Pokemon is one of the best selling game franchises of all time. The iconic Mario series is the only franchise to top Pokemon to date. Here we list the top selling Pokemon games of all time.
Best selling video game franchise
The Mario series, which includes Super Mario, Mario Kart and more, has sold an incredible estimated 570 million copies. Pokemon, which comes in number two, has sold an estimated 301 million copies.
Iconic video game franchises GTA and FIFA also fall behind Pokemon. They are third and fourth in the list, with respective estimated sales of 280 and 260 million. Coming in at number 5 is unsurprisingly Call of Duty. The most famous first-person shooter has sold 250 million copies.
For the sake of determining the most popular Pokemon games, versions such as Gold, Silver and Crystal will be combined as they are essentially the same game.
1. Pokemon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow
46.02 million sales (Last updated December 2014)
The first ever Pokemon game is by far the best selling. It was released on the Gameboy in 1996. Even today, when someone says Pokemon game, most people think of Pokemon Red and Blue.
Interestingly, the lesser-known Pokemon Green was only released in Japan. This is why the majority of audiences aren't familiar with the game. Given this we can safely assume the Green version contributed little to the overall sales.
Green, along with Pokemon Red and Blue, generated a huge 31.38 million sales. Consequently, Pokemon Yellow has sold 14.64 million copies.
2. Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal
29.49 million sales (Last updated December 2014)
Given the popularity of the first Pokemon game, it is unsurprising that the second game to be released, Pokemon Gold, Silver and Crystal, comes in at number two on the chart.
There was quite a gap between the release date depending on region. Japan first got this game in 1999 and Europe had to wait until 2001. It was released on the Gameboy Color and based on the Johto region.
Between the three, 29.49 million copies were sold with Gold and Silver contributing to the bulk of the sales with 23.1 million.
3. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
25.27 million sales (Last updated March 2017)
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl were the first Pokemon games released on the Nintendo DS. Pokemon Platinum, the enhanced version of Diamond and Pearl, was released two years later.
The game introduced five time periods, in comparison to Gold and Silver's three, and made several changes to the battle mechanics.
First released in 2006 (2007 elsewhere), Diamond and Pearl generated 17.67 million sales. Therefore, Pokemon Platinum sold 7.6 million.
4. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
23.28 million sales (Last updated March 2013)
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire was the third Pokemon game to be released.
It was released for the Gameboy Advance. Once again Japan got a head-start on the rest of the world with a November 2002 release. It was released to the rest of the world by July of 2003. It was the first Pokemon to introduce double battles.
A similar trend continues with Ruby and Sapphire's enhanced version, Emerald, whereby its predecessor accumulates most of the sales. Pokemon Emerald contributed 7.06 million sales of the 23.28.
5. Pokemon X and Y
16.37 million sales (Last updated December 2018)
Some would look at this list and think the introduction of a new generation of Pokemon would boost the sales. However, each of these games have been the first Pokemon on new Nintendo handheld hardware.
Pokemon X and Y was the first Pokemon game to appear on the Nintendo 3DS. It is the first Pokemon game on handheld to feature fully 3D polygonal graphics. Moreover, it features mega evolution for the first time.
Released in 2013, Pokemon X and Y sold a combined 16.37 million copies.
Source: Pokemon game sales figures
Other Pokemon games
Other mainline Pokemon games such as Pokemon Sun/Moon and Red/Blue remake, Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green weren't far behind.
Interestingly, classic games such as Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap weren't close to making the top 5.