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Thread: Is Pokémon less popular than it used to be?

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    Default Is Pokémon less popular than it used to be?

    Compared to recent years I feel like Pokémon has been less popular than it used to be. Sure Pokémon is not as big as it was in Gen 1 and Gen 2 to an extent which is understandable. But compared to Gen 4 and 5 it seems like Pokémon is less successful currently. X & Y are currently the least most successful set of games (not counting remakes) with around 14 million sold however that's still reasonable and close to Diamond & Pearl which have sold over 18 million. The 3DS has the lowest sales of any Nintendo handheld to date despite selling reasonably well and I've seen many people buy a 3DS mainly for Pokémon. If Nintendo handheld sales continue decline it's possible Pokémon will slowly go down with it unless Game Freak decides to release the main series games for smartphones which probably won't happen but is possible considering Game Freak has put games on non Nintendo systems. However that would also cause Nintendo handhelds to lose lots of sales.

    I'm sure Yo-Kai Watch stole some thunder from Pokémon especially in Japan however Yo-Kai Watch seems to be on the decline after 2014 and of course Yo-Kai Watch isn't doing too great in the west compared to Pokémon. But the main factor is smartphone gaming. People of all ages have shifted to phones and a lot of kids are playing smartphone games over 3DS. And while the target audience has been kids I see more teens/young adults who are into Pokémon more than kids (at least when it comes to the video games).

    When Diamond and Pearl came out lots of kids got them. That's when smartphones weren't around yet. However when HeartGold & SoulSilver came out the kids who got them were slightly older and a lot of teens and young adults got them too but I think several people who bought them grew up with Gold & Silver. When Black & White came out, it seemed like more teens and adults bought them rather than kids. I think by HGSS former fans began to get nostalgic over Pokémon and get back into it. And I'm very sure XY and ORAS were bought by tons of adults too. I felt like I was one of the many people who were around 17 nostalgic over Gen 3 and bought Alpha Sapphire on Day One at the same Gamestop I got the original Sapphire.

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    So I feel the Pokémon series is going to become unhealthy if not enough kids play the games and way more adults play them. What might help the series is to attract new younger kids but considering most kids play on smartphones it's going to be harder to do. Gen 6 has been so streamlined that it could be easy for more kids to get into the games and while there are always newcomers to the games who are kids, there isn't a huge amount. Not to mention I've seen some older fans complain that the series hasn't evolved enough and has become too easy but I felt like Gen 5 and 6 were some fantastic directions for the series. Also the easy difficulty of Gen 6 did not bother me much.

    Maybe there are tons of kids who like Pokémon but don't play the video games. There are so many other media that Pokémon has been spread to that it doesn't feel like just a video game series. The anime love it or hate it, is more widespread worldwide than the video games. I mean the anime has been dubbed into like 40-50 languages or more while the games were only translated into 9 so far. And it's possible that there are still many kids who watch the anime whether its on TV, online or whatever and some kids get their Pokémon fix that way.

    Also there is the Trading Card Game which is like battling Pokémon but in card game form. So maybe there are some people who play the TCG and don't play the 3DS games and get their Pokémon fix that way. Because I think the TCG can be just as fun as the games. Some people might just collect the cards while others play them and go to tournaments. So even if the games decline the Pokémon TCG might still stay relevant considering there isn't much competition other than Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh. I also think the TCG Online has been was of the best things to ever happen to the TCG because you can just play the TCG online and make collections and it's easier to find people to play with. And I heard there were record sales for the Pokémon TCG in 2015 so I think the TCG will be fine.

    Also there have been Pokémon apps coming to smartphones including Pokémon Go which I don't care for at the moment but that might seem like a great idea and will be healthy for the franchise especially among people who don't play the main games.

    Also I still think Pokémon toys still do pretty well compared to other toylines even if toys in general became less successful with the popularity of mobile apps. I feel like Pokémon merchandise in general has been better marketed and presented since Gen 6 came out especially when the Pokémon Center Store launched online.

    There are even some hipsters (no offense) who are really nostalgic over Gen 1, 2, or 3 and will still play those games on their Gameboys or illegally on their phones, and do anything relating to those generations.

    So I mean Pokémon is still big in some way but in terms of the main series games, are they going to continue to decline? Will Sun & Moon be even less successful than X & Y? Will Pokémon still remain popular even if the sales of the main series games decline? I'm just looking for an answer. Maybe in 5-10 years the people who grew up with Pokémon will introduce it to their kids and might create new fans that will get into the series as well.

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    Short of clairvoyance, there's no real answer that you didn't touch on yourself. When your "least successful" set of games sells 14 million units, you're still doing okay. There are studios that would sacrifice the firstborn children of every one of their developers (and a few goats for good measure) for those kind of sales numbers.

    People will try and tell you "yes, the franchise is going downhill because of..." and their reasons will include (but not be limited to):

    • "The franchise isn't mature enough and needs to market to adults" (yahuh)
    • "They've run out of ideas for Pokémon" (the games? the monsters themselves? either way)
    • "I don't enjoy it as much as I used to" (ten years ago)
    • "Everyone just plays Call of Duty these days" (true enough, but... so what?)
    • "Smartphones are going to kill portable game systems" (maybe in the future, but not today or tomorrow)


    --and so on, but that's mostly noise.

    Ultimately, the best answer that anyone can give you is that no, the franchise isn't as popular as it was in its peak heyday, but then again, what is?

    They're still selling in very, very healthy numbers, as you said, and like everything else Nintendo puts out regularly, whether it's hardware or software, it would take multiple failed entries in a row for the franchise to be in any danger. That's actual failed entries - harmfully low sales, where it matters, not "I didn't like this game because it was too easy" or whatever. And Pokémon is perhaps the most consistent franchise under Nintendo's umbrella, because at this point, you can count on a new core title or pair of core titles every 1-2 years and a new generation every 3-4 years, for the most part.

    Ultimately, that's the answer. Anything above or below that is probably overly optimistic or pessimistic at this point. Maybe rightfully so, and maybe not, but still.


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    Pokemon main games are not less popular compared to past generations. It's the consoles that are getting less popular, not the games. The Nintendo DS had sold 150 million units, and 3DS has sold only 50 million units: exactly three times less than the DS sold.

    Despite this huge difference, the sales of the main series is almost the same, only slightly lower. In other words, the people that would buy a new console just to play the new Pokemon games, are just as interested in the franchise as they were during the DS or GBA era. The difference comes from those who would gladly buy a Pokemon game had they had a console, but wouldn't buy a console only for one Pokemon game, those make the difference in terms of sales.

    In fact, for the much smaller user base of the 3DS, Pokemon is actually selling impressively well, more than during the DS or GBA era, even.

    For example, ORAS is about to beat the Gen I remakes of the GBA, and the GBA also had a bigger user base as well. So ORAS, the most recent main Pokemon game, is being a huge success, and, therefore, the franchise is doing very very well.

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    It might be slightly less popular now than it was years ago, but here's the thing. The only thing that is going to truly dethrone Pokémon, is when the next major thing comes out.

    This is what happened with Ninja Turtles when Power Rangers came about, and it's what happened with Power Rangers when Pokémon came about. It's all about what the big thing of the time is. Right now, that would be Pokémon.

    Until something else comes along, expect the games to continue making the numbers they do.

    Something will eventually come around that dethrones the series. It could take awhile, or it might happen soon. But it will happen at some point. This is very common with trends and fads. They can last for greatly varying lengths of time.
    Last edited by SBaby; 22nd May 2016 at 12:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBaby View Post
    It might be slightly less popular now than it was years ago, but here's the thing. The only thing that is going to truly dethrone Pokémon, is when the next major thing comes out.

    This is what happened with Ninja Turtles when Power Rangers came about, and it's what happened with Power Rangers when Pokémon came about. It's all about what the big thing of the time is. Right now, that would be Pokémon.

    Until something else comes along, expect the games to continue making the numbers they do.

    Something will eventually come around that dethrones the series. It could take awhile, or it might happen soon. But it will happen at some point. This is very common with trends and fads. They can last for greatly varying lengths of time.
    Yet the Mario series has still continued to be the number 1 video game series of all time due to sales.

    The only reason Pac-Man has declined in popularity is that (Bandai) Namco didn't follow up on the series as much. I think the Ghostly Adventures is pretty much its own thing in the same vain as Sonic Boom.
    Then you have Sonic, which even though I think it gets hated on a little too much, it doesn't circumvent the fact that the games have declined in quality.
    Mega Man is sort of the opposite. With a few exceptions, Mega Man had some pretty decent games (BN and SF had their own audience), but Capcom hasn't really made a brand new Megaman game in a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auraninja View Post
    Yet the Mario series has still continued to be the number 1 video game series of all time due to sales.

    The only reason Pac-Man has declined in popularity is that (Bandai) Namco didn't follow up on the series as much. I think the Ghostly Adventures is pretty much its own thing in the same vain as Sonic Boom.
    Then you have Sonic, which even though I think it gets hated on a little too much, it doesn't circumvent the fact that the games have declined in quality.
    Mega Man is sort of the opposite. With a few exceptions, Mega Man had some pretty decent games (BN and SF had their own audience), but Capcom hasn't really made a brand new Megaman game in a while.
    So is it a good thing that the series follows the same formula? I like the formula the way it is but I feel like Pokémon along with other game franchises get bashed on to much for that reason. I think when there is a popular game series people are going to want more of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss1991 View Post
    Pokemon main games are not less popular compared to past generations. It's the consoles that are getting less popular, not the games. The Nintendo DS had sold 150 million units, and 3DS has sold only 50 million units: exactly three times less than the DS sold.

    Despite this huge difference, the sales of the main series is almost the same, only slightly lower. In other words, the people that would buy a new console just to play the new Pokemon games, are just as interested in the franchise as they were during the DS or GBA era. The difference comes from those who would gladly buy a Pokemon game had they had a console, but wouldn't buy a console only for one Pokemon game, those make the difference in terms of sales.

    In fact, for the much smaller user base of the 3DS, Pokemon is actually selling impressively well, more than during the DS or GBA era, even.

    For example, ORAS is about to beat the Gen I remakes of the GBA, and the GBA also had a bigger user base as well. So ORAS, the most recent main Pokemon game, is being a huge success, and, therefore, the franchise is doing very very well.
    I think another reason why the Gen 6 games have sold less than the DS games is because Main series games come out worldwide now while DS games took months to come out and several people imported them. No one imports the games anymore thus less sales.
    Last edited by KillerDraco; 22nd May 2016 at 5:17 AM. Reason: Merged double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJLeeTeam View Post
    I think another reason why the Gen 6 games have sold less than the DS games is because Main series games come out worldwide now while DS games took months to come out and several people imported them. No one imports the games anymore thus less sales.
    You'd be terribly hard pressed to find proof that the lack of importing these days has any noticeable effect on worldwide sales.


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    I am not convinced that Pokemon is less popular in the last few years. Looking at sales for the last two gens:'
    2010 DS Pokémon Black and White 15.60 [4]
    2012 DS Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 8.52 [4]
    2013 3DS Pokémon X and Y 14.70 [5]
    2014 3DS Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire 11.84 [5]
    The numbers are in millions. Now, XY is nearly a million below BW, but consider that a) the 3DS has a far smaller install base than the hugely successful, and b) BW has had an extra three years on XY. There would still be some new sales.

    Meanwhile, B2W2 only has 8.5 million, but ORAS comfortably outsells it, and together 6th gen games have sold better than gen 5. Granted, this is less than 4th gen, but 4th gen has three sets of games and had large advances, including the introduction of wifi play which was huge for Pokemon.

    Basically, I don't think Pokemon has had any real decline in interest for a good while. It's not as huge as it was back in gen 1 days when the whole thing just exploded, but that was never maintainable.

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    I was around in the heyday of Gen 1 and 2 and I would say their is less hype about the games nowadays but I wouldn't say they are any less successful.

    As people have pointed out previously, sales are VERY healthy, even more so considering the 3DS sales.

    I would also like to add the possibility of Pokemon 'love' being spread out, I would hazard a guess there are more options to play non Game Freak Pokemon games some are even freemium.

    From a fan that took a long hiatus in my 20s I would say Pokemon's 20th birthday has been great for bringing older fans back and releasing Sun and Moon in Chinese (one year after the ban on gaming consoles was lifted- a 14 year ban) will be a master stroke. You'll see international sales unlike ever before because even though gaming consoles had been banned and even the Pokemon anime was shown at unpopular times to promote local cartoons instead.... everybody knows Pokemon, especially Pikachu. If done correctly, Sun and Moon will be the biggest selling game and expect the sales of New 3DS and 2DS to go through the roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobandbill View Post
    I am not convinced that Pokemon is less popular in the last few years. Looking at sales for the last two gens:'
    The numbers are in millions. Now, XY is nearly a million below BW, but consider that a) the 3DS has a far smaller install base than the hugely successful, and b) BW has had an extra three years on XY. There would still be some new sales.

    Meanwhile, B2W2 only has 8.5 million, but ORAS comfortably outsells it, and together 6th gen games have sold better than gen 5. Granted, this is less than 4th gen, but 4th gen has three sets of games and had large advances, including the introduction of wifi play which was huge for Pokemon.

    Basically, I don't think Pokemon has had any real decline in interest for a good while. It's not as huge as it was back in gen 1 days when the whole thing just exploded, but that was never maintainable.
    Are those numbers new? I didn't know FRLG had reached the 12 million mark, for example. Also, does it include the VC?

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    It doesn't get any attentions from adults, the reason is they thought it's a cartoon show but it's an anime. Also, I think teens is getting bored of Ash while most kids is enjoying. I must say, I'm getting also kinda bored of the show (The SHOW ONLY) I think its time for a protagonist change.

    As for the games, I'm still fond of it and they never cease to amaze me not only with the graphic contents, but also with the gameplay and its features. Also the manga is still good, but not as good like the R/S/E arc or the G/S arc.
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    It'z obviously not the phenomena it was in the late 90's/early 2000's, but the games still sell like gold and they always will. The card game and other stuff like that is still also really popular overall.

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    It may not be like the 90s and 2000s anymore, but I still see kids wearing Pokemon shirts. At the midnight release of X and Y I went to there were kids standing in line. A few summers ago at my YMCA there were two kids playing Pokemon in the pool. They were even using older Pokemon in their pretend battle. I think Pokemon will always be popular, but it won't be mega popular liked it used to be. Honestly I am okay with that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJLeeTeam View Post
    Also there is the Trading Card Game which is like battling Pokémon but in card game form. So maybe there are some people who play the TCG and don't play the 3DS games and get their Pokémon fix that way. Because I think the TCG can be just as fun as the games. Some people might just collect the cards while others play them and go to tournaments. So even if the games decline the Pokémon TCG might still stay relevant considering there isn't much competition other than Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh. I also think the TCG Online has been was of the best things to ever happen to the TCG because you can just play the TCG online and make collections and it's easier to find people to play with. And I heard there were record sales for the Pokémon TCG in 2015 so I think the TCG will be fine.
    You'd be surprised considering how many Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games are currently competing in the Secondary Market right now with Cardfight!! Vanguard, Force of Will, and even the new Dragon Ball Z TCG by Panini America cause If you look hard enough there's a lot more diversity in Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games especially with discontinued games than just the standard big three with Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. They only appear to not do so well because not enough players give these games a chance while part of it has a lot to do with not having enough disposable income to keep up with multiple games at once or they just completely dismiss it as a terrible investment due to source material alone when they haven't actually bothered to look into the game play mechanics of what they might actually be getting themselves into though of course the said company's reputation might also play a key role as well.

    Another part of it I think has a lot to do with peer pressure where people of various age demographics feeling that they might be out of place playing while at the same helps promote direct social interaction without relying as much on technology for communication even though it's great as a convenience and I think that's the Pokémon franchise's biggest problem when it comes to players of all walks of life as it's one of the few gaming franchises that tries to help bridge that gap between them. Online Card Games are a scapegoat for people not having to worry about caving into peer pressure in order to play Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games when all it does is severely limit your overall experience and enjoyment of what you're playing and that to me is not a part of my philosophy of fun however when it comes to video games there's the couch experience where you're at a buddy's house playing games instead of playing online multiplayer co-op with gaming headphones.
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    Yes, but only a little bit.

    It's still the second most best selling video game franchise in the world, so the fact it's a little less popular doesn't matter. It's still extremely popular, and I don't think that's gonna change any time soon.

    In fact I predict that by 5167 Pokémon will still be a very popular franchise. It's deep in the future I know, but that's what I'm predicting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaze The Movie Fan View Post
    Yes, but only a little bit.

    It's still the second most best selling video game franchise in the world, so the fact it's a little less popular doesn't matter. It's still extremely popular, and I don't think that's gonna change any time soon.

    In fact I predict that by 5167 Pokémon will still be a very popular franchise. It's deep in the future I know, but that's what I'm predicting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boss1991 View Post
    Are those numbers new? I didn't know FRLG had reached the 12 million mark, for example. Also, does it include the VC?
    That website I linked has references for each stat. It seems those numbers are since March 2016 (but digging around GBA titles may only be since March 2013). I couldn't see any mention of Virtual Console sales being included or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by DiaRubyTandem View Post
    Nope, its Tetris. Pokemon is kinda in 4th place
    ...By sales, Pokemon is second. Tetris has a fairly impressive 140 million sales. Pokemon main series alone has 200 million+, and overall 279 million. Basically double the sales of all Tetris games.

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    As other users said Pokemon is still very popular even though it is not as popular as it was during its "golden years". Having said that Pokemon sort of went overboard with the nostalgia references in the Gen 6 games which is more for long-time fans than modern gamers who have never played most of the games from the previous generations.
    Last edited by Tsukuyomi56; 26th May 2016 at 9:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsukuyomi56 View Post
    As other users said Pokemon is still very popular even though it is not as popular as it was during its "golden years". Having said that Pokemon sort of went overboard with the nostalgia references in the Gen 6 games which is more for long-time fans than modern gamers who have never played most of the games from the previous generations.
    Pokemon games have always referenced previous games, with the initial Gen 2 games being sequels that had most of Kanto to explore as well. If any gen was a move to emulate Gen I, it was Gen 5's first set in BW which really did aim to re-create the magic of Gen I by restricting it to only new Pokemon for the main game.
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    I think it is because we have grown up, we will have different preferences for games.

    I still play Pokemon after so many years, but my enthusiasm for the game isn't as high when I was a kid.

    I will not purchase Sun or Moon, mainly because I am bidding my time in hoping for 2nd Gen classic or remake of 4th gen. And I am not really impressed of the new concept art for the Sun and Moon. But, I am sure others might think that they are awesome and will buy them. Besides, Pokemon is still one of the best selling Nintendo game, so this trend will continue to go on for years to come.
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomspot555 View Post
    Pokemon games have always referenced previous games, with the initial Gen 2 games being sequels that had most of Kanto to explore as well. If any gen was a move to emulate Gen I, it was Gen 5's first set in BW which really did aim to re-create the magic of Gen I by restricting it to only new Pokemon for the main game.
    By doing that though ironically, it pissed off a lot of people(not me). People couldnt take not being able to get the same pokemon they get every gen for their teams.
    Xy literally recreated viridian forest, Gave you gen 1 starters, had the league be on a off route near the first major town, had mewtwo sitting in a cave that you need to surf to, has someone give you a lapras, evil team is first met in a cave guarding fossils, evil team base is set up with sliding floor panels, and the legendary birds are in.
    So bw was emulating the setup of gen 1, xy was pandering to the nostalgia of it like no other gen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yuoke View Post
    xy was pandering to the nostalgia of it like no other gen.
    This. This aaaaaaalllll the way, mate. I play Pokemon games because I look forward to seeing what they'll add, not what they'll bring back for those who want nostalgia (I think the only thing I really find myself missing are the smaller touches, like bringing back having your lead Pokemon trail around behind you like in HG/SS). Don't get me wrong, I appreciate it when they throw back to something from previous gens, like the Team Rocket member from the Old Country being in the gen 5 games, but I come back because I want to see what they'll do next. It's actually why I prefer ORAS to XY - they kept the basics, but added new things from XY that actually fit in a lot better in the ORAS games (that and they improved the AI of the trainers in ORAS, which was something that I think was lacking in XY).

    As for popularity, I do feel that a lot of the fans are just people who've grown up with the games. But that's mostly on the internet - I do take note of people who play Pokemon games out on the streets when I'm in town and such, and there is a very broad age range. Perhaps Pokemon is more popular in England than it is in America, maybe? Idk.
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    It is stagnating.
    They should get people talking about the games in order to reach another sales spike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creyk View Post
    It is stagnating.
    They should get people talking about the games in order to reach another sales spike.
    If "stagnating" is selling millions upon millions of games, they really don't need to change much.
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    Pokemon is only less "popular" right now as in this date, 6/7/16, because there hasn't been a new game in nearly three years. ORAS was a remake and while new people bought it that were introduced to the series after R/S/E, I guarantee the gap hurt the perception of Pokemon's strength since it meant less new things to talk about. Social media trending was barely a thing back in 2013. It doesn't help that the anime isn't as big as a driver of fans in the US like it is in Japan. None of the people that I know that actually play Pokemon pretty seriously watch the anime.

    If Nintendo/Game Freak wanted to make Pokemon explode again, they would need to:
    a) Launch an anime series geared towards older teens/adults. They can keep the kiddie version for Saturday cartoons, but they could easily release a grittier, 13-episode run with their Netflix partnership.

    b) Make it easier to get your Pokemon into Social Media straight from the game. Instead of using outside websites to customize trainer cards, they need an in-option game that'll transfer straight to your FB/Twitter. They need to make it easier to create screenshots from in-game play. Pokemon is a social game and while they've made steps with the GTS/Wonder Trade/competitive battling, it could be a lot better.

    c) Pokemon GO releases with few bugs and a high user base. That'll do more for the franchise then S/M will, hands down.

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