Hello Master Malstrom,
I’ll give you my opinion on the matter. It will be anecdotal, but hopefully that can help to steer you towards a more objective view on the sales.
Pokemon Sun & Moon is like getting a true, off the walls Super Mario Bros 5 right after the last two Mario games were Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros.
The core game is the same, but lore has massively expanded. From a seasoned players perspective, we’re learning more about how the general world works and are being treated to the fruit of play history. The protagonists from previous games return as true opponents in the post game/near post game (not just some fantasy match). Everything stale has been tossed out and entirely new constructs have been brought in. They don’t destroy the DNA of the experience like Samus’s maternal instincts or wawa low production values in Mario games.
Gamefreak does what Nintendon’t for their games.
To a new player, the games are still the same course Pokemon game that they heard about but the structure and progression are not similar to anything that they may have heard of before. There is plenty of depth and the game continues to evolve as a mmorpg where that ‘o’ means offline and online. You don’t get a huge, shared world online like in WoW, but you do get plenty of player competition and interaction online. The social factor is mostly in person, but again we do have online message boards. Most mmos tackle player coordination and interaction via their in-game systems. They decide heavy handedly what sanctioned and normal content and interactions will be via in-game mechanisms and designs. Pokemon is contradictory in that you can only battle and trade, but that your interactions are highly free form because your communication is meant to take place almost completely outside of the game. Everyone has their own private game world, but you’re connected easily in person. I have never played a game that’s more social engaging than Pokemon. It makes for a great icebreaker. There are so many people of both genders and all races, sizes and walks of life. You never know who will be a Pokemon player, it’s pretty exciting and fun.
As readers know, I do not play Pokemon so I have no idea what is going on in that Pokemon world. I accept the emailer’s word as good.