Pokémon Sword and Shield on pace to overtake Smash Bros’ Japan lifetime sales in under 4 months

Pokémon just keeps trucking along.

Screengrab via Nintendo

Pokémon Sword and Shield were finally knocked off the top spot on the Japanese sales charts reported by Famitsu. But that hasn’t stopped the games’ insane trajectory that’s set to pass Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in a matter of months. 

After selling another 55,604 copies between Jan. 13 and 19, Sword and Shield surpassed the total lifetime sales of Splatoon 2 in the region by reaching a massive 3.3 million in total copies sold. Although this data isn’t taking into account international sales figures, Game Freak’s latest game is setting a good pace to eventually take the crown of the best-selling Nintendo Switch title. 

Ultimate is just ahead of Sword and Shield’s current mark at 3.5 million copies sold, but its sales have dwindled in recent months, having just barely made the top 10 during the last week at 12,347 units. The most recent title from the fighting game franchise was the highest-selling console game in Japan from the last decade across all platforms, so passing it isn’t an easy feat. 

If the new Pokémon titles can keep racking up the numbers at this pace, they’ll hit 3.5 million copies before the end of 2020—though it’ll likely happen earlier. 

The Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass is set to start releasing later this year, which means new players will have another reason to purchase the game. When the first part of the expansion, The Isle of Armor, releases in June, it’ll cause a sizable boost in sales for the base game, too. 

Part two of the expansion, The Crown Tundra, won’t release until the fall, likely around October or November. This spaces the content out throughout the year and will give Sword and Shield a second bump closer to the holiday season, where sales are already increased for big titles. 

Official international sales figures haven’t been made available for most of Nintendo’s titles since the end of September, but based on how Pokémon has been selling, it’s likely already passed Super Mario Party (7.59 million copies) and Splatoon 2 (9.28 million copies.) It might have even met the 11.28 million mark set by Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, though that will probably come later this year. 

Sword and Shield were dethroned by the release of Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, which both debuted on the charts at 156,993 and 89,537 units sold, respectively.


Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.

Latest Articles