Saying the Pokémon games sell a lot is like saying water is wet. The series is currently the most profitable media franchise in the world, making more money than Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty. The games are where the franchise originated from, and each new title brings levels of hype that other franchises wish they could drum up. Each title in the mainline series has sold millions of copies, but which ones have sold the most?
Pokémon Games ranked by sale numbers
What sold better doesn’t necessarily mean they are more well-received. The best in the franchise are not always the ones that sell the best. For example, Pokémon Black and White are some of the most critically acclaimed games in the series, yet other titles like X and Y, and Sword and Shield outsold them.
The Pokémon Company shares the sales numbers for every Pokémon game every financial quarter. The company recently updated its sales, showing good growth with recent entries like Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Old fan favorites like Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, and Diamond/Pearl still top the list with unprecedented sale numbers. However, even the lower-selling titles have impressive sales numbers. Here are the rankings as of August 3 from the top down:
Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green — 31.3 million units
Never underestimate how big of a deal Pokémon was when it first hit the West. Advertising for the games was all over, with stores filled with countless merchandise for the series. The anime was a huge hit, and the games were literally flying off the shelves. Even though the total sales for Pokémon Red and Blue (AKA Green in Japan) include the digital sales on the 3DS, the sales for those games back then were almost unimaginable. Red and Blue’s continued popularity points to a time when the Pokémon brand was at its most dominant. The franchise is still impactful now, but it could never really match the sensation that it was when Red and Blue first launched.
Pokémon Sword and Shield — 24.5 million units
Pokémon Sword and Shield are probably the most controversial games in the franchise. Fans all over the internet were upset by the game’s underwhelming graphics and the removal of the national Pokédex. Outcries to boycott the games were far and wide yet did little to undermine their success. Both games have sold almost 25 million total sales, becoming the second highest-selling titles in the franchise, and received favorable reviews.
Pokémon Gold and Silver — 23.7 million units
Pokémon Gold and Silver are considered by many to be where the franchise peaked. They were similar to Red and Blue, but better. They included improved graphics, updated gameplay mechanics, and even more Pokémon. The total sales of Gold and Silver include the digital copies of the games when they launched on the 3DS.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl — 17.6 million units
The Fourth generation of Pokémon games continues to be some of the most popular in the franchise and is often lauded as one of the most popular generations post-Gen. I. Players adore the characters and Pokémon introduced in Diamond and Pearl, becoming some of the most recognizable iconographies in the franchise. The sales support Gen. IV’s popularity as Diamond and Pearl are the fourth best-selling games in the franchise, and their remakes, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, also sold well.
Pokémon X and Y — 16.6 million units
Pokémon X and Y barely surpassed Sun and Moon’s sales to become the fifth best-selling title in the franchise. X and Y were the franchise’s first foray into 3D graphics, and the game was impressive on a technical level for the 3DS back then. Since then, the games have been critiqued for being barebones, though that criticism didn’t hinder their sales in the long run.
Outside of these top five are lots of other games. Here’s the rest of the complete list:
- Pokémon Sun and Moon — 16.2 million units
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire — 16.2 million units
- Pokémon Black and White — 15.6 million units
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl — 14.7 million units
- Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee — 14.6 million units
- Pokémon Yellow — 14.6 million units
- Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire — 14.5 million units
- Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver — 12.7 million units
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus — 12.6 million units
- Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen — 12 million units
- Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon — 9 million units
- Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 — 8.2 million units
- Pokémon Platinum — 7.9 million units
- Pokémon Emerald — 7 million units
- Pokémon Crystal — 6.3 million units