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Pokémon ports on 3DS Virtual Console a nostalgic success with 1.5M downloads

Pokémon's had a big anniversary year so far

Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green and Pokémon Yellow have been downloaded from Nintendo 3DS eShop over 1.5 million times worldwide, Nintendo said. In the company's fiscal year presentation, president Tatsumi Kimishima detailed how the Virtual Console re-releases have fared since their February launch.

The Game Boy games hit 3DS Virtual Console on Feb. 27, 20 years after their original release. Kimishima noted that while the figure reflects worldwide sales, North American Pokémon fans have been particularly zealous.

"More than half of these downloads came from the American market," he said, according to Nintendo's transcript from the financial briefing. "Since the start of the calendar year, Pokémon has been the subject of much attention in America, and sales are showing a favorable trend."

Only three of the four re-releases made it to the eShop: Red, Blue and Yellow. A limited-edition New Nintendo 3DS bundle went on sale the same day as the downloads, including codes for the former two games and two Pokémon-themed cover plates.

Just two months after launch, all four titles have found major success, Nintendo said — they've already hit the top-ranked downloadable titles chart for its 2015-2016 fiscal year, which ended March 31. All four Pokémon games take the fourth place slot in the top five most downloaded games chart. They're preceded by downloadable content for Mario Kart 8 and the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros., which take the top two places.

Download sales reached a high for Nintendo last year, which noted it's "focused on expanding the digital business." The company saw a particular increase in downloads in its last quarter, which it attributed to new DLC for Super Smash Bros. and Fire Emblem Fates, as well as the launch of old-school Pokémon on 3DS.

The anniversary re-releases are just the highest profile of Pokémon's 20th birthday celebrations. Mythical Pokémon are being distributed all year long, Drew Barrymore has hosted exclusive, tangentially Pokémon-related hangs and Nintendo is even prepping a new pair of games: this winter's Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

Pokémon Sun and Moon's reveal trailer

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