“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” sells more than 10 million worldwide in first three days, becoming the fastest-selling game in the series. With success like this, what’s next?

McKenna Morgan, Content Editor

May 25, 2023

4 Min Read
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” logoNintendo

In the first three days since its launch on May 12, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” game for the Nintendo Switch system sold more than 10 million units worldwide, becoming the fastest-selling game in the history of The Legend of Zelda series. With more than 4 million sold in the Americas, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is also the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game and fastest-selling Nintendo game for any system in that territory.

The Legend of Zelda action-adventure series started more than 35 years ago with “The Legend of Zelda” game, which debuted in the U.S. in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. As of March 2023, the series has sold more than 130 million units worldwide, and according to TitleMax, the franchise has made more than $3.4 billion as of 2022.

The series is so valuable that according to The Verge, a sealed copy of the original game sold for $870,000. When the game was released in 1986, it sold for $49.99.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

With numbers like this, Nintendo would be right to expect large sales for “Tears of the Kingdom.” However, the game ended up beating the competition by a landslide. “Hogwarts Legacy,” a Harry Potter game, sold 12 million copies in 14 days. “Cyberpunk 2077” sold 13.7 million copies in 21 days. “Tears of the Kingdom” sold more than 75% of what these other games accomplished in two to three weeks in just three days.

Another feat for the game is that this was done on a single console. This is a Nintendo Switch exclusive game. The Nintendo Switch is the only format currently available for this game, yet it still brings in the big bucks and breaks records. According to Paul Tassi at Forbes, the only comparable launch is “Pokémon Scarlet” and “Pokémon Violet,” which sold 10 million copies in three days, but were two separate games.

In “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” which is a direct sequel to “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” players, as Link (the main character), decide their path through the landscapes of Hyrule (the game’s universe) and on islands floating in the skies above. Harnessing the power of Link’s new abilities, players fight back against the forces that threaten the kingdom by solving puzzles, building weapons and more. It’s similar to “Breath of the Wild,” but with additional abilities for Link, a more expansive Hyrule, new challenges and more. “Breath of the Wild” launched in 2017, and as of March 2023, Statista says the game has sold 29.8 million units. A more expansive version of a game that fans already loved was a recipe for success at Nintendo.

“Many players are returning to Hyrule with all its new mysteries and possibilities, and with the record-breaking launch of ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’ for Nintendo Switch, we can’t wait to see what they’ll create in the game and the stories they’ll share next,” says Devon Pritchard, executive vice president, sales, marketing and communications, Nintendo of America. “We’re grateful for all of our fans who’ve shown their passion for The Legend of Zelda over the years, and these sales numbers for the latest installment continue to show the strong momentum for both the franchise and Nintendo Switch this year.”

“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is now available, along with The Nintendo Switch – OLED Model. “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Edition” system features a special design inspired by the game. Two accessories – a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and a Nintendo Switch carrying case, both with designs from “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” – are also available to purchase. The game, system and each of the accessories are sold separately.

With sales like this, it seems likely that a licensing program will follow suit. The Legend of Zelda series already boasts plenty of licensed products, from clothing to books to toys and more, but expect launches centered around the details in “Tears of the Kingdom.” It would be smart for licensees to jump on this trend and develop products because, based on these sales, fans would eat it up.

Watch this space – License Global will continue to report as this game’s legacy unfolds.

About the Author(s)

McKenna Morgan

Content Editor, License Global

McKenna Morgan is Content Editor for License Global. Based in the Santa Monica office, McKenna specializes in coverage involving non-profits, beauty and cosmetics, health and wellness, new and social media and entertainment licensing.

When McKenna isn’t covering the latest licensing news, she spends her time attending live music shows and finding her next travel destination.

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