Pokemon Dominates Japanese Video Game Sales in 2019

pokemon sword and shield logo
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield is the best-selling game in Japan for 2019
  • Sword and Shield is poised to become the best-selling title in the series since the Game Boy’s Gold and Silver games

While Nintendo released many successful games in 2019, one of the company’s flagship series rose to the top. Despite releasing in the latter half of 2019, Pokemon Sword and Shield dominated the global video game sales market. With over 16 million in global units sold, Sword and Shield has quickly become the sixth best-selling game in the franchise. But the accolades do not stop there. On Wednesday, Famitsu revealed the list of best-selling Japanese video games of 2019.

The Japanese Market

It is no secret that Pokemon continues to dominate the video game industry. In fact, the series has yet to release a game that did not exceed 10 million in global sales. But Sword and Shield‘s release coupled with the Nintendo Switch’s success appears to have created a “perfect storm.”

Famitsu revealed on Wednesday that Sword and Shield is the best-selling game in Japan for 2019 with over 3.7 million units sold. Despite releasing just six weeks before the end of the year, nearly one-third of Japanese Switch owners purchased Sword and Shield. By comparison, just over 30 percent of Switch owners in Europe and North America purchased the latest Pokemon installment. Because most video games developed in Japan sell better in the Europe and North America markets, the fact that Pokemon is slightly more popular in Japan is ground-breaking.

In spite of its flaws, sales of Sword and Shield should easily surpass the Gold and Silver games in 2020. If Sword and Shield exceeds 23 million sales, the next target is the best-selling Red and Blue games. If Sword and Shield can surpass the 1996 classics, it would be revolutionary for the series. Because Game Freak will likely release a new installment in 2021, this next year will be crucial for Sword and Shield’s legacy.


While fans should be excited about Pokemon’s success, the game still has a lot of ground to cover. Holiday sales propelled Sword and Shield’s to new heights, but the newest generation has a long way to go to surpass the Red and Blue series.

But we want to know what you think. Are you excited about Pokemon Sword and Shield’s success? Did you purchase the game during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below or the social media links on the right. Be sure to check out our other news items on Modern WarfareCapcomBlizzard and more. Until next time, enjoy!

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