Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-11-07 16:07 (JST)
Translated by. Nick Mosier
In recent years, remakes and remasters have shown themselves to be strong sellers. The recently released The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD has already reached similar sales numbers to the Wii original, and numerous other titles have drawn near or even surpassed the sales of their original versions. Let’s look at some recent remakes and remasters and see just how well they fared against the games they were based on.
According to a recently released financial report from Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, which released on July 16, has already surpassed 3.6 million units sold worldwide. The game is a remaster of original Skyward Sword, which released for the Nintendo Wii in 2011, and features improved graphics, Joy-Con optimized controls, and other revisions to make it easier to play.
A financial report released by Nintendo in 2012 shows that the original Skyward Sword had sold 3.5 million units by the early part of 2012. While the original release would continue to sell beyond that, the trajectory of the two versions is very similar, with the remaster showing strong and comparable numbers.
While it’s not a remake or a remaster, the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8 saw a deluxe version released for the Nintendo Switch that put up very notable sales numbers. Since its release in 2017, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has sold over 38 million units, blowing past the Wii U original’s 8.4 million. It even surpassed Mario Kart Wii’s 37.3 million units, which was previously the best-selling title in the series. It currently stands as the best-selling title for the Nintendo Switch.
Another example that stands out are the remakes in the Resident Evil series. According to Capcom’s official website, 2019’s Resident Evil 2, a remake of the PlayStation 1 classic of the same name, sold 8.9 million units across all platforms as of September 30, 2021. It also holds the distinction of being Capcom’s 3rd best-selling game. The remake surpasses the original Resident Evil 2, which sold almost 5 million copies.
Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil HD Remaster, and Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster also surpassed their original releases in sales. Each of these titles were released on multiple platforms, though, instead of being platform exclusive like the original games tended to be. These releases being multiplatform is also likely a reason for the sales increase since more players have access to the games.
Plus, the fact that the number of gamers is increasing is also likely contributing to the higher sales of remakes and remasters. According to a 2020 report from market research organization Newzoo and the Kadokawa ASCII Research laboratory, there were around 2 billion gamers in 2015. And by 2020, that number had grown to roughly 2.68 billion. In 2020, 2.5 billion played on mobile, 1.3 billion played on PC, and 8 hundred million played on game consoles. That’s a lot of gamers spread across numerous devices out there. Since there are more people playing games than ever before, remakes and remasters are naturally releasing to larger markets than their original versions.
As to why there are so many remakes and remasters being made, it’s probably easier to forecast sales for a remake or remaster of a well-received game that already has name recognition instead of releasing a new IP. Fans wanting new titles in their favorite series may feel a certain way about it, but there’s also value in bringing games back that are now hard to obtain and reviving them for long-time fans and new players.
In the previously mentioned report from Newzoo, they predict that there will be over 3 billion gamers by 2023, so it sounds like conditions will only become more favorable for remakes and remasters. Maybe that game you’ve been wanting to be playable on modern consoles will come back, too.