Back when Final Fantasy XV was about to launch in 2016, the game's director Hajime Tabata claimed that it would need to sell 10 million copies worldwide for the game to recoup its cost. Six years later, Final Fantasy XV has finally reached that 10 million units goal and Square Enix announced that the game has reached that milestone on Twitter, thanking fans for their support of the title.
In comparison to other titles in the Final Fantasy titles, the highest-selling title in the series is the original Final Fantasy VII. The original VII has sold over 13 million units worldwide, both physically and digitally, since it was released globally in 1997. The second best-selling title in the franchise is Final Fantasy X, released in 2001, and it has sold over 10 million units. With this recent sales update for Final Fantasy XV, XV is now in a position to be the third best-selling title in the franchise. XV has now beaten Final Fantasy VIII's 8.8 million unit sales.
Tabata's claims that the game needed to sell 10 million copies may not have been completely serious, as Final Fantasy XV was considered a success at launch, and it didn't need to reach that sales milestone. The game was able to sell an impressive 5 million units within the first twenty-four hours after it launched globally, making it one of the biggest launch titles in the Final Fantasy series.
Tabata's original claims most likely stem from how long XV was in development. Originally going to be Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game was initially announced in 2006 as a PlayStation 3 spin-off title of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy. The Fabula Nova Crystallis is a sub-franchise within the greater Final Fantasy series that focuses more on the mythology of Final Fantasy XIII. Versus XIII had a very tumultuous development, being in development for over ten years. With how long the game was in development, Tabata's 10 million units claim is most likely meant to represent the total cost it will take to recoup for how long the game was in development.