Pokemon is now no longer the top-selling game in Japan
The first Pokemon games were no longer the most popular video games in Japan since Animal Crossing: New Horizons has surpassed them in sales. When Nintendo released Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue in Japan in 1996, it completely transformed the video game business. The first Pokemon video games not only significantly increased the lifespan of the Game Boy handheld, but they also kicked off a global craze that is still going strong today.
The original Pokemon games became the best-selling games in Japan’s history thanks to Pokemon fever, which led to a staggering 10.23 million units sold there alone. The Pokemon Gold and Silver sequels were for a while the closest games ever came to the original Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue, but now Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch has supplanted them.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has reportedly sold 10.45 million units in Japan, ousting Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue from the top spot 26 years after their debut, according to Nintendo’s most recent financial report. This is a remarkable accomplishment that elevates Animal Crossing: New Horizons to the status of one of the most popular Nintendo games ever created.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become Japan's all time best selling game. pic.twitter.com/yonNxSkBkd
— Game Data Library (@GameDataLibrary) November 8, 2022
When it comes to these sales figures, there are a few intriguing considerations. Selling three different versions of the game meant that players were more inclined to double dip with Pokemon than with other games, which was advantageous for the company. After all, in order to catch all 151 Pokemon, you had to trade between the different versions, which undoubtedly inflated the overall sales figures.
In terms of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it had the benefit of debuting at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height. People were looking for entertainment to keep them occupied while the entire planet was under lockdown. Many people started playing video games, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons being particularly well-liked. Nintendo took advantage of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ unprecedented success by providing frequent updates and eventually a paid DLC that enhanced the acclaimed life simulation game’s features even further.
It’s unlikely that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be dethroned from the top spot anytime soon, given how long Pokemon ruled the gaming world. The upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have a slim chance, but it’s likely that the future New Horizons sequel will be Animal Crossing’s greatest rival.