Apparently “pika pika” translates to “ka-ching!”

Most entertainment media companies have at least one or two flagship franchises that shine brighter than the other stars in their portfolio. For Marvel, for example, right now it’s their Avengers-related series, whereas for Square Enix it’s Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

But the Pokémon Company is unique in that it lives or dies entirely by its namesake franchise…and recently, it’s been living the good life.

Japanese game industry news organization Social Game Info reports that the Pokémon Company, which closes its accounting year at the end of February, reported 13.389 billion yen (US$122.835 million) in gross profit for the one-year period ended February 28, 2019. Not only is that an eye-popping number, it’s a big improvement over the year before, 51.6 percent better than the 8.827 billion yen in profits for the period that ended in February 2018.

What’s most impressive of all, though, only becomes apparent if you go back further and see that in the period ended February 2014, the Pokémon Company posted profit of only about one billion yen. In other words, in just five years the Pokémon Company’s profits have grown by over 1,200 percent!

▼ Pikachu can afford to buy all the ketchup he wants.

So what’s behind the boom? We can’t say for sure without taking a more thorough look through the Pokémon Company’s books, but there are two pieces of data that it’s hard to think are a mere coincidence. While the Pokémon Company is undoubtedly feeling pretty good about its 13.389 billion yen of profits for the most recent period, even that’s not as much as it reported in 2017, when it raked in 15.900 billion yen of profit, despite failing to crack even one billion yen the year before.

But remember, the Pokémon Company’s accounting year runs from March to February, meaning that it actually did most of the earning of the 15.900 billion yen reported in February 2017 during 2016, which is when Pokémon GO came out. The phenomenally successful mobile game expanded the Pokémon video game franchise’s potential user base from “anyone who has whatever Nintendo’s currently latest handheld system and 50 bucks to spare” into “anyone who has a smartphone and thinks Pokémon are cute.” That second demographic is much, much bigger than the first, and while Pokémon GO might be a free-to-play game, like all games of that type it’s brimming with possible microtransactions, with a portion of those purchase prices flowing right into the Pokémon Company’s coffers.

With Pokémon GO periodically updating with new content to bring in new players and coax back lapsed ones, a critically and commercial successful live-action adaptation in the Detective Pikachu, and new mainline games on the way this fall in the form of Pokémon Sword and Shield, it’s likely the Pokémon Company is on its way to another year of earnings as big as the giant-sized Pokémon that inhabit its newest games. But hey, they’re giving fans what they want, and it’s not like being flush with cash has made them forget about being generous either.

Sources: Social Game Info via Pokémon Memo via Otakomu
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