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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet sell 10M copies in spite of performance complaints

Nintendo said it’s the ‘highest global sales level’ on any of the company’s consoles in the first three days since launch

The water starter Pokémon Quaxly flipping its luscious pompadour as water sparkles in the air in Scarlet and Violet. Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo said Wednesday that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet sold more than 10 million copies within the first three days since the Nintendo Switch launch. The games were released Nov. 18, and have since reached the “highest global sales level for any software on any Nintendo platform within the first three days.” This is in spite of a launch that’s been marred by a number of serious performance and graphical issues.

It’s been a major record-breaking release for Nintendo, surpassing a huge launch with Pokémon Sword and Shield in 2019. The Pokémon Company’s eighth-generation games sold 6 million units worldwide over the launch weekend.

With the record-breaking sales, however, The Pokémon Company seems to be having one of its buggiest launches yet, too. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet launched with Pokémon and NPC pop-in issues, horrendous frame rates, and characters and Pokémon clipping through the world. A lot of the bugs are actually pretty amusing, but some are crashing the game. On Wednesday, Digital Foundry, which is known for its technical analysis of games, criticized the games’ “comprehensive technical failures,” saying they’re a step back from Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the other semi-open world game The Pokémon Company released this year. A number of players have been asking for refunds on the game due to the performance problems, and a lot of those players said they’ve gotten them.

The thing is, despite Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s issues, the games are what a lot of Pokémon fans were looking for. They’re the first major iteration on the mainline series’ games, creating an open world in which Pokémon trainers can choose their own adventures through three different questlines. On top of that, players are finally able to head out on adventures with friends in Scarlet and Violet’s multiplayer component.

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