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Gotta catch (and buy, and make) 'em all.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

May 26, 2023

2 Min Read
Promo art for Nintendo's Pokémon Scarlet & Violet.

The Pokémon franchise has hit some impressive benchmarks recently, with its games hitting 480 million units worldwide. The Pokémon Company revealed that milestone on its corporate website, which cuts off at March 31, 2023 and includes "all Pokemon-related software" such as mainline entries and various spinoffs. 

The most recent entry in the series is Pokemon Scarlet & Violet from November 2022 for the Nintendo Switch. Despite its numerous issues (which Nintendo apologized for), the games sold over 10 million units in a handful of days. As of March 2023, Scarlet & Violet have sold 22.10 million units across physical and digital editions. 

Later this year, Nintendo will continue the momentum of Scarlet & Violet with a two-part expansion: The Teal Mask will release sometime in the fall (or Q3 2023), while The Indigo Disk will come in the nebulous winter period, or Q4.

Of all the games, it appears the original three games—Pokémon Red, Blue, & Green—are the best-selling of the whole enterprise, as they've reportedly sold 31.38 million copies combined (as of December 2022). For the Switch specifically, 2019's Pokémon Sword & Shield is the console's top-selling entry at 25.82 million.

Pokémon at large is doing extremely well

The Pokémon Company also used the opportunity to shine a light on the performance of the larger Pokémon brand. Its trading card game has reportedly produced over 52.9 billion cards, sold across nearly 90 countries and regions. It currently stands as one of the highest-selling cards games of all time. 

As for its anime, the series has aired across 192 countries and regions since it first aired in April 1997. Over the years, the anime has been used as a gateway for the games (and vice versa) and recently made a big shakeup when longtime protagonist Ash Ketchum was retired this past March.

With Ash's retirement, a new pair of characters—Liko & Roy—will serve as the anime's leads for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, a live-action series is in the works at Netflix, along with a stop-motion series set in a Pokémon hotel. 

Though longtime series developer Game Freak intends to continue making Pokémon games, the studio appears to be ready to branch out. Earlier in the month, it announced a partnership with Private Division to create a wholly new game simply described as "bold and tonally different from our prior work." 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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