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Despite all the controversy, it appears the latest Pokémon games have absolutely smashed it. Pokémon Sword & Shield are now the fastest selling Nintendo Switch games to date, with an incredible six million units shifted in the first week (via Gematsu). I guess the majority really aren't that bothered about the whole National Dex scandal. Good. Maybe that means we can all stop talking it.
The Pokémon Company broke the good news in a tweet, revealing that Pokémon Sword is the most successful platform exclusive of 2019, beating out Luigi's Mansion 3, Death Stranding, and Gears 5. Remember that Sword & Shield are treated as different games in sales charts, so I guess Sword just pipped its brother to the post because it has a much, much cooler name.
Incredibly, the new games managed to bring in almost double the launch week sales of Pokémon Let's Go, and those first gen remakes had the power of nostalgia on their side. It's also finally managed to knock the mighty Super Smash Bros. Ultimate from its throne. The ultimate Nintendo brawler had been the company's fast selling exclusive since launching last year.
It's obviously not a huge shock, given that Pokémon is arguably the biggest franchise on the planet... but with all the howling and complaining from fans I did think the sales might have taken more of a hit. I guess the target audience (small children) don't actually prowl Twitter and Reddit reading threads about how the lazy developers re-used animations. Shocking.
While Pokémon Sword & Shield do boast some incredibly impressive numbers, it's not the best the franchise has ever seen. 3DS titles Sun & Moon and X & Y both managed loftier peaks. Of course, it's worth noting that the 3DS had a much larger install base around the time of Sun & Moon, and 3DS games did shift for a lower price than Switch titles.
Whichever way you slice this though, it's a big win for Nintendo, Game Freak, and The Pokémon Company. After all the bellyaching from fans, the latest entries have launched to amazing sales and mostly positive reviews. In my own review of Pokémon Shield, I said that there was a lot to love about the latest generation, but wish that they could have been slightly more ambitious.
I love most of the new features and monsters, but found the open world Wild Area to be slightly lacking. With that said, it's the first generation on a brand new console, so I'm confident the next games will be a suitable... evolution. Then again, what do I know? The games are making bank.
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