Sales of the latest Monster Hunter release in Japan were absolutely spectacular.
Playing Monster Hunter in Japan is like wearing a leather jacket everywhere else: All the cool kids are doing it. The game's popularity shows the stark contrast between Japanese playing habits versus the rest of the world's, as the latest PSP entry in the series sold an amazing 2 million copies in five days and also caused a giant spike in PSP hardware sales.
According to Enterbrain sales figures published in Famitsu magazine, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd sold 2,146,467 units through December 5, 2010 after being released to ravenous crowds on December 1. Capcom boasted that it shipped 2 million copies of the game, but sales have already gone beyond that number by nearly 150,000.
These sales numbers are a record for a PSP game, which is one of the most popular systems in Japan despite the handheld not lighting a fire under other regions. PSP sales also jumped by a considerable number, from an average of 30,000-40,000 per week, to 75,689 the week before Portable 3rd was released, to 326,639 units sold over Monster Hunter release week. This is also a record for the handheld.
These numbers don't quite match up to Dragon Quest IX's sales of 2.3 million in two days or the 2.63 million copies sold of Pokemon Black & White in the same time period, but they're record breaking nonetheless. Monster Hunter also pushed up Wii sales in Japan when Monster Hunter Tri came out, but not to this degree.
There's just no denying it: Japan loves hunting monsters. The region has a voracious appetite for Monster Hunter's unique multiplayer features that make it akin to an MMO you can play with the person sitting across from you on a train. Monster Hunter has done reasonably well in North America and Europe with products like Tri and previous PSP release Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, but overseas sales seem to be padding compared to what the series does in Japan, which is why the country gets Monster Hunter underwear and we don't. Portable 3rd hasn't been announced for regions outside of Japan yet.