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The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sells record 10 million copies in three days

Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has already sold four million copies in the US alone (Nintendo)
Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has already sold four million copies in the US alone (Nintendo)

Nintendo has announced that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sold 10 million copies in its first three days on sale.

This makes Tears of the Kingdom the “fastest-selling game in the history of The Legend of Zelda series,” according to Nintendo UK.

The Switch version of the game’s predecessor Breath of the Wild sold 925,000 copies in the US in its launch month, March 2017, according to the NPD Group. Tears of the Kingdom has already sold four million copies in the US alone.

Of course, the Nintendo Switch was brand new at that point. The Switch sold 2.74 million units in March 2017, its first month of release, while at the time of writing Nintendo had sold upwards of 125 million Switch consoles.

Tears of the Kingdom vs Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has sold 29.8 million units, meaning Tears of the Kingdom has managed a third of those six years of sales in only three days. The game has also had an exceptional critical reception, with an average score of 96 per cent from 94 reviews, according to Metacritic.

Nintendo has not announced any revenue figures for the game, but some estimate the total at around $700 million (£562m). It’s the second highest-earning Nintendo video game launch of all time, after 2008’s Wii Fit, which came with the Balance Board accessory, pushing its price up to £69.99.

This also places the game’s launch just behind 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2. Publisher Take-Two announced that game made $725m (£583m) in its first three days.

Nintendo’s biggest-selling games of all time

The question for Nintendo Switch-loving stat fans is how high up the list of best-selling Switch games The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom may be able to rise.

Breath of the Wild is currently the fourth best-selling Switch title. It sits just below the 31-million-selling Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which seems an achievable goal for new Zelda.

However, there’s a big gap between it and the second best-selling title, lockdown favourite Animal  Crossing: New Horizons. It has sold 42.2 million copies to date, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe currently seems unassailable at 53.79 million, according to Nintendo’s latest figures.

Mario Kart 8 isn’t even a Switch exclusive, having launched on its predecessor the Wii U almost a decade ago in 2014. That game was also the Wii U’s best-selling title, with 8.46 million copies sold.

Wii Sports is Nintendo’s biggest-selling console game of all time, racking up 82.9 million sales — a figure buoyed by the game being bundled in with so many Nintendo Wii consoles. Here’s the list of the top-selling Nintendo games to date:

  1. Wii Sports (Wii) - 82.9 million

  2. Martio Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) - 53.79 million

  3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch) - 42.21 million

  4. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - 37.38 million

  5. Wii Sports Resort (Wii) - 33.14 million

  6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch) - 31.09 million

  7. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - 30.32 million

  8. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) - 29.81 million

  9. Wii Play (Wii): 28.02 million

  10. Pokemon Sword/Shield (Switch) - 25.82 million

However, none of these get close to the top-performing multi-platform releases of all time. Did you know that Grand Theft Auto V has sold more than 175 million copies, and raked in an estimated £6.2 billion in the decade since its launch? Minecraft developer Mojang also announced in 2021 its game had sold 238 million copies across all platforms.