The Pokemon franchise keeps getting bigger with every new installment. The upcoming Scarlet and Violet will mark the 21st pair of games being added to the series, and the first to make the transition to full open-world. We’re hedging out bets that they’ll perform exceptionally well in terms of sales, and so to offer some interesting comparison, today we’ll be going over the 10 most popular Pokemon games of all time ranked by their total number of sales.
10. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee
Technically remakes as opposed to mainline Pokemon games, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee were the first in the series to be released on the Nintendo switch. That fact alone, and a good dose of nostalgia, likely gave them a big popularity boost and helped them to achieve a whopping $14.6 million sales figure.
Unfortunately, while they did have massive initial success, the Let’s Go games aren’t remembered all too fondly by the Pokemon community. They’re one of the lowest-rated Pokemon games in terms of quality and continued player base; among other complaints, many felt the novelty capture technique diluted the challenge of the games.
However, the games were important in that they helped lay the foundation of what was to come with the next Pokemon game to release on the switch, which we’ll get to later in this list.
9. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
The long-awaited remake of the 4th generation of Pokemon games, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl finally got their remakes very recently in the form of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. But did these games live up to the hype?
Well, not exactly. They suffered the same fate as the Let’s Go games as they were very faithful recreations of the original games. Both went far as to not implement the improvements made from Pokemon Platinum, such as the Battle Frontier, which was a unique post-game experience from Pokemon Platinum that allowed players to explore new areas and participate in tournament-like settings.
While some improvements from Platinum were kept, such as certain evolutions for some Pokemon, it was sad to see the Battle Frontier not make it into the remakes. That being said, both games did very well bringing in a total of $14.7 million.
8. Pokemon Black and White
Pokemon Black and White were universally loved when they launched all the way back in September of 2010. Introducing the 5th generation of Pokemon, the pair brought in a total of $15.6 million. While Black and White did really well both in sales and player base, their successor Pokemon Black and White 2 unfortunately did not do as great.
Similar to Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Black and White 2 did not bode so well with the player base as they changed virtually almost nothing from the originals, essentially being near carbon copies, and only brought in a mere $8 million. Black and White 2 would also be the last of the Nintendo DS Pokemon games before The Pokemon Company moved on to developing for the 3DS platform.
7. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
Starting up the 3rd generation of Pokemon which dates back all the way to 2002, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire set a high bar for future games. Bringing in a total of $16.22 million, Ruby and Sapphire had major success in both sales and player base.
Although their successor, Pokemon Emerald, did not do great in terms of sales, only bringing in a mere $7 million, Emerald aged in a similar fashion as Pokemon Platinum did as it improved on all of the good qualities of Ruby and Sapphire and more. Emerald would be the last of the Gameboy Pokemon games before moving onto the DS games.
6. Pokemon Sun and Moon
Bringing in the 7th generation and the 2nd set of 3DS Pokemon Games, Pokemon Sun and Moon only did a little worse than its predecessors X and Y, racking up $16.28 million in sales. Sun and Moon were released back in November of 2016 and were very controversial upon release. While they did great in terms of sales, the community was very torn on them as they neither loved nor hated them.
Sun and Moon changed a lot of fundamentals of how normal Pokemon games work such as removing gym leaders and not adding upon the beloved mega evolution feature that X and Y brought. They did, however, bring in a lot of new fan favorite Pokemon as well as introduce other unique features.
Unfortunately in a similar fashion, its successors, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, did not bode well in terms of sales and player base as they failed to really change or improve upon anything that the originals had implemented. Ultra Sun and Moon were also the last of the 3DS Pokemon games before eventually moving to the Nintendo Switch.
5. Pokemon X and Y
Speaking of X and Y, introducing both the 6th generation of Pokemon and the first set of Nintendo 3DS Pokemon games back in October of 2013, the pair brought major success with a $16.8 million total. They also were the highest in terms of sales of any of the 3DS Pokémon games.
As mentioned above, X and Y brought a new battle feature called mega evolution which fans absolutely adored, on top of also introducing a brand new typing into the game, with the fairy types. X and Y saw great success but did not have a successor to them. The next iteration would then be a remake of Ruby and Sapphire in 2014, which unlike Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, saw great player feedback but had lower sales.
4. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
September of 2006 saw the beginning of the 4th generation of Pokemon and the 1st set of Nintendo DS Pokemon games with the release of the original Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Diamond and Pearl saw massive success across the board bringing in $17.6 million, the highest of any of the DS Pokemon games. They also were the first games to introduce backward compatibility from the Gameboy to the DS, allowing players to transfer their Pokemon from previous Gameboy games, into Diamond and Pearl.
Fans very commonly refer to their love of the difficulty scale of them as they arguably have the strongest version of any elite four and champion of any Pokemon series game. Diamond and Pearl would have a successor in the form of Pokemon Platinum and while it did very poorly in terms of sales, only mustering a mere $7.6 million, the lowest of any DS Pokemon game, Platinum saw a tremendous amount of love from the player base as it improved upon what Diamon and Pearl brought and more.
3. Pokémon Gold and Silver
Releasing in November of 1999 and revealing the 2nd generation of Pokemon, Pokemon Gold and Silver is leaps and bounds above everyone else so far with a whopping $23.7 million figure. Gold and Silver brought with it over 100 new Pokemon as well as introduced 2 brand new typings into the game with Dark and Steel types.
But most importantly, Gold and Silver remain one of the only Pokemon games to ever allow you to travel to 2 regions in the same game! Once players had beaten the Johto elite four and champion, they were then allowed to go to the Kanto region and battle their gym leaders and such too. Their remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver also allowed you to do the same as they were very faithful remakes of the originals.
2. Pokemon Sword and Shield
Coming in at the number 2 spot and starting up the first mainstream Nintendo Switch Pokemon games as well as the 8th generation of Pokemon is Pokemon Sword and Shield. This first set of Nintendo Switch Pokemon games was released in November of 2019 and brought phenomenal success with them with a mind-boggling $24.5 million in sales. Currently the best of the Nintendo Switch games and the biggest success in recent years for the franchise since 2013.
Sword and Shield were a major game changer for the franchise as they were the first of its open-world style of games which was never before seen in the series until now. While Sword and Shield did not have a successor, they did, however, have the first ever paid DLC introduced for them in 2020 with the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLCs.
1. Pokemon Red, Blue, and Green
And last but most certainly not least, the original games themselves, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Green combined for a staggering $31.3 million, meaning they remain the most popular Pokemon games of all time by gross number of sales. Not enough can be said for the impact that these games have had on the lives of millions over the years. For reference, Pokemon Yellow came out 2 years after in 1998 but only made $14.64 million, just barely behind Let’s go Pikachu and Eevee.
With Pokémon Scarlet and Violet right around the corner releasing in November later this year we’ll have to wait just a little bit longer to see where they’ll stand among the rest. You can find a link to our latest Scarlet and Violet information here as there will be plenty more to talk about with them over the coming months. For more Pokémon content, please check out our related articles below!
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