Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth continues a worrying trend of Japanese gaming

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth continues a worrying trend of Japanese gaming
Images via Square Enix

Written by 

Jack Marsh

Published 

8th Mar 2024 17:10

The Final Fantasy franchise is one of the most dominant gaming series ever, being a hit sensation time after time again all around the world. It's been especially successful in its native home of Japan, or at least it used to be. 

With blockbuster entries in the series dating back to the '90s, Square Enix has recently been keen to revisit its most popular games and bring them back to life. A fan-favourite has been reborn - or rebirth-ed - in a bid to recapture its glory days.

But shortly after the release of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, sales in Japan have plummeted, failing to get anywhere near the FFVII remake of 2020, and the existing legendary title.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth sales fail to live up to expectations

Sephiroth in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
Click to enlarge
Image via Square Enix

The original Final Fantasy 7 is regarded as one of the series' best games, being joint-second in critical acclaim on Metacritic (with a score of 92/100) and only being bettered by FF IX. It's also the second-most purchased game in the series, despite being 26 years old this year, behind the 2010 instalment of FF XIV.

But the magic of Rebirth seemingly hasn't married with that of its original, as according to Famitsu, only 262,656 copies have been sold in Japan in its opening week. This is less than half of what the 2020 Remake made.

Figures from Game Data Library show that the Remake made 702,000 sales in its first week in Japan, nearly three times as much as Rebirth, while the original PlayStation 1 title netted over 2 million sales in its opening seven days.

Final Fantasy's descending sales stats show a worrying trend in Japan

Final Fantasy sales in Japan
Click to enlarge
Game Data Library

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It could be a factor of franchise fatigue, or it could be the fact that a lot of games are now digital, and sales are much harder to track. Still, Japan's physical copy era appears to be coming to a close, with only 10% of physical copies of Rebirth being bought in the country compared to the 1997 variant.

But since the PlayStation 4 was introduced, Final Fantasy discs have been on a downward spiral, with only the VII Remake and FFXV landing spots in the top 30 of games in the series in terms of sales. If you factor in Rebirth to this data, which hasn't been added yet, the title would land in 39th place.

It's not all doom and gloom, as Rebirth has just moved away from those midnight releases and stayed on course with the digital age, where its sales could be up there with that two million benchmark made by its namesake game.

We've covered how the Rebirth sales have struggled against 2020's Remake across the board, with a lot of that being put down to the pandemic boosting gaming back then. That still doesn't take away from the fact that Final Fantasy seems to be on a general downward trajectory in the place it calls home. 

Jack is an Esports Journalist at GGRecon. Graduating from the University of Chester, with a BA Honours degree in Journalism, Jack is an avid esports enthusiast and specialises in Rocket League, Call of Duty, VALORANT, and trending gaming news.

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