The Pokémon franchise made more money in 2021 than it has in any year since 2000

Three new Pokémon games released during 2021.

Image via Nintendo

The Pokémon franchise set a new sales milestone in 2021 by reaching its highest annual total dollar sales amount since 2000, according to NPD analyst Mat Piscatella. While reporting NPD sales numbers for the video game industry, the analyst also noted that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the franchise’s headlining titles for the year, were collectively the third best-selling game of December 2021.

Furthermore, the two Pokémon games were also the top-selling titles on the Nintendo Switch in December 2021. Further, they also occupied the number four spot on NPD’s list of the top-selling video games for the year. It’s worth noting that NPD sales figures don’t include digital sales of Nintendo games; these figures are based purely on physical software sales.

Alongside Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the Pokémon franchise launched two more entries on the Switch in 2021. New Pokémon Snap debuted early in the year, and it was the 13th-highest-selling Switch title of the year, according to NPD sales figures. Pokémon Unite launched later in July, and while it is a free-to-play game, it’s possible some of the series’ financial success could have stemmed from Unite’s overabundance of microtransactions.

NPD sales numbers also showed that Pokémon’s 2019 entries, Sword and Shield, still had some life in them. The games were the ninth-best-selling Switch titles in 2021, despite their age.

The franchise accumulated a higher annual dollar sales amount in 2021 than it has in any year since 2000, said Piscatella. In 2000, the series debuted Pokémon Gold and Silver in North America, as well as Pokémon Crystal in Japan. Many spinoffs, including Pokémon Puzzle League and Pokémon Stadium 2, were also released that year.