The Sales, Reception, and Popularity of Pokemon!

Pokemon is one hell of a franchise.

The second-best selling video game franchise of all time, only behind Mario, Pokemon has become a legitimate worldwide phenomenon, known to essentially anyone and everyone.  It’s a huge franchise, released to positive reception with every new title, and one that everyone knows is going strong, but really, how strong is it nowdays?

Well, the trends aren’t exactly surprising, honestly: but they were certainly interesting to look at!  And here’s the results.

Declining Popularity?



So, considering the raw numbers, the history of the Pokemon franchise seems pretty clear.

We see an explosive boom of popularity with the first generation, at 46.42 million total sales, between the first four entries in the series.  However, from there, it seems to take a drastically sharp turn downwards, selling “only” 29.49 million with the second generation.  Continuing a downward trend with the third generation, it is here where it seems like the sales tend to stabilize, with the third to the fifth generation all selling around 20 million units.  Come the 3DS games however, we see another average downturn, averaging around 15 million.

It seems clear what the trend is, especially considering new games: the newer generations just aren’t as popular as any of the older ones- everything up to 5th generation was good, but with the 3DS, it seems Pokemon is losing some steam.  However, this chart doesn’t take into account a big source of income for Nintendo: the remake games.  Taking those into account…


Overall, we see that although the new generations themselves aren’t generating too much hype, through a combination of new games, and remakes, Nintendo has, for the most part, been consistently surpassing Pokemon’s second generation.

What this indicates though, is that Nintendo has to create more games to gain the same amount of profit they once had.  On average, the amount of sales per game for the first and second generations, are 11.63 and 9.83 million sales respectively.    Meanwhile, in recent years, here’s the stats the newer games have had:

  • Third Generation: 6.908 million sales per game
  • Fourth Generation: 7.592 million sales per game
  • Fifth Generation: 6.035 million sales per game
  • Sixth Generation: 7.435 million sales per game
  • Seventh Generation: 7.345 million sales per game

So. Basically, the classic Pokemon games earned HUGE profit for Nintendo, and although they’ve been keeping up with the Second Generation, as far as amount of units sold, the series has only been 70% as cost effective as they once were.

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Generation Two?  You mean the last good generation? *cough*

Practically speaking, that means that Nintendo is, if I had to guess, spending 30% more effort, money, and time creating main-series Pokemon games, relative to the time of Gold, Silver, and Crystal, in an effort to replicate the profits of the Second Generation.  Nintendo’s making four or five games, all to match the profits of what just three classic titles were able to do.  Because honestly, how could anything match the huge boom of Pokemon’s First Generation?  Overall.  Pokemon is doing quite well financially: just ain’t as popular as it once was.

Reception Over The Years

Now.  As far as reception goes, I’m sorry, there’s literally nothing really interesting here.  What I CAN say is that the Pokemon main series has some of the most consistent scoring I’ve ever seen.  Give it a guess, which generation do you think is the best, or the worst overall?


(These will all be averages taken mostly from Wikipedia by the way, because you know.  Great research practices)

  1. Generation Two: 8.93/10
  2. Generation Seven: 8.85/10
  3. Generation Five: 8.84/10
  4. Generation Six: 8.81/10
  5. Generation One: 8.71/10
  6. Generation Four: 8.53/10
  7. Generation Three: 8.46/10

You know, I rather liked Generation Three and Four.  I personally feel like Gen Six deserves to be knocked down quite a bit, but, you know.  It’s the public’s opinion.

So, Throughout the Pokemon franchise’s extensive lifespan, no mainstream game has deviated more than .5 from its average rating.  They’re just consistently quality games: not exceptional, but not just normal either.  This trend is interesting, in that you have many people who like basically every single generation to varying degrees.  Unlike the Paper Mario series, (which I did a similar statistical review on here), there isn’t any clear-cut acknowledgement as to which generation is the best, or which generation did the most for the series.  Every generation has its supporters, and that’s pretty cool, to be honest.

These guys are still freaking timeless though.  Of course.

So.  Now I’m curious.  For any of you guys who are reading now, what’s your favorite generation?  Leave a comment down below if you feel like sharing!  And as for me, I’ve gotta say, Generation Five is definitely my favorite!

Fun Facts!

  • The original Pokemon Stadium is the best-selling Pokemon spinoff at 5.45 million sales, with Pokemon Pinball at second with 5.31 million.
  • The Pokemon Trading Card Game outsold Pokemon Snap by .07 million units: only 70,000!
  • Pokemon Dash appears to be the worst-selling Pokemon spinoff, at just around 700,000 units sold.
  • There hasn’t been a “trio” of games ever since Platinum in Generation 4, a decade ago (A rather easy-to-see fact, but that just surprised me!).


Published by Aaron C

Just a guy with a love for stories.

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