Nintendo’s new franchise doesn’t star an Italian plumber, or an overzealous gorilla, or a sword-wielding hero on an epic quest. Instead, it stars a kid who’s also a squid, and your goal is to cover the ground in brightly coloured paint before your opponents do.
But don’t just take our word for it — the game has already moved over 1 million copies, despite launching less than one month ago. That’s big news for a company that rarely invests in brand new franchises. In fact, Nintendo almost made “Splatoon” a game starring Super Mario.
“There are around 7.5 million Wii Us in the installed base,” Wedbush Securities research analyst Michael Pachter told Business Insider. “Penetrating more than 10% of all owners in less than a month is a pretty big deal.”
More directly: for every 10 Wii U owners, more than one owns a copy of “Splatoon.” And in the world of video games, that’s a huge rate of software sales to hardware installed base (the “attach rate”). Pachter put it in historical context:
“Halo” sold to around half of original Xbox owners, and “Grand Theft Auto 3” sold to around 25% of PlayStation 2 owners at the time, but each took more than a month to get there…it’s on the low end for a Nintendo title, but very high for new IP.
Which is to say that, yes, a Mario version of the same game likely would have sold better based on name recognition alone. But in the long run, Nintendo has established a new franchise, and one that could go on to reap rewards for years to come.
And in the short run, Nintendo’s finally got a hit game in a new franchise on its ailing home console, the Wii U.