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Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time. It is estimated that the mega-brand is worth around $92 billion. Although much of this revenue comes from merchandise sales such as the Pokémon TCG, the games also make up a large chunk of the franchise earnings.
The franchise consists of many games, including the main series titles such as Pokémon Red and Blue and spin-off games such as Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. However, the games vary in their sales. Here are the top 10 Pokémon games ranked by sales.
Pokémon Red and Blue were the first games in the franchise, released in 1996 on the Gameboy. The games kickstarted the franchise, introducing 150 Pokémon to catch, battle and train. Red and Blue had you explore the Kanto region with the primary goal to become champion.
From the outset, the games went viral inside and outside of Japan, gaining a huge fan base. As a result, the game has sold around 31 million copies worldwide and remains the best-selling Pokémon game of all time. The game's collectibility, popularity, and re-releases have helped the original Pokémon games to sell huge numbers. Thus, it is not surprising that the original games rank number one on this list.
Pokémon Gold and Silver were the second generation of Pokémon games and released on the Gameboy colour between 1999-2001. The games were set in the region of Johto and had you once again explore the wilderness to become the very best trainer and to fill your Pokedex.
Gold and Silver introduced a new Pokémon lineup, including fan favourites such as the legendary Lugia and Celebi. Pokémon Gold and Silver has sold 23 million copies making it the second-highest sold Pokémon game.
Surprisingly, the newest main series games Pokémon Sword and Shield, are the third-highest sold games in the franchise. Sword and Shield were released in 2019 on the Nintendo Switch and quickly became popular within the fan community and in general.
The games are set in the Galar region, inspired by the United Kingdom, and introduced new features such as Gigantamax Pokémon. A combination of the popularity of the Nintendo switch combined with the controversy surrounding the game helped Sword and Shield to sell 20 million copies.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were the fourth generation of games in the franchise and set in the Sinnoh region on the Nintendo DS. The games had you explore the area, capturing and battling Pocket Monsters and discovering the ancient mysteries of the Pokémon universe alongside defeating the evil Team Galactic.
The games are top-rated amongst fans and are due for a remake at the end of this year, with the release of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. In total, the games have sold around 17 million units.
Pokémon X and Y were the first games of the franchise released on the Nintendo 3DS. The games were released in 2013 and set in the region of Kalos, based in France.
Although not the most popular amongst fans, the games introduced new features such as mega evolution and effectively transitioned the franchise over to 3D. As a result, the games have sold around 16.4 million across their lifecycle.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire rank as the sixth-highest sold Pokémon games of all time. Ruby and Sapphire were released in 2002 on the Gameboy Advance and quickly became popular.
The games were set in the Hoenn region and had you defeat the evil team Aqua and Magma to save the world. Ruby and Sapphire introduced legendary Pokémon such as Rayquaza and features such as contests. Acummitively, the games have sold 16.22 million copies.
Sun and Moon were the seventh generation of Pokémon games introduced in 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS. The games were not well received by the community.
Still, they did introduce new Pocket Monsters such as ultra beasts and variations to existing Pokémon such as Alolan Raichu and features such as Z moves. The games have sold around 16.2 million copies globally.
Pokémon Black and White were the second generation of games to release on the DS. The game was the fifth generation of the franchise and released in 2010. Set in the region of Unova.
Black and White introduced over 100 new Pokémon and had a strong narrative, the best in Pokémon and turn-based RPGs in general. The games were game director Junichi Masuda's passion project and are heavily underrated. Black and White sold 15.64 million copies.
Pokémon Yellow is the 9th highest sold Pokémon game. Pokémon Yellow was released in 1998 on the original Gameboy and built upon Pokémon Red and Blue. The game followed the same narrative tropes of the anime with you, the player starting with a Pikachu as your companion rather than the original three starters.
Yellow is a good game in its own right but overshadowed by Red and Blue. Yellow sold around 15.64 million copies, similar to Black and White.
Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire come in last as the 10th highest sold Pokémon game of all time. These games were remakes of the original Ruby and Sapphire for the 3DS.
The games introduced many new features such as mega evolution to the games and primal evolution while transitioning the games to 3D. Despite the games selling around 14 million copies, the games are the highest selling Pokémon remakes of all time.
The Pokémon franchise has been incredibly successful in terms of game sales. It is likely that with the release of the Diamond and Pearl remakes at the end of this year and Pokémon Legends: Arceus next year, the games may break sale records.
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