Analysis
  • Pokemon Sword and Shield seems to be doing well despite being surrounded by controversy.
  • The games sold insanely well in opening weeks and boosted UK Switch sales by 30%.
  • These impressive sales and scores will probably prevent any changes coming to the series in the future.

It feels like every article about Pokemon Sword and Shield starts out with the backlash. During the last year, the Pokemon Sword and Shield games were hit with wave after wave of criticism. Some of that criticism was understandable and very valid. Unfortunately, the valid complaints were just completely drowned out by the angry whining.

Despite various controversies, from cutting the dex to lying about using new models, Sword and Shield appears to be doing damn well. They’ve come out to a pretty positive critical reception on most fronts. Even better than that, they have sold insanely well, even boosting Nintendo Switch sales by 30% in the UK.

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Twitter Post
While buying the game in no way invalidates this user’s criticism, it is probably that Game Freak will take no notice of it because so many decided to buy the game regardless of their feelings. | Source: Twitter

Why Didn’t the Complaints Have an Effect?

Many people will be wondering why these controversies didn’t negatively affect sales. Mainly this seems to be because there was a lot of promise behind Pokemon Sword and Shield. The changes that made so many mad were there to help change the formula of the series. Things had been getting stale, and people wanted to see if Game Freak could make it feel fresh again.

Whether or not you were in the quietly optimistic camp or the vocally outraged camp matters very little these days. Both sets of people seem to have bought the game. Even if you take to Twitter to complain about it after the fact, that isn’t going to get through to Game Freak.

Many people claimed that ‘voting with your wallet’ wouldn’t make a difference. They say that Pokemon Sword and Shield would sell a ton of copies regardless. Of course, that’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy really. Obviously, it’s going to sell millions of copies if you complain about the game and then buy it anyway.

What Effect Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Success Will Have on the Franchise

So Pokemon Sword and Shield is out, has sold bunches, and boosted Switch sales. What will this mean for the future of the series? Well, firstly it’s likely to make Game Freak more confident in trying out new stuff. It’s clear that they’re seeking to branch out from the Pokemon franchise. They had Little Town Hero out earlier this year, which also met with some decent reviews.

In short, it’s unlikely that they’ll #bringbackthenationdex as many people wanted. They already said in interviews that the cut-down dex will probably be appearing in other Pokemon games in the future. No change will come about if you want to keep buying the games. Companies mainly speak in review scores and sales, neither of which are affected by mass fan complaints.

It’s easy to see why so many people were bothered by cutting off the Pokedex. Many people found their favorite monsters disappear from the game entirely, myself included. While it is true that I will never see my beloved Elekid in Pokemon Sword and Shield, I know that the loss was worth it, at least for me. I agree that a cut was necessary in the first place. Whether you agree or not on that point, you have to admit that the Twitter-based screaming match really didn’t change anything.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

Last modified: November 19, 2019 20:42 UTC

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