Pokemon Black and White keeps the brand battling with more than 1 million first-day sales [Updated]

March 11, 2011 | 10:18 a.m.
pokemon white frontcover large p5mxzjyle3qgwj2 Pokemon Black and White keeps the brand battling with more than 1 million first day sales [Updated]

Pokémon White Version (Pokémon)

The No. 2 video game title in the world (more than 210 million games sold worldwide through September 2010) may not be best known for those games by mainstream U.S. consumers, but a Saturday morning cartoon and a lightning mouse named Pikachu helped propel Pokémon as a game and an international sensation more than a decade ago.

Though the cartoon’s popularity is not as frenzied as its Time magazine cover days — it just premiered its 14th season on Feb. 12, now on the Cartoon Network — the company’s core video games are just as popular as they’ve always been. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions for the Nintendo DS have sold nearly 11 million copies worldwide since launching, and the company is continuing its solid sales with more than 1 million copies sold in one day (launched Sunday) of its newest incarnation: Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version.

Introduced as a video game in 1996 in Japan (coming to the U.S. in 1998), the company has maintained a multi-level platform of releases with games, cartoon series and cartoon movies, usually coming out around the same time to introduce new characters and unexplored worlds.

“There’s a new movie and animation series every year, but yes, when a new core game is developed, the animation and movies will feature new characters and story lines tied to the games. In this case, the animation is based on the Pokémon, locations and trainers found in the Unova region, the setting of the new Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video games,” says J.C. Smith, director of marketing for Pokemon USA Inc.

The Black and White versions explore the Unova region and have a more urban feel than most other Pokémon landscapes, with new trainers often traversing city streets instead of forests. Forcing interaction with the new characters, players cannot play with their favorites from the older generations of games until you finish the main story. [Updated 12:45 p.m.: In an earlier version, it was noted that Ash Ketchum and Pikachu were in Pokemon Black and White. Ketchum is not.]

The Black and White versions have already sold more than 5 million copies in Japan. Though solid performers, Pokémon games did not make the top 10 games of 2010 in the U.S., but as popular titles like Guitar Hero, and the companies that make them, are shelved, it keeps trudging along with its tried and true relaunches with continued success.

Since Nintendo forecasted lower sales earlier this year and the company in general makes a bigger profit on games than on consoles, is there a new Pikachu in line to boost sales and hook gamers?

“Everyone has one [Pokémon] that they identify with.  Now with more than 643 of them, everyone’s going to have something that’s going to be their favorite…  But you can never replace Pikachu! The new starter Pokémon — Snivy, a grass-type,  Tepig, a fire-type, and Oshawott, a water-type — are sure to be well-liked,” says Smith.

New characters, the newest film — Pokémon: Zoroark – Master of Illusions — premiered in February, and a mall tour introducing new customers to the brand is also traversing the country. They’re still trying to catch ’em all.

— Jevon Phillips


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13 Responses to Pokemon Black and White keeps the brand battling with more than 1 million first-day sales [Updated]

  1. Enough-is-enough says:

    I stopped playing Pokemon after Gold and Silver (2000), because the designs for the characters were starting to get less and less interesting. Oshawatt, Snivey, Tepig?? Not only are their designs boring but their names are stupid as well.

    This cashcow has gone on for almost 15 years. It's always a rehash of the same thing (you travel to towns and fight gym leaders), just with a bucket load of new monsters. If they have any respect for the original series they'll make this game the last (but of course that will never happen).

    • Parker says:

      No just no. Anyhow they are not stupid(but you are) but I have to agree that some of the gold and silver ones did look lame/stupid/like the creators were on drugs.(ex:miltank) (it shoots milk at you!). But, I think all the rest were amazing designs, and from what I’ve seen black and white looks amazing!(I’m not just talking about the pokemon here). Diamond also gave me a new favorite pokemon(darkrai). Oh and just to say black and white have the first bug type legendary. However we come to the one pokemon I wish was never created: tabbune! It looks like something from teletubies. Well I gotta go catch em all!

  2. Missingno. says:

    I also stopped playing Pokemon after Gold and Silver years ago, and I was also of the mentality that all the games were the same and that it was a waste of time to invest in any of the other numerous titles which Nintendo was profiting off of. However, about 2 or 3 years ago, I picked up Pokemon Emerald on sale and was amazed by how addicting and fun the title was. The developers at Game Freak really do a great job at advancing the gameplay aspects of Pokemon with each subsequent release (a la the Madden series or Halo). The additional Pokemon characters added with each generation are hard to like at first because they are unfamiliar, but after spending hours and hours trying to find, catch, breed, and train them, you develop a strong connection with them, as I'm sure people did with the original 150.

    I recently bought Pokemon White for myself, and again I am addicted to Pokemon. Perhaps one day the series will become stale and stagnant, but the past 15 or so years have thus far been filled with great Pokemon titles. Sales and reviews from established gaming magazines and websites should attest to that.

  3. Yes_man says:

    I also, stopped playing pokemon after Gold and Silver (in fact, I stop playing all type of video games for that matter). I recently realized that I am addicted to pokemon, since I still have a craving for Pokemon. I do not have any craving for hundred of video games that I played (mario world, madden, halo and etc) but somewhat I have a craving for Pokemon. I think I will buy the nintendo DS just for the pokemon. My last game system was PS2 and xbox.

  4. bob says:

    Gotta catch,em all

  5. enough ISN'T enough says:

    First Comment:

    Looks like someone has a bad taste in video games. Pokemon, proven by the sales, will always be the best game every year. Just accept it.

  6. 454 says:

    i like pokemon

  7. Michael King says:

    As modern warfare and kill me to death games are subconciesely brainwashing our children into thinking that the world should always be at war, Pokemon and Phineas & Ferb gives me hope. Clever creative people are still devoting their time to the positive. Yes, the kill me games are spectacular but what if these brilliant brains directed their talent at more of the likes of Pokemon.
    Art is defined by its maker. You are what your work is. If today's youth never shot a gun maybe then the future would be focused on lighting the world instead of making it bloody. Imagine Edison's genious being programed before he had a chance to develop. I'm not suggesting we limit
    creativity by my narrow views. I just prefer light over darkness. Nam myoho renge kyo……………

  8. Allan Nesbitt says:

    I'm still addict to the franchise in a whole regreating getting rid of my DS so i had some money, now i'm looking at getting a new one this month just so i can play pokemon once again and spend my days try to catch 'em all. Still waiting for the day that Game Freaks and The Pokemon Co. decide to make the ultimate pokemon game that starts in the Kanto Region and takes you through all of Ash's adventors on his quest to become the Pokemon master includeing the Orange League

  9. rarely ending profession. That is definitely why the pros will be able to improve their probability of a at no cost bet promotion, only then when they dont, they search for it remarkably tough to get paid from|

  10. Andre G. says:

    I think pokémon is just awesome, some pokémon look retarded and some look awesome. Like in white I liked it cuz I was attracted to Axew. I caught it and now its my first powerful dragon type. & I also like zoroark and zekrom. My fav starter was snivy. I feel more of a oshawott now. I ffirst saw timburr (that fighting type pokémon that holds the log) he was cute n awesome. But evolving him was a wrong thing and he looked hideous. Then in the old ones I also disliked certain pokemon but I can’t remember one. I know thow this though, the idea of exploring something new is quite awesome. And Pokémon seems like to have no end.

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