Capcom’s action role-playing game Monster Hunter: World just finished up its limited-time beta earlier this week, but it will be out on January 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a PC version to come in late 2018. This entry in the Monster Hunter series is geared toward attracting Western audiences. Previous installments haven’t gained much traction in the West due to focusing on handheld platforms like the Nintendo 3DS instead of consoles and PC, according to industry analyst SuperData Research.
“Platform is the primary factor, but there is another related reason,” said SuperData’s senior analyst Carter Rogers in an email to GamesBeat. “Previous entries in the series have encouraged players to meet up in person with and play together. This generally isn’t feasible outside of densely populated Japan.”
Capcom has sold over 40 million copies of Monster Hunter games since the series debuted in 2004, thanks largely due to the devoted Japanese fan base. In order to appeal to Western audiences, Monster Hunter: World has more open-world gameplay. Capcom has also worked on adjusting the learning curve and incorporating more tutorials, hoping these changes will help new players get into the series.
And these changes may just work. Rogers says that players are excited for the newest entry, gauging interest based on factors like how many times the trailer has been watched and the number of search queries. The analyst predicts Monster Hunter: World will sell somewhere between 300,000 to 600,000 digital copies during its first month.
“I would consider the high end of that range a success,” said Rogers. “These aren’t huge numbers compared to other triple-A titles, but this is still a niche series outside of Japan.”
What may hurt Monster Hunter: World, though, is the delayed PC release. Rogers says that this will ding its lifetime sales, because players will have more titles to choose from by the time the PC version comes out. And he cites some numbers that show how a gap between releases can harm a publisher’s numbers.
“Nioh (Koei Tecmo) released on console in February 2017 and PC in November 2017. First-month player numbers on PC were only 28 percent of first-month player numbers on console,” said Rogers. “In contrast: Dark Souls III (Bandai Namco) released on PC within a few weeks after the console version in early 2016. First-month PC player numbers were 40 percent of console player numbers.”