The Pokémon Company International does more than just make video games. Ever since their monster-catching franchise rocketed to popularity in 1996, the company has been cashing in on trading cards, animated programs and movies, and merchandise galore. They are now even launching a touring symphony. Pokémon has become a household name and an cultural icon for Japan while remaining one of Nintendo’s most beloved series.
So just how much does The Pokémon Company make off all this? License Global!, who makes it their job to report on the licensing industry, revealed that the Pokémon brand rakes in $1.5 billion in revenue each year. The publication ranked Pokémon 40th on their Annual Global Top 150 Licensors list, putting it ahead of names like Activision, Lego, NASCAR and Sony Pictures. (The top spot went to Disney, of course.)
Furthermore, Pokémon is listed as the fourth top licensed character in Japan by the country’s Character Databank, placing it directly behind Hello Kitty.
With the upcoming launch of the online Pokémon Center store in the U.S., The Pokémon Company shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, Nintendo has said they want to do more licensing with their character IP brands in the future. We already know the first step in this direction will be Amiibo, Nintendo’s NFC-enabled figurines that will be compatible with software like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Will Nintendo do more? Will we see Nintendo use its Mario and Zelda brands beyond video games?
As for Pokémon, the online Pokémon Center store will launch on August 6, while the Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concert will premier in Washington, D.C. on August 15. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire will launch worldwide for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 2DS systems on November 21.