Everybody was expecting The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to be a big success. The follow-up to Breath of the Wild was destined to sell a lot and likely end up as one of the biggest games of 2023. Still, it’s surprising and impressive to see the latest Zelda game selling over 10 million copies in just three days, putting it on pace to outsell games that span multiple consoles like Hogwarts Legacy, God of War: Ragnarok, and more.
Released on May 12, Tears of the Kingdom expands and improves on 2017’s Breath of the Wild in many ways thanks to its new and intricate crafting mechanics and sprawling map that takes Link from deep underground to high above in the clouds. And sure, it’s reusing a lot of the map from Breath of the Wild and plays a lot like that last game, but considering how many people adore that entry into the Zelda franchise, it doesn’t seem like a dealbreaker. In fact, according to Nintendo, 10 million people have already bought a copy and jumped into the world of Hyrule to build glorious things, like giant flaming dicks or deadly penis rocks.
Selling 10 million copies in three days is impressive by itself. But keep in mind a few things. For starters, Tears of the Kingdom is a Switch exclusive and only available on that single platform. It also is Nintendo’s first $70 game. Yet none of that slowed Kingdom down as it has already sold a third of Breath of the Wild’s total sales. (That game has sold nearly 30 million since 2017.) It has likely already outsold Splatoon 3’s total sales, too.
Nintendo also notes in its press release announcing the massive figure that Kingdom is the fastest-selling Zelda game in the franchise’s history, the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game, and the fastest-selling Nintendo game for any system in America. Wowza!
Tears of Kingdom’s sales numbers compared to other big exclusives
Meanwhile, when comparing the numbers, it’s clear that Zelda is about to have one hell of a year. As of May 2023, Sony’s Horizon: Forbidden West (a game released on both PS4 and PS5) has sold a respectable, but smaller, 8.3 million units. Tears of the Kingdom will also likely (if it hasn’t already) surpass God of War: Ragnaork’s 11 million copies sold in three months.
Outside of console exclusives, things get even wilder. Tears of the Kingdom, a game released on but one platform, is already catching up to Hogwarts Legacy—one of 2023’s biggest multiplatform games. The open-world Harry Potter spin-off sold 15 million copies as of this month. And one of last year’s biggest games, Elden Ring, took five weeks to sell 13 million copies, a number Zelda will almost certainly pass in the very near future. (Elden Ring would end 2022 with 20 million units under its belt, which Zelda is already halfway to matching in just three days.)
It’s quite remarkable and nearly unprecedented for a console-exclusive game to be selling this quickly at this scale. And as we saw with Breath of the Wild, a game people played and cared about for years after its release, it’s likely that Tears of the Kingdom will have a ridiculously long tail, selling millions of more copies in the weeks, months, and years to come.
And it did all of this without battle passes, seasons, live service updates, or online multiplayer. Other publishers, take note.