A Multi-Billion Dollar IP: The Best-Selling Pokémon Games

Pokémon video games bring in millions of dollars in revenue every year. The most popular video games amassed an incredible amount — more than $5 billion since their individual releases.

The Pokémon brand generated an annual revenue of $11.6 billion in 2022, just through licensed products. 

Which game is the best-selling, though? Is it the original Pokémon Red / Green / Blue, released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996? Or is it Pokémon Gold & Silver, arguably the best games the Pokémon series offers? 

According to a recent study, it's none of these; the two Nintendo Switch releases, Pokémon Sword & Shield and Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, are the two best-selling games in the franchise.

Four Nintendo Switch Pokémon Games Among The Best-Selling Pokémon Titles

Sword & Shield, as well as Scarlet & Violet‘s, inclusion at the top of the list of best-selling Pokémon games, may shock fans. According to the review aggregator Metacritic, they are two of the worst reviewed Pokémon games ever.

Critics mention a lack of innovation and a failure to take advantage of the Nintendo Switch hardware as key concerns for Sword & Shield. That didn't stop the games from generating $1.55 billion in gross revenue. As for Scarlet & Violet, the game is regarded as a technical failure, plagued by a host of technical issues and game-breaking bugs. Despite that, the two have grossed over $1.35 billion since its 2022 launch.

The next two entries on the list, Pokémon Red / Green / Blue and Pokémon Gold & Silver, are regarded as some of the best in the Pokémon series.

First released in 1996, Pokémon Red / Green / Blue took the world by storm, introducing gamers to the wonderful world of Pokémon. Red / Green / Blue also introduced the notion of dual releases. In Japan, they were called Red & Green, while Western audiences saw them named Red & Blue, encouraging players to trade with friends to complete their Pokémon collection. These games generated $1.271 billion in gross revenue. The sequels, Gold & Silver, were released for the Game Boy Color in 1999 and have grossed over $1.016 billion in revenue. 

Rounding out the rest of the top ten best-selling Pokémon games, 2013's Pokémon X & Y for the Nintendo 3DS generated $953 million, as did 1998's Pokémon Yellow and 2018's Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee for the Nintendo Switch. Also on Nintendo Switch is Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, which grossed $903 million. 2016's Pokémon Sun & Moon made $879 million. Rounding out the top ten is Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, earning $778 million. 

A Global Phenomenon For Nearly 30 Years

“The popularity and financial success of Pokémon games are nothing short of astounding,” says Arthur Lambert on behalf of the casinos comparison web portal fr-casinospot, who performed the study. “With a dedicated fanbase that spans the globe, these games consistently rake in enormous profits. Year after year, each new installment generates a tremendous buzz, drawing in both long-time fans and newcomers eager to explore the enchanting world of Pokémon. The franchise's ability to transcend generational boundaries and resonate with players of all ages ensures that it remains a powerful economic force in the gaming industry. From the games' sales to a multitude of related merchandise and spin-off media, Pokémon's widespread appeal is a testament to its enduring status as a beloved cultural phenomenon and a financial powerhouse.”

The Pokémon franchise is more than just video games. The Pokémon animated series debuted in 1997 and saw the ending of a storyline 25 years in the making. Ash Ketchum, the series protagonist, finally saw his dream come true and became a Pokémon Master. Fans worldwide celebrated alongside Ash when the episode aired. “Ash Ketchum’s determination and perseverance to achieve his goal of becoming the world’s top Pokémon Trainer throughout 25 seasons represents the very best of what it means to be a Trainer,” enthuses Taito Okiura, VP of marketing for The Pokémon Company International.

Sarah Natochenny, the English voice actor for Ash Ketchum, understands how important the franchise is to fans. “It’s been an extraordinary privilege to have been the English voice of Ash Ketchum for what will be 17 years,” she comments. “No matter what lies beyond his final chapter, he’ll live forever in the hearts of many generations to come. I’ll keep him present for all of us in every way I can.”

Now that the the long-documented story of Ash and his faithful Pikachu has finally come to a close, the animated series will continue with a new set of main characters. 

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.