What started off as an idea in Satoshi Tajiri’s mind in 1996 has since, in the words of Team Rocket, blasted off at the speed of light. The Pokémon brand today makes $1.5 billion annually between the video games, merchandise, trading cards, and anime. But what are the sales numbers behind all that cash?
Polygon went to The Pokémon Company to find out, and the figures are truly staggering.
Nintendo has sold 260 million Pokémon video games across all its platforms. That includes a whopping 12 million copies of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y in the first four months on sale. Only the Super Mario series has sold more games than the Pokémon brand.
The Pokémon Trading Card Game has sold over 21.5 billion (yes, with a “B”) cards in all. That’s three times the population of humanity.
As for the anime, Pokémon has over 800 episodes and 17 full-length movies across 17 seasons on air. It’s still going strong.
So here we are, eighteen years later, with 719 official monsters and six generations of video games. The Pokémon brand might just be the very best, that no game franchise was before.