It isn’t exactly a controversial statement to say that Pokemon is a hugely popular franchise. Ever since the moment Pokemon Red and Blue launched for the Game Boy back in the mid-90s, Pokemon has been something of a worldwide phenomenon. Though ’90s kids might think that the Pokemon craze died off as they grew out of it, it turns out that Pokemon is still finding immense success all around the world.
How do we know that? Earlier today The Pokemon Company announced that the franchise has now surpassed 300 million sales worldwide. This figure includes all games in the series, be they the core RPG titles for Nintendo’s handheld devices or spin-offs like Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.
That’s enough to make Pokemon second place on the list of Nintendo’s best-selling franchises. It now only lags behind Mario, which has sold more than half a billion units worldwide over the past 30 years. There’s little hope of Pokemon ever catching up to Mario in terms of sales, but you have to imagine that the developers are Game Freak are ecstatic to have second place on lock.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon provided the final push that the series needed to get over 300 million sales. They’re important for more than that one reason too, as they’ll be the final mainline Pokemon games for the 3DS and, by extension, likely the final Pokemon games released for a Nintendo handheld. After 20 years of keeping the main series exclusives to handhelds like the Game Boy, DS, and 3DS, Game Freak and Nintendo are about to break with tradition and bring a mainline Pokemon game to the Nintendo Switch.
We won’t hear anything more about that until later in 2018, and it seems like there’s a good chance the game itself won’t launch until we’re into 2019. Still, it’s an exciting time for any kid who’s ever wished that they could play a mainline Pokemon game on their home console. In the meantime, we’ve got Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon to tide us over, and those seem to cap off the series’ handheld run rather nicely.