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The Pokémon franchise may be a bit bruised following the backlash to Pokémon Scarlet/Violet’s technical missteps, but that hasn’t hurt the games’ sales by any means. If anything, the Pokémon franchise is bigger than ever, and that growth is never more clear than it’s been on the Switch.

Thanks to some number-brunching by Pierre485_, we now know that as far as mainline games go, the Switch has seen more Pokémon titles sold than any other platform. The previous record-holder was the Game Boy line at 75 million units sold, but the Switch has absolutely crushed that stat, hitting 96 million.

That 96 million stat shows just how huge both Switch and Pokémon are, and the data isn’t going to stop there. Pokémon Legends: Z-A is heading to Switch in 2025, and there’s no doubt it’ll rack up at least 10+ million in sales. Without a doubt, it’s going to be incredibly hard for any other Nintendo system to best the Pokémon sales Switch has fostered!

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tendonin

6d ago

It should have been higher. Zelda, Smash, and especially Animal Crossing and Mario Kart grew by huge degrees on Switch. The boost to Pokemon is obviously there too, but it’s actually more modest by the standards of a top-tier IP. Things could have gone better but didn’t. We can only hope TPCi recognizes that.


the_crimson_lure

6d ago

@tendonin

I can see that, but think about the surrounding circumstances:

Animal Crossing released at an unprecedented time when people drastically cut down on going outside. AC is a social simulator released when everyone suddenly found their outlets for actual social interaction taken away. I doubt another AC will ever hit the same numbers, since they were boosted so much by the pandemic. Comparing that situational growth (which AC itself will likely never achieve again) to Pokemon's isn't that logical.

Both Zelda and Smash had much more growth potential, due to being primarily "gamer" games that broke out into the mainstream. Pokemon has always been more casual and more mainstream than either. When you get to fringe audiences who have very little knowledge of video games, they probably won't know who Link or Zelda is, but Pikachu is a given. Pokemons mainstream reach is already so much more powerful than any game you mentioned.

Now, let's look at other context. It's a little difficult because it's not clarified what a "mainline" pokemon game is considered for the purposes of this data set.

But, if we consider mainline games to include each new pokemon generation and their remakes, we get:

GB/C: 7 games
GBA: 5 games
DS: 9 games
3DS: 8 games
Switch: 8 games

Pokemon has much less room to grow due to already being very mainstream, and the Switch doesn't even have more mainline titles than any previous platform.

In that context, crushing the previous platform for most mainline pokemon games sold is an incredible achievement.

I think that pokemon fans really need to recognize that for all the complaining we do about stagnant game design, technical shortcomings, and general frustration with the state of mainline games, GameFreak knows exactly what they are doing, and how they prioritize what to apply their resources too. And in turn is sustaining amazing success because of the strategy they created, whether we like it or not.

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