When it comes to sales, Phantom Hourglass was considered highly successful, having surpassed 4.5milliion units sold across the world. Spirit Tracks was its spiritual successor having used the same game engine, being a direct story sequel, and having been released just two years after Phantom Hourglass hit shelves. When Spirit Tracks was released late last year, it was given mostly positive reviews, and while its ratings were lower than many previous Zelda titles, it still had a collective score of 87% on Game Rankings.
However, even with more Nintendo DS systems out in the market and even after Phantom Hourglass was out in stores for years having been a success, Spirit Tracks simply did not sell nearly as well. After being on the market for just about six months, you can tell by the chart below exactly where Spirit Tracks stands and how Phantom Hourglass also stands. As you can see, in the next week or two Phantom Hourglass will have officially past Spirit Tracks in sales in terms of how many weeks it has been on the market.
So why has Phantom Hourglass done so well, while Spirit Tracks has struggled to keep pace? Several reasons could explain this with one of them being the time of release for the two games. Phantom Hourglass was released in Japan in the Summer of 2007 and then later in North America in the Fall of 2007. This gave the game two different game launch release date, along with it being available on the market for several months before the holiday 2007 season. Spirit Tracks on the other end had a North American release in December of 2009, right in the midst of the holiday season. This result in a significant sale volume early on, but it quickly dwindled after the holiday season. The Japanese release of Spirit Tracks didn’t come until very late in December and it missed the holiday rush, which usually triggers much of the game sales.
Another possible reasoning behind the weaker sales of Spirit Tracks could have to do with Phantom Hourglass itself. Phantom Hourglass received mostly positive reviews from critics, but Zelda fan reactions were very mixed. Many fans criticized the game as being way too easy and also criticized the gameplay of the Temple of the Ocean King. This may have caused many Zelda fans to have never even completed the game and thus would have no interest in playing a similar Zelda title on the Nintendo DS later.
Whatever the reason may be, Phantom Hourglass sold very well for Nintendo and even though Spirit Tracks didn’t sell nearly as well, it still remains one of Nintendo’s better performing DS titles. So what do you think prompted weaker Spirit Tracks sales? Let us know in the comments below.