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GBA

Pokémon GBA Games Clean Up in Japan Holiday Sales

by Steven Rodriguez - December 19, 2002, 10:24 am PST
Discuss in talkback! Source: Press Release

I get it, the more Pokémon there are to catch, the more games Nintendo sells. Not a bad idea.

Discuss it in Talkback!

Pokemon Games No.1 in Japan Holiday Season Sales

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Pokémon craze is back in Japan.

Combined sales of "Pokémon Ruby" and "Pokémon Sapphire," the latest titles in the blockbuster video game series released last month, have topped two million units, becoming the top-selling games in Japan's holiday shopping season to date, game magazine publisher Enterbrain said Thursday. The games, released by an affiliate of Nintendo Co. Ltd. on November 21, generated massive sales of 1.25 million units in the first four days and another 1.13 million between November 25 and December 15, the publisher said.

"Sales of the Pokémon games were stronger than we had expected...sales topped two million much faster than we had expected," Enterbrain President Hirokazu Hamamura told Reuters.

"Given soft demand for the latest Pokemon movie earlier this year, the Pokemon phenomenon appeared to have faded. But the games' results prove that Pokemon remains a strong brand."

Nintendo does not provide sales estimates.

But Hamamura said he expected sales of Ruby and Sapphire to grow to five million eventually.

In 1999, Nintendo's smash hit "Pokémon Gold" and "Pokémon Silver" titles had sales of 5.2 million units less than two months after their debut.

The reviving Pokémon craze also seems to be fueling demand for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance (GBA) handheld console, which can play the Ruby and Sapphire games, Hamamura said.

"Weekly sales of GBA surged to 150,000 units after release of the new games from 30,000-40,000 in the previous two months."

Trailing the Pokémon games, "Tales of Destiny 2" by Namco Ltd. ranked No.2 in sales for the three weeks through Sunday with sales of 603,244 units, followed by "SD Gundam G Generation-Neo" by Bandai Co Ltd., with sales of 438,383.

Nintendo's "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker," which hit store shelves last Friday, saw sales of 287,346 units in only three days. The "Zelda" franchise has long been one of Nintendo's cornerstones, along with the long-running "Mario" series.

Shares in Nintendo closed 2.36 percent higher at 11,300 yen, compared with a 0.52 percent rise by the Nikkei average.

The stock has lost 51 percent so far this year due to sagging demand for GBA and GameCube home videogame consoles, along with disappointing sales of its "Super Mario Sunshine" game.

But some analysts say upbeat sales of the Pokémon and Zelda games may help boost the company's game hardware sales, as well as its share price, toward the beginning of next year.

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