At their third quarter financial results briefing for the ongoing fiscal year, Nintendo revealed that Pokémon Sword/Shield have shipped 16.06 million units in a month-and-a-half since their release in November 2019.
This makes Sword/Shield the fastest-selling Pokémon games in years (perhaps ever). In the chart below, you can see how sales of Pokémon Sword/Shield compare to Pokémon X/Y and Pokémon Sun/Moon.
X and Y reached just under 15 million units in shipments in their 11th quarter (a single quarter being three months) on the market. Sun and Moon—which were released in a post-Pokémon Go world—reached that figure right after their first quarter, which is much quicker. Both games then crawled to 16 million units over several months following launch. But now, Pokémon Sword/Shield have exceeded that figure in just a month-and-half.
Part of the reason for this is that Sword and Shield being the first mainline Pokémon games to be developed for a high-spec console you can play on your TV is a simple and alluring draw—one that catches the attention of all sorts of players and convinced them to pick these games up sooner rather than later. The other reason is simply that the Nintendo Switch is very, very good at selling software; much more so than the Nintendo 3DS, which faced an uphill battle in certain western markets.
It also likely helped that 2019 was Pokémon Go’s best year ever, in terms of revenue. According to Sensor Tower, the mobile game brought in an estimated $894 million in revenue, owing to the addition of new features and events, such as Team Go Rocket. Pokémon Go is primarily responsible for revitalizing the Pokémon brand over the last few years, and its impact has been felt across both videogames and merchandise.
The chart above gives you an idea of how the last few mainline Pokémon games have sold to date (exact figures below). While the series has consistently sold in the 15-17 million range over the past two decades, expect Sword/Shield sales to shoot up much higher than that as the year goes on, especially as Game Freak continues to update the games with new expansions.
Pokémon lifetime sales:
(2002) Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire [GBA] – 16.22 million
(2006) Pokémon Diamond/Pearl [NDS] – 17.67 million
(2010) Pokémon Black/White [NDS] – 15.64 million
(2013) Pokémon X/Y [3DS] – 16.44 million
(2016) Pokémon Sun/Moon [3DS] – 16.18 million
(2019) Pokémon Sword/Shield [NSW] – 16.06 million
Pokémon Sword & Shield are available for the Nintendo Switch.