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Is Pokémon less popular than it used to be?

This is coming from the point of view of a girl in secondary school who only got into the franchise this year.

I find that Pokemon could be considered as dropping in popularity. For a start, the only adverts I saw on television for Pokemon were only appearing once or twice and were heavily aimed at boys, and were usually some Ash Ketchum thing - and I hated Ash before I even got into Pokemon, and I think this may have something to do with it. So already that's marketing - they're not advertising the games much on television. Then the catchphrase - Gotta Catch 'Em All! This catchphrase not only is becoming less appealing to kids (I've seen a whole bunch in my school who find it stupid), but it no longer captures *badum tss* what the franchise is anymore. There is plot. There are characters with substance. Then there is the fact that so many people can't be bothered to get a 3DS. I remember someone stating "oh they're stupid devices" one time. Also, feeding back to advertising, I knew Pokemon existed ages ago, but the only thing that made me want to play it was watching Dan from DanAndPhilGames playing Omega Ruby around December 2015 thinking, "huh. That's actually a good game. The music is cute, the graphics are cute, it looks like it gets cool later, I might as well get a 3DS for Christmas and save up for the game." Some people need to watch the game actually being played in order to understand what it is. You know what I find, though? It's a really odd point, but what made me click with Omega Ruby was when I played it with my friend during my first blind playthrough. We played from just after beating Roxanne to just after meeting Steven, and it was one of the best evenings of my life. I remember one of the first things that made me love Steven as a character was us, that evening, trying to find him. We rushed through every building in Dewford, and felt stupid when it turned out that all along we had to beat Brawly, but that was what made me laugh. This friend by the way I had only met a few months before. And also, Youtuber vs viewer livestreams that youtubers do are also ways of bringing people together. It's this bond that Pokemon creates with friends and NPCs that makes it one of my favourite franchises, and Pokemon is beginning to lose it - not because they're not trying - Multi Battles, Trade, etc - but because less people are finding out about the franchise, and so those who do have nobody to share this game with. All it feeds back into in my eyes are three things; the lack of game advertisement, the lack of people playing with friends and the "Pokemon is a kids game" idea. If the games were advertised more then more people would think it's worth a shot, and if those people play with friends more, then more would realise how fun it is and it might begin to creep back at the "Pokemon is a kids game" idea.

So that's my rant.
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Well-Known Member
Short of clairvoyance, there's no real answer that you didn't touch on yourself. When your "least successful" set of games sells 14 million units, you're still doing okay. There are studios that would sacrifice the firstborn children of every one of their developers (and a few goats for good measure) for those kind of sales numbers.

People will try and tell you "yes, the franchise is going downhill because of..." and their reasons will include (but not be limited to):

  • "The franchise isn't mature enough and needs to market to adults" (yahuh)
  • "They've run out of ideas for Pokémon" (the games? the monsters themselves? either way)
  • "I don't enjoy it as much as I used to" (ten years ago)
  • "Everyone just plays Call of Duty these days" (true enough, but... so what?)
  • "Smartphones are going to kill portable game systems" (maybe in the future, but not today or tomorrow)

--and so on, but that's mostly noise.

Ultimately, the best answer that anyone can give you is that no, the franchise isn't as popular as it was in its peak heyday, but then again, what is?

They're still selling in very, very healthy numbers, as you said, and like everything else Nintendo puts out regularly, whether it's hardware or software, it would take multiple failed entries in a row for the franchise to be in any danger. That's actual failed entries - harmfully low sales, where it matters, not "I didn't like this game because it was too easy" or whatever. And Pokémon is perhaps the most consistent franchise under Nintendo's umbrella, because at this point, you can count on a new core title or pair of core titles every 1-2 years and a new generation every 3-4 years, for the most part.

Ultimately, that's the answer. Anything above or below that is probably overly optimistic or pessimistic at this point. Maybe rightfully so, and maybe not, but still.

I really like this answer, I mean, nothing is as popular as it was in its heyday. I don't think Pokemon will ever reach that point again although I feel it came quite close with Pokemon Go. But at the same time, I feel Pokemon is a franchise that will be around for quite a while ;152;

U.N. Owen

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...
Popularity is like the economy. There are times of growth, decline, growth. What goes up must come down.

And to bluntly copy and paste from tv tropes.

Stage 0: Depending on the level of preemptive promotion:
(a) Obscurity. The work has just began publication and is relatively unknown. Every Sleeper Hit starts off here before quickly getting popular.
(b) Pre-release hype owed either to the creator's previous fame or to a promotion campaign. The fandom is technically not there yet but the seeds are sown.
Stage 1: Relative obscurity. Fans are disjointed and have little communication. Claims of "It Needs More Love" are heard.
Stage 2: Fans begin to communicate and form clubs that will become the devoted core of the fandom. Troper Critical Mass is usually reached at this stage. Cult Classics remain here forever.
Stage 3: Fandom heads towards mainstream. Hatedom forms as a Vocal Minority, and the fandom is too small to drown them out. Most creators start paying attention to the fandom at this stage.
Stage 4: Fandom becomes large and organized. The majority drowns out the hatedom voices. "Normal People" outside of the fandom begin to recognize its object's popularity.
Stage 5: The work becomes sufficiently ingrained in contemporary culture for even the people not familiar with it to know a lot about it, technically turning everyone into a fan. These are the works most likely to become Trope Overdosed.
Reference examples: Batman, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Super Mario Bros..
Stage 6:
(a) Cooldown. The fandom slips back to stage 2 from any of the previous stages, becoming a cult.
(b) Oblivion. The fandom goes back to obscurity from any of the previous stages.
Stage X: Newbie Boom. After slipping back to obscurity, the fandom springs back towards mainstream due to external factors, such as a Continuity Reboot or an adaptation/spin-off series becoming popular.


Well-Known Member
It's definitely less popular then what it used to be for sure. The anime especially, only a small minority of Pokemon fans still watch the anime whereas in the 90's playing the games and watching the anime went hand in hand.

However the games are still going very strong, they say that Pokemon S/M is the most pre-ordered game in company history.

Mrs. Oreo

It seems to me that Pokemon Go was a playtest for an augmented reality game, just to see what the public reaction to such a game would be (and it was pretty phenomenal).

The Dream Radar thing from the Black 2 and White 2 era seemed like a playtest of that technology as well, although it didn't seem nearly as widespread or as popular as Pokemon Go is. Personally, I got bored with both the Dream Radar and Go quite fast and if Nintendo has plans for using more AR technology in the Pokemon franchise in the future, I hope their improvements are significant. :3


Well-Known Member
It certainly had a huge spike of popularity back in July, thanks to Pokemon Go. I remember seeing tons of people playing who haven't really touched a Pokemon game since the first or second generation. I was hearing about Pokemon Go all over the news and how it was bringing people together, as well as news reports reminding people to be careful. It was everywhere once again, just as it was in the late 90's and very early 2000's. Pokemon Go's popularity has faded quite a bit though. For Pokemon as a whole, I feel like its a bit more popular than it was around in Gen IV and Gen V, though its still nowhere near the peak it had, that Pokemon Go seemed to bring it too.


Nothing is ever as popular as when it first begins. Yeah, Pokemon is less popular than when it began, but that's inevitable. The games still sell very, very well, and it's not going away anytime soon.

I could be wrong because I don't know the sales numbers but I feel like Gens III and IV were sort of the low points for the franchise as far as popularity goes, but it started picking back up a little bit again with Gens V and VI.


Well-Known Member
Nothing is ever as popular as when it first begins. Yeah, Pokemon is less popular than when it began, but that's inevitable. The games still sell very, very well, and it's not going away anytime soon.

I could be wrong because I don't know the sales numbers but I feel like Gens III and IV were sort of the low points for the franchise as far as popularity goes, but it started picking back up a little bit again with Gens V and VI.

In terms of sales for overall generations(All in millions):
Gen 1-47.52 (Red/Green/Blue-31.38,Yellow-14.64, Red/Green/Blue/Yellow(VC)-1.5)

Gen 2-29.49(Gold & Silver-23.1, Crystal-6.39)

Gen 3-34.54(Ruby & Sapphire-16.22, Emerald-6.32, FireRed & LeafGreen-12)

Gen 4-37.95(Diamond & Pearl-17.63, Platinum-7.6, HeartGold & SoulSilver-12.72)

Gen 5-24.12(Black & White-15.6, Black 2 and White 2-8.52)

Gen 6-28.82(X & Y-15.64, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire-13.18)

Gen 5 would have been the least popular(Probably due to the lack of a remake), however Black 2 and White 2 did better than Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum(Probably because it was a sequel apposed to improved version of the first set of games). Gen 3 and 4 actually increased the overall sale since Gen 2. Remakes have increasingly been getting more sales as well. And in terms of first set of games released, it has been declining for the most part, DP had a rise but it fell again in BW but then rose slightly with XY(Likely due to Go). The life time of the generation probably impacts the sales to some degree as well. Gen 4 was the longest Generation, and 5 and 6 were both shorter so they had less time to advertise and sell.

Sun and Moon do seem likely to maybe surpass Gen 6 though in terms of first set of games released since they are the most preordered game in Nintendo ever.

But again, that's just for sales of the games, I do imagine the overall popularity has increased in Gen 6 and will continue over into Gen 7, probably from some help from Gamefreak advertising as a game for everyone better than in the past, so people are probably now more open about their love for Pokemon regardless of their age, Go probably has helped a little for the coming generation too.


Well-Known Member
I think popularity will only grow. Theres the older generations of players such as myself, and every year a new generation joins up and starts playing pokemon. I know for sure when my daughter is a bit older, she'll want to play as well. Meaning in my house alone there will be two generations playing. This wasnt as much of a thing back when it originally came out. Yeah people will stop playing as well, but from what Im seeing, a lot will return when they finish school, even just casually, meaning numbers only grow, at least for now. With Sun/Moon being the most preordered game in Nintendo history, I think we're seeing some proof of that.


Shiny hunter :)
I think pokemon has been successful and that hype surrounding sun and moon has been great,


GO Also added to that hype even more, creating a ridiculous amount of hype for a game im sure a lot of people are starting to realize they don't really want now that GO has died down. I mean, it sure sparked interest in me. I wasn't as hyped for sun and moon before, but I sure as hell am now. (I mean that doesn't really matter though because I was going to buy them anyways, and since sales numbers is what matters and not opinion, I guess its a moot point)


Well-Known Member
While i agree it doesn't have the same level of popularity as Gen I and II, i thought it's still fairly popular, definitely one of the most popular video games in the world for sure..