it looks.

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    The thing is, Nintendo knows that pretty much everyone who has a Nintendo console owns one because of the first party games. People buy those consoles specifically because they love Zelda and Mario, so they really don’t have to market it in the same way that other multi-plat games do that are competing with a lot more games.
    Less spent on marketing means less sales required to break even.