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Pokémon Sword and Shield is best-selling exclusive of the year

Pokémon has beaten Star Wars to the UK number one, with Sword and Shield enjoying the second biggest Pokémon launch ever.

It may have been one of the most controversial entries ever but Pokémon Sword and Shield is also one of the most successful, as it becomes the biggest exclusive video game release of the year and the third biggest of any kind – behind only FIFA 20 and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Pokémon doesn’t always get to number one because Chart-Track counts it as two games, but Sword and Shield managed to outsell everything except 2016’s Pokémon Sun and Moon, which came out in the middle of Pokémon Go’s first big wave of popularity and was released on a Wednesday rather than a Friday – not to mention that digital sales, which are not counted in these charts, will have been much more prevalent for Sword/Shield.

In other words, it is, as ever, almost impossible to compare sales using only the retail charts. But since that’s all that’s ever released that’s all anyone can go on. At the very least, Sword and Shield certainly beat last year’s Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eeeve, selling 64.6% more in total.

None of this is bad news for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order though, which became the fourth biggest retail release of the year, just behind Pokémon. The game did sell 33% less than 2017’s Star Wars: Battlefront II, but EA has already stated it didn’t expect it to do as well, presumably not only because it’s single-player but because it has no tie-in to the new movies.

Given that, and the steady increase of digital sales every year, a 33% decline actually seems very positive and will hopefully not put EA off other non-multiplayer titles in the future. Despite co-promotions with Microsoft though, 66% of sales were on the PlayStation 4.

Last week was one of the biggest of the year for new releases, although the only other one to make it into the top 40 was Terminator: Resistance at number 38.

The biggest victim of the new launches was PlayStation 4 exclusive Death Stranding, which dropped 71% in sales and almost fell out of the top 10.

Unusually, there are no major new releases scheduled for December, which means that Shenmue III on Tuesday is the last major retail release of the year, given that Football Manager 2020 on the same day will see the vast majority of its sales on digital.

There is still the question of what will be the Christmas number one though, with Pokémon having an outside chance of breaking the usual deadlock between Call Of Duty and FIFA.

Although the last few years it’s been last minute discounts that have decided the winner, so it could easily end up being an older title from earlier in the year.

UK all formats retail chart – 16 November

1 (-) Pokémon Sword (NS)
2 (-) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS4/XO/PC)
3 (-) Pokémon Shield (NS)
4 (1) Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (PS4/XO)
5 (3) FIFA 20 (PS4/XO/NS)
6 (4) Luigi’s Mansion 3 (NS)
7 (-) Pokémon Sword and Shield Dual Edition (NS)
8 (2) Death Stranding (PS4)
9 (6) Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (NS)
10(8) Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (NS)

Ukie Games Charts©, compiled by GfK Chart-Track

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