Nintendo DS

Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition Is Indeed Off To A Slow Start… Or Is It?


Early anecdotes from some Japanese retailers suggested that Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition—a crossover between Nintendo’s popular creatures and one of Japan’s oldest, most hardcore role-playing games—was looking to be a bit of a slow seller when it released last week. Children weren’t interested in the game, some retailers suggested. It was selling primarily to college kids and adults.


Then, yesterday, we found out that the game sold 172,027 copies in opening weekend, beating out every other game on the software sales chart. The catch is, Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition only sold through 58.43% of its first shipment to stores. That’s a pretty low number at first glance, and if it was the prevalent trend at stores in general, it’s only natural that store owners would be concerned.


That having been said, get a load of this data:


Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Sky (2009):

Opening weekend sales: 141,771 copies | First week sellthrough: 39.28%

Sales by the end of 2009: 400,755 copies

Sales by the end of 2010: 411,649 copies


Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs (2010):

Opening weekend sales: 160,532 copies | First week sellthrough: 40.63%

Sales by the end of 2010: 490,630 copies


The two observations here would be:

1. Pokémon spin-offs start slow but sell and sell and sell for months to come.

2. Even at 58% sellthrough, Pokénaga had a better start than the last two spin-offs.


Now, the questions that remain about this mind-boggling mutation are: How widespread is the alleged disinterest from children, and will it persist as word of mouth spreads? Will this hold back sales of the title or will the Pokémon brand ultimately prevail at winning over the kiddies? Or will the Nobunaga’s Ambition license sell the game to a different, older demographic instead? Is Pokémon helping Nobunaga or is Nobunaga helping Pokémon? And where will final sales end up?



Sales data acquired from 4Gamer, Media-Create and

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.