In its twenty-year history, the Pokémon Company has sold over 180 million units of the game’s core series, with ever new additions taking the video game industry by storm. In 2019, the franchise successfully released Pokémon Sword/Shield for Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s most recent home console and handheld gaming system, indicating the series’ adaptability to the latest global gaming trends. After eight generations of video games and various spin-offs, Pokémon’s debut series Red/Green/Blue remains the franchise’s best-selling console game to date, with over 31 million units shipped worldwide.
But apart from being a global gaming giant, Pokémon has also become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. Today, the brand’s empire encompasses a popular anime series, a trading card game, merchandise, and several movies that continuously draw fans to the theater.
In July 2016, the franchise expanded its global reach by venturing into the world of mobile gaming for the first time. With the launch of Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality (AR) mobile game for iOS and Android devices, the franchise managed to create a global sensation and re-ignite the initial Pokémania of the 1990s. Players around the world were fascinated by the idea of catching virtual Pokémon in real-world environments, fueling download numbers and revenue at an unprecedented pace. Years after its initial launch, Pokémon Go still enjoys great popularity across the globe, placing among the leading free-to-play (FTP) game titles worldwide in 2018 and generating over 894 million U.S. dollars in global player spending in 2019.
Seeing that Pokémon Go continues to record millions of monthly users worldwide, it is fair to say that the franchise has managed to remain a mainstay not only in the gaming world but also in today’s pop culture.