NEO: The World Ends with You sales underperformed Square Enix’s expectations

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-11-25 15:57 (JST)
Translated by. Ryuki Ishii

Square Enix has released the outline for their FY2022/2023 Q2 financial results briefing held on November 5. According to the outline (PDF link), NEO: The World Ends with You was well received by users, but “it has underperformed” the company’s initial expectations. The wording used in the Japanese version of the outline (PDF link) is, “significantly lower than our initial expectations.”

The company booked net sales of 168.9 billion yen, an operating income of 29.1 billion yen, an ordinary income of 31.4 billion yen, and a net income attributable to parent company shareholders of 22.9 billion yen in the first half of the fiscal year 2022/2023.

The net sales of the HD Games sub-segment were “lower than in the same period of the previous fiscal year, which had seen the release of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and Marvel’s Avengers.” This year’s lineup, which includes Outriders, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, Life is Strange: True Colors, and NEO: The World Ends with You, was apparently weaker than last year’s in terms of sales.

NEO: The World Ends with You is an action RPG that released for PS4 and Nintendo Switch in July of this year. The PC version came out on the Epic Games Store later in September. The protagonist, Rindo, notices something is off while walking through the district of Shibuya, Tokyo. Eventually, a strange girl who claims to be a Reaper invites him to a competition called the Reaper’s Game. Rindo must try to get to the bottom of things while fighting enemies called Noise using the power of Pins.

It’s a sequel to The World Ends with You which initially launched for Nintendo DS in 2007. The World Ends with You was later ported to smartphones and the Nintendo Switch with some additional content. NEO: The World Ends with You is the first sequel the franchise has received in 14 years besides the anime adaptation.

In terms of domestic sales in Japan, the sequel sold 28,047 physical copies in its first week according to Famitsu’s weekly sales chart. As a reference point, the previous game sold 180,000 copies in Japan as of September 2008, according to Square Enix (PDF link). The first-week physical sales of The World Ends with You’s Nintendo Switch port was 14,216 copies ( Although the sequel sold more than the port version of the previous game, 28,047 physical copies seems a bit low for a brand-new sequel.

As for overseas sales, it ranked 10th in the UK weekly physical sales chart during its launch week. At one point, it was reported to be on the bestseller list of the Nintendo eShop in the US and the PS Store in Australia, but the game didn’t leave much of an impact in these countries.

As mentioned by Square Enix, the game was well received by players and critics alike, with a decent Metascore of 82 (user score: 8.5) for the Nintendo Switch version and 80 (user score: 8.4) for the PS4 version. There is no doubt that the game is loved by fans who have played it.

The quality of the game is high as well, with a well-crafted storyline, stylish combat, unique game system, and accessible gameplay. Unlike the 2D-based world of the predecessor, the battles take advantage of the 3D map. To put it simply, the sequel modernized the series while retaining the charm of the previous game. The development team includes staff who were involved in the first title, so this is a sequel created by people who understand the series pretty well.

That being said, I think it’s a bit hard for newcomers to get onboard. Although you don’t need to have played the first game in order to understand the story, you won’t get the full enjoyment out of it. I’m sure most people who have played them both will agree. It’s hard to recommend playing the new game first since it caters to the fans of the first game with full of references to The World Ends with You.

While Square Enix did try to market it as a newcomer-friendly game, that’s not quite the case. It’s a great sequel that fully respects the previous entry, but that can be an obstacle for newcomers. I would imagine that if the sales of the new game are below Square Enix’s sales projections, then it’s unlikely to get another sequel. I wonder where the franchise will go from here.