Square Enix Claims Strong Sales for Final Fantasy 16, But Critics and Numbers Tell a Different Story
Amidst claims of “extremely strong” sales by Square Enix, Final Fantasy 16, the divisive PS5 exclusive, faces increasing concerns about its performance in the gaming market. The company insists that the game’s three million copies sold during launch week are a testament to its success, pointing to the smaller PlayStation 5 install base compared to previous titles. However, industry experts and critics argue that the numbers and public response reveal a more complex story.
The controversy surrounding Final Fantasy 16’s sales began when a Bloomberg article highlighted a dramatic drop in sales during the second week after launch, leading to discussions about whether Square Enix had met its sales targets. While Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 15 achieved remarkable sales numbers, the former selling 3.5 million copies in three days and the latter becoming the fastest-selling game in the series, Final Fantasy 16’s initial figures have not lived up to these standards.
In response to the concerns raised, Square Enix issued a statement to IGN, attributing the disparity in sales to the difference in the PlayStation 4’s install base when Final Fantasy 7 Remake launched and the PlayStation 5’s install base when Final Fantasy 16 hit the market. The company stated that Final Fantasy 16’s attach rate is commendable, considering the smaller PS5 install base of 38 million consoles globally as of March 31, 2023.
The Gritty Action-Oriented Final Fantasy 16 Divides Fans and Raises Questions About the Series’ Future
Critics, however, argue that Square Enix’s sales expectations have historically been unrealistic, causing successful games like Tomb Raider and Hitman to be considered failures internally despite selling millions of copies. Sources familiar with Final Fantasy 16’s performance revealed that while sales had slowed since launch, the game was not yet considered a disaster. Some analysts pointed to producer Naoki Yoshida’s mention of potential DLC as an indication that Square Enix is investing more development time to improve the game’s performance.
Final Fantasy 16 deviates from traditional role-playing features, adopting a more gritty, action-oriented experience inspired by Game of Thrones. This shift has divided fans, with some appreciating the game’s innovation and others yearning for the classic Final Fantasy formula. IGN’s review praised the game’s fast-paced combat and engaging storytelling, but opinions remain mixed among long-time Final Fantasy enthusiasts.
Data from Ampere Games – Analytics revealed that Final Fantasy 16 ranked sixth among monthly active PS5 users globally in June, with 13% of PS5 players engaging with the game. During the initial days following the launch, it ranked second, falling slightly behind FIFA 23 but surpassing popular titles like Fortnite and Call of Duty. However, concerns remain about the game’s potential long-term sales, with some speculating that it may face challenges maintaining its position in the charts.
In Japan, Final Fantasy 16 faced unique challenges due to the country’s preference for the Nintendo Switch over the PS5. Despite this, the game managed to attract a considerable number of players in Japan, indicating that it has found some resonance with the audience. However, the game’s darker themes and older cast of characters may not have resonated as well with Japanese gamers accustomed to the traditional JRPG style.
As fans ponder the future of the Final Fantasy series, Square Enix is already gearing up for the winter launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Part 2, titled Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Rumors of remakes for Final Fantasy 6, 9, and 8 also circulate within the company, leaving players curious about the direction Square Enix will take with its iconic franchise.