I can guarantee that if you ask any Zelda “aficionado” what the best selling Zelda game of all time is they would know the answer without even blinking. But can they tell you what the top 5 best selling Zelda games that were also re-released on different platforms are? How about the sales numbers for remakes and re-releases? Even a true Zelda guru would have to check his or her notes to answer that.
I’m no Zelda guru… by a long shot, but Max Nichols from Zelda Data is definitely a Zelda guru and someone you could call a Zelda data cruncher. This guy has a complete list of Zelda sales numbers, but not just the same ol’ sales numbers you can find anywhere else, he breaks everything down from platform penetration, re-releases and remakes, percentage of console gamers and general public and much more. It’s some pretty awesome data. He even considers people who have bought the same game more than once…a very good analysts in understanding that sale numbers don’t always mean unique sales.
Here is a chart of the sales numbers for each Zelda game from best selling to worst.
And here is a sales chart of all Zelda games including re-releases.
Ocarina of Time sold a total of 10.96 million copies, but we cannot assume that 10.96 million different people have played it. A significant portion of those 3.36 million copies of the 3DS version were probably people who had played it back on the N64.
Check out the rest of his data research at Zelda Data.