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2K is celebrating a solid launch for this year’s basketball title. More than 4 million copies of NBA 2K16 have been shipped to retail in the first week.

While shipment numbers don’t align directly with sell-through (sales to customers), 2K’s basketball franchise has a strong track record of retail sales. Looking back at the past 12 months of NPD reports, NBA 2K15 was present in the top ten for nine months. The game led the United States retail sales listings in its debut month (October 2014) and remained on the list through June 2015.

In addition to strong demand from retailers, 2K says that its digital full-game sales have doubled over last year. Nearly three times as many games were played in this year’s opening week compared to last year’s.

Our review of NBA 2K16 will be up later today.

Our Take
While shipment numbers aren’t always a good indicator of success, put in context with the digital sales performance and online games played, we can infer a strong retail start. Especially given last year’s retail performance and long tail, it’s safe to say that 2K is outpacing NBA 2K15’s sales with this year’s game.

the author Mike Futter