Kingdom Hearts III was the No. 1 best-selling game in the U.S. in January, according to industry-tracking firm The NPD Group. It also brought in, in terms of dollars, two-and-a-half times what Kingdom Hearts II did when it launched in the U.S. back in March 2006.
Kingdom Hearts III launched on January 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That only gave it three days to be a part of The NPD Group’s tracking, but it still managed to outdo its predecessor. Kingdom Hearts II came out for PlayStation 2 on March 28, 2006. That gave it four days to be on sale back in that month.
You might think that Kingdom Hearts III had an advantage being out on two consoles instead of one, but Kingdom Hearts II came out for the PlayStation 2, the best-selling console ever, late in its life cycle. Sony sold over 150 million PS2s. There are about 91.6 million PlayStation 4s out in the wild right now. Microsoft does not report Xbox One sales, although Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad believes that it is around 41 million. So overall, being on two systems doesn’t give Kingdom Hearts III access to a larger audience than Kingdom Hearts II had with the massive PS2 install base.
A long wait pays off
Kingdom Hearts fan built up a lot of anticipation during all those years between the two games. In the meantime, Square Enix released spinoffs for platforms like PSP and 3DS, along with HD remasters and compilations for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. As long as the wait was, it didn’t hurt the franchise, as Kingdom Hearts is now more popular than ever.
Although Kingdom Hearts III is the end of a major story arc for the franchise, the series is not done. An unlockable secret ending for Kingdom Hearts III gave fans hints about the future of franchise. But considering how long we had to wait between Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts III — and all the spinoff games that came between them — you shouldn’t necessarily expect the next title to be Kingdom Hearts IV.
But considering how much money these numbered Kingdom Hearts games make, maybe Square Enix will forget the spinoffs this time.