With Persona 5, this role-playing franchise finally broke into the mainstream. Now it seems like everybody is a Persona fan (as they should be) looking forward to the inevitable Persona 6. The next mainline installment of the franchise is also on the minds of Atlus and its parent company Sega, with the topic coming up during the most recent earnings call Q&A and Sega suggesting Persona 6 could sell 5 million copies in its first year. That’s an ambitious expectation to place on the next installment of the franchise, one that feels perhaps too lofty despite the franchise’s increased global popularity.
"We believe that it would be possible for a major Persona title, such as a numbered release, to sell 5 million copies in its first year,” said Sega Sammy’s Haruki Atami and Koichi Fukasawa (the two respondents during the Q&A) as reported by Persona Central. Five’s a big number!
To put it in context, the entire Persona franchise (including spinoff titles) has collectively sold 17.7 million units since the first game was released in 1996 according to a Sega Sammy 2023 integrated report. Within that, Persona 5 (including Royal and all spinoff titles) has sold nine million copies worldwide as of Jun 2023 according to reports from Persona Central. That means Persona 5’s sales make up over half of the entire franchise, speaking to the most recent mainline entries' global success.
Still, the nine million number for Persona 5 includes a lot of caveats. It counts the mainline game, the Royal edition, and all spinoff titles (such as the recently released Persona 5 Tactica). Not to mention that it has been seven years since Persona 5 first launched. It took the game till December 2017, after its global release, to reach the two million sales mark. Persona 5 is the fastest and best-selling entry in the franchise to date. And yet, the growth that is needed to reach five million units sold in the first year of release for Persona 6 feels massive — arguably, unattainable.
Overzealous sales expectations have been a burden on developers in the past, namely with Square Enix getting a bad reputation for high sales expectations that couldn’t be met. This was the case with Forspoken, NEO: The World Ends with You, and while Square Enix defended the sales of Final Fantasy XVI, the game still, “did not meet the high end of the company’s expectation,” reported Bloomberg. This trend makes the expectations for Persona 6 slightly worrisome.
However, the respondents from Sega Sammy did hint at a plan for how the company would reach its lofty goals for Persona 6, which includes, “releasing it on multiple platforms and simultaneously worldwide from day one.” This hints that the release would come earlier in the year in order to give the game the best shot at success, and that it will launch on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC at the same time. That is a solid plan, considering Persona 5 launched in September 2016 in Japan and April 2017 worldwide for PlayStation 3 and 4. The question will be, is it enough?
It mostly comes down to whether the franchise’s popularity has risen high enough, the release date doesn’t conflict with other major releases, and — most importantly — if Persona 6 is actually a good game.