RetroVision – Just How Successful Is Pokémon?

This year Game Freak and Nintendo’s Pokémon celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Where has the time gone? What’s more, it celebrates this monumentous anniversary this very weekend, giving gamers worldwide the ultimate excuse to spend their entire weekend travelling around Kanto with six pocket sized friends. Something a great many, myself included, will undoubtedly be doing, given the love that millions of gamers around the world have for Pikachu, and all of the other 721 Pokémon that are waiting to be caught.

In fact, thanks to this support and love for the franchise, over these past 20 years Pokémon has become just as much a part of gaming Mario, Zelda, Sonic, or Final Fantasy. That’s not all though, as the franchise has taken its humble gaming origins, and expanded upon them to become one of the most popular media franchises of all time. In fact, the franchise is so big that it is even argued to have been highly influential for Japan as a nation for nearly two decades, from a Soft Power perspective.

Pokemon Parade
Pokémon is so big in Japan that there are even regular Pokémon parades. This is just one example.

Nevertheless, we all know the franchise is massively successful. However, it may shock you to find out just how successful the franchise has been throughout its 20 year history. As such we here at Rings & Coins have put together a few facts to both demonstrate the power of the Pokémon brand, and to kick off our week of celebrating one of gaming’s greatest ever creations..

  • The Pokémon franchise has grossed revenues of ¥4 trillion worldwide ($37.76 billion).
  • The brand earned $2 billion in 2014 alone.
  • Red / Green / Blue sold over 23.5 million copies worldwide on the Game Boy. Making them collectively the second best selling games for the console after Tetris (which was packed in with many consoles).
  • The most recent games in the series, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, sold over 3 million copies globally in the first three days on sale, with over 11.5 million being sold to date.
  • The Pokémon video game series has sold more than 277 million games worldwide making it the 2nd best selling video game series of all time behind only Super Mario’s sales 528.522 million. As such, Pokémon beats out other big names such as Call of Duty (250 million), Grand Theft Auto (235 million), and Sonic (140 million).
  • The Trading card game has shipped more than 21.5 billion cards to 74 countries in 10 languages
  • There are more than 900 episodes in the Pokémon anime series — which is currently airing its 19th season in Japan.
  • There have been 18 full-length Pokémon feature films, with a 19th coming in July this year.
  • Over 50 volumes of the Pokemon Adventures manga have been released in Japan.
  • There are nine Pokémon Center stores across Japan, all of which are dedicated to only selling Pokémon merchandise.
  • And this is all before we take Pokémon Go into account.

So there you go, this is by no means an exhaustive list of achievements. However, it is certainly clear that Pokémon is not only one of the most important gaming creations of all time, but that its also arguably one of Japan’s greatest ever exports, showcasing Japanese culture and society to a global audience. It’s a series that’s very dear to my heart, and seeing it do so well over these last 20 years makes me proud to call myself a Pokémaniac. Here’s to another 20 years of phenomenal successes.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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