Pokémon haven’t always been popular. Back in the late 90s, they were considered merely the next big craze, with the Nintendo GameBoy Red/Blue/Yellow titles fueling a rapidly constructed media empire that included a hit animated show (with a movie spinoff), a wildly popular trading card game and all manner of Pikachu-themed merchandise.
Since those halcyon days, the franchise slipped out of the limelight in the 2000s. It was never unpopular, but the torch for the property was held by the video games and the continuing animated series. But now, Pokémon is undergoing a dramatic renaissance, proved by The Pokémon Company’s profits increasing by a colossal 1,200% over the last five years.
The data comes from a report published by Japanese group Social Game Info. They say that at the time of the end of the accounting year in February 2019, the company had earned $123m in gross profit over a 365 day period. Compare that to 2014, when they ‘only’ made a paltry profit of $9.2m and you can begin to see the enormity of this growth.
So, what’s powered this? Well, the roots most likely lie in the runaway success of Pokémon GO, which was popular from the moment of its launch in 2016 and continues to rake in ridiculous amounts of money. The game being universally available, free and extremely engaging has increased the franchise’s reach among almost all consumers, resulting in merchandise sales skyrocketing and Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee becoming two of the most popular titles on the Nintendo Switch.
We should probably be prepared for the company’s profits to rise once again, too, when they release their next figures in 2020. The financial year will have seen the impact of Detective Pikachu‘s box office, and will see Pokémon Sword and Shield hit store shelves as well. Make no mistake about it, the future is bright, the future is Pokémon.