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On the troubling state of the Pokemon franchise

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Posted (edited)

I'm honestly far more concerned that they think that people have fancy smartphones. Talk about living in a bubble. theydonothing;  They seem to be obsessed with free smartphone games instead...

 

 


 

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The man in charge of all things Pokémon says he specifically warned Nintendo about its latest console, the outrageously popular Nintendo Switch. He thought it was going to be a failure.

 

"I told Nintendo that Switch wouldn't be a success before it went on sale, because I thought that in the age of the smartphone no one would carry around a game console," Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of The Pokémon Company told Bloomberg in a recent interview. "It's obvious I was wrong."

 

Though wrong in the long-term, Ishihara held a view that many did before Nintendo's Switch launched back in March. How could Nintendo compete with free smartphone games? Who would buy a $300 portable game console when there's already a supercomputer in your pocket with a super high-definition screen?

 

 

 

 

Only not all smartphones are alike. Some can hardly run anything at all.

Edited by Doc Brown

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Posted (edited)

There is a pretty sizable market out there for people with high end smartphones that could run fairly complex games so it's not exactly out of the ordinary. There was a lot of this kind of chatter going on as mobile gaming took off in Japan with CEOs, like Ishihara, wondering how traditional gaming would fare with the rise of mobile as a viable delivery platform for gaming. I mean, a lot of this was heard even as the 3DS first started making waves and was a big point of contention when the 3DS struggled in its early years and is often used as a bulletpoint by people explaining why the 3DS, having done well enough, had total sales that were well below the Nintendo DS.  There have even been budget mid range smartphones released in the past few years that could run some of those games as well with little to no problem.  Technically, he's not wrong to question things back then but the problem was leaving his thoughts out there as a general assumption of the market, something that he admits he was wrong about (and continued to be proven wrong about in the two years since the article was written) when it came to the Switch.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with Ishihara at all and we've seen the market react similarly.  But at the end of the day traditional Pokemon software continued to be produced for Nintendo's hardware while other kinds of Pokemon software were being produced for mobile devices.  Both types have been able to succeed on their own offerings independent of one another.  If this article is reflective of anything it's how Ishihara's thinking was challenged years ago as the Switch saw and continued to see success and he has admitted as much. 

Edited by Kezay

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1 hour ago, Kezay said:

There is a pretty sizable market out there for people with high end smartphones that could run fairly complex games so it's not exactly out of the ordinary. There was a lot of this kind of chatter going on as mobile gaming took off in Japan with CEOs, like Ishihara, wondering how traditional gaming would fare with the rise of mobile as a viable delivery platform for gaming. I mean, a lot of this was heard even as the 3DS first started making waves and was a big point of contention when the 3DS struggled in its early years and is often used as a bulletpoint by people explaining why the 3DS, having done well enough, had total sales that were well below the Nintendo DS.  There have even been budget mid range smartphones released in the past few years that could run some of those games as well with little to no problem.  Technically, he's not wrong to question things back then but the problem was leaving his thoughts out there as a general assumption of the market, something that he admits he was wrong about (and continued to be proven wrong about in the two years since the article was written) when it came to the Switch.

 

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with Ishihara at all and we've seen the market react similarly.  But at the end of the day traditional Pokemon software continued to be produced for Nintendo's hardware while other kinds of Pokemon software were being produced for mobile devices.  Both types have been able to succeed on their own offerings independent of one another.  If this article is reflective of anything it's how Ishihara's thinking was challenged years ago as the Switch saw and continued to see success and he has admitted as much. 

And those are the more well off (not that all of them are that, but it's the best term I can think of), who can afford those ones. To think that everyone has the same thing (going from what he said), is overlooking the fact that they'd be locking out a lot of people.

 

Exactly. Yep... but it seems as if they want it to cross over. Hence Go and Let's Go, Pokémon Pass and Pokémon Sleep. Betting it'll affect things accordingly, as more and more people won't be able to take part.

Edited by Doc Brown

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2 hours ago, Doc Brown said:

I'm honestly far more concerned that they think that people have fancy smartphones. Talk about living in a bubble. theydonothing;  They seem to be obsessed with free smartphone games instead...

 

 

Only not all smartphones are alike. Some can hardly run anything at all.

 

Couldn't one make the exact same argument that not everyone has a gaming console? Or even more specifically that not all gaming consoles are alike and capable of running a Switch-exclusive game? The fact is, the smartphone gaming market is lucrative thanks to having a massive install base—there are simply far more gaming-capable smartphones out there than Switches. I'm speaking strictly from a numbers/broad business perspective though, not necessarily specific business strategy (obviously not every game released on smartphones is successful).

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5 minutes ago, Eliwood8 said:

 

Couldn't one make the exact same argument that not everyone has a gaming console? Or even more specifically that not all gaming consoles are alike and capable of running a Switch-exclusive game? The fact is, the smartphone gaming market is lucrative thanks to having a massive install base—there are simply far more gaming-capable smartphones out there than Switches. I'm speaking strictly from a numbers/broad business perspective though, not necessarily specific business strategy (obviously not every game released on smartphones is successful).

Fair enough. But honestly... take a look at some of the pricing of said phones. Some of them are near $1000. A console is around half that. Some people can save up for the latter and maybe can save up for a phone, but a lot of people end up getting less expensive ones to save on cost. Maybe, but then people have to keep on buying them every few years or so once their phones become 'obsolete'. That's what grinds my gears the most. People spend more money keeping up with phones, just so they can keep up gaming. I'd be fine if it were more of a 10 year thing, but as it is... it seems like it's more like every 3-5 years.

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8 hours ago, Doc Brown said:

And those are the more well off (not that all of them are that, but it's the best term I can think of), who can afford those ones. To think that everyone has the same thing (going from what he said), is overlooking the fact that they'd be locking out a lot of people.

 

Exactly. Yep... but it seems as if they want it to cross over. Hence Go and Let's Go, Pokémon Pass and Pokémon Sleep. Betting it'll affect things accordingly, as more and more people won't be able to take part.

Well, let me put it like this. The only number I can find as to the number of activated Smartphones in the world hovers around 3.3 billion as of 2018.  A massive number, but without doing a lot more digging I couldn't tell you how that breaks down in terms of low, mid and high range phones or what they're capable of.  But needless to say that huge number means there are a huge variety of phones out there at different levels so, sure, there are many people who will be locked out of some games but also many who would not.  I don't think Ishihara is assuming that everyone is at the same level though with what he's saying especially since as far as I know all offerings of Pokemon on mobile don't require a high end phone to run well to begin with.  For instance, I'm not a fan of mobile gaming at all, the only one I play consistently being Pokemon GO and I run that on my three year old Moto G4 with no problem.  The phone cost me just under $250 back in 2016 and if you're able to find it now you can get it new for less than $100 if you shop around.

 

Certainly, people will be locked out, but unless they make a game that specifically targets higher spec mobile devices there is an incredibly wide range of mobile hardware that is capable of running their software.  Like many CEO's Ishihara was seeing the ubiquity of smartphones as the next great frontier for gaming and likely plays a big part in TPC's development of more Pokemon applications for mobile but it hasn't caused them to shy away from continuing to see more traditional Pokemon adventures on Nintendo hardware.

 

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1 minute ago, Kezay said:

Well, let me put it like this. The only number I can find as to the number of activated Smartphones in the world hovers around 3.3 billion as of 2018.  A massive number, but without doing a lot more digging I couldn't tell you how that breaks down in terms of low, mid and high range phones or what they're capable of.  But needless to say that huge number means there are a huge variety of phones out there at different levels so, sure, there are many people who will be locked out of some games but also many who would not.  I don't think Ishihara is assuming that everyone is at the same level though with what he's saying especially since as far as I know all offerings of Pokemon on mobile don't require a high end phone to run well to begin with.  For instance, I'm not a fan of mobile gaming at all, the only one I play consistently being Pokemon GO and I run that on my three year old Moto G4 with no problem.  The phone cost me just under $250 back in 2016 and if you're able to find it now you can get it new for less than $100 if you shop around.

 

Certainly, people will be locked out, but unless they make a game that specifically targets higher spec mobile devices there is an incredibly wide range of mobile hardware that is capable of running their software.  Like many CEO's Ishihara was seeing the ubiquity of smartphones as the next great frontier for gaming and likely plays a big part in TPC's development of more Pokemon applications for mobile but it hasn't caused them to shy away from continuing to see more traditional Pokemon adventures on Nintendo hardware.

 

Fair enough. But as it gets upgraded more and more do get locked out. Look at Android... by July, it's only supporting Android 5 or above. So eventually, people on the lower end get locked out. And Niantic, etc., seems to think that most people can go out and instantly upgrade to a new phone. Sure some can, but others are unable to do so (either at all, or at least not right away). 

 

Maybe, but for anyone with a smaller phone... it'll make it harder to play any of the apps. Pass for example runs using the phone's memory, it's unable to be moved to an SD card. So if there any updates, anyone with a smaller phone will be out of luck. I'm hoping that Home doesn't follow that path. I'm hoping it's like GO and like Fire Emblem Heroes, where it can be moved to an SD card.

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Clicking the link now leads to a 500 error, but I kept a tab open before it went down:

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A Message for Pokémon Video Game Fans

Please see below for a message from Mr. Junichi Masuda of GAME FREAK, the producer of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.


 

ファンのみなさん、いつもポケモンを大切に思ってくれて、本当にありがとうございます。先日、「ポケットモンスター ソード・シールド」に一部のポケモンを連れて行けないことを発表しました。みなさんの様々なメッセージや意見を読み、みなさんのポケモンに対する愛を、改めて深く感じました。

みなさんと同じように、私たちもポケモンに対する愛を持っています。みなさんと同じようにポケモン1匹1匹はとても大切だと考えています。私自身はずっと「ポケットモンスターシリーズ」の開発を行ってきましたので、本当に難しい決断でした。改めて伝えたいと思いますが、ソード・シールドに登場しなかったポケモンがいるとしても、その先のソフトに今後も登場しないわけではありません。

ポケモンの世界は今後も広がっていきます。ガラル地方には、初めて出会うポケモン、見知らぬトレーナーとのバトル、そして新しい冒険が待っています。みなさんに喜んでいただけるよう、心を込めて制作に取り組んでいますので、楽しみにお待ちいただければと思います。

2019.6.28 増田順一



 

Thank you to all of our fans for caring so deeply about Pokémon. Recently, I shared the news that some Pokémon cannot be transferred to Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. I've read all your comments and appreciate your love and passion for Pokémon.

Just like all of you, we are passionate about Pokémon and each and every one of them is very important to us. After so many years of developing the Pokémon video games, this was a very difficult decision for me. I'd like to make one thing clear: even if a specific Pokémon is not available in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, that does not mean it will not appear in future games.

The world of Pokémon continues to evolve. The Galar region offers new Pokémon to encounter, Trainers to battle, and adventures to embark on. We are pouring our hearts into these games, and we hope you will look forward to joining us on this new journey.

June 28, 2019

Junichi Masuda

 

tl;dr: Masuda knows that the fans are pissed, but instead of acknowledging the well-founded criticisms, he offers the half-assed solution of "wait until we decide to put your favorite Pokemon into the regional Dex of gen 9 or beyond". 

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Posted (edited)

That's... A really bad response.

 

If they're expecting people to pay for Pokémon Home, being clear about whether or not they plan to include the entire Pokedex in future titles is really important. This comes across as a very wishy-washy way of saying there's no plans :/

 

Edit: rereading it, that's unfortunately the interpretation I'm taking--GameFreak has no plans, at present, to make the entire Pokedex avaliable in future titles. If so, then wtf does Pokemon Home allow you to import all mons

 

Edited by Ares

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slowpoke;

Defense noted.

 

I thought Masuda was supposedly "stepping down" anyway? Yet he seems to be taking as much of the piss as he can if this is his sendoff...

 

yoda.jpg

 

edit: Even Serebii regurgitating what's being said in response.

 

 

Edited by Ridley Prime

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Unless the plan was to change course from what they stated during E3 it would have been better to just not say anything. Unless he planned to suggest a change then no matter how well intentioned his words he would be in a darned if you do, darned if you don't situation insofar as actually providing a response to the outcry over everything. All this is going to do is prolong the smoldering embers of discontent for another week or so.

Edited by Kezay

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3 minutes ago, DranSeasona said:

I don’t think this response should surprise anyone. But again money talks... that’s the only way they’d change course now.

Agreed. Exactly.

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Just to clarify, the information in that link was from a little while ago since there was talk about Game Freak wanting to establish new game ideas for the studio.  That initiative is the Gear Project name that they keep bringing up in the article and it's from this program that non-Pokemon game ideas like Town, and in the past, Harmoknight came from.  For something of a comparison think about the "Garage" program Nintendo had a few years back which is what helped spawn Splatoon and I think ARMS is credited for coming from that as well. But it gives them a second team to further explore game production outside of Pokemon since they've always had a dedicated development structure specifically for that series.  But allowing their teams to work on other projects in different levels of capacity they're able to learn things elsewhere, outside of the environment developing for Pokemon and being able to use what they've learned both on new projects as well as with Pokemon itself.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Kezay said:

Just to clarify, the information in that link was from a little while ago since there was talk about Game Freak wanting to establish new game ideas for the studio.  That initiative is the Gear Project name that they keep bringing up in the article and it's from this program that non-Pokemon game ideas like Town, and in the past, Harmoknight came from.  For something of a comparison think about the "Garage" program Nintendo had a few years back which is what helped spawn Splatoon and I think ARMS is credited for coming from that as well. But it gives them a second team to further explore game production outside of Pokemon since they've always had a dedicated development structure specifically for that series.  But allowing their teams to work on other projects in different levels of capacity they're able to learn things elsewhere, outside of the environment developing for Pokemon and being able to use what they've learned both on new projects as well as with Pokemon itself.

 

 

Thanks for doing so.  And that's great, when there's more time to do it. As it is now, Sword/Shield just seem to lack in terms of spirit and it's sad to see  :(.

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10 minutes ago, Doc Brown said:

Thanks for doing so.  And that's great, when there's more time to do it. As it is now, Sword/Shield just seem to lack in terms of spirit and it's sad to see  :(.

It's not really a matter of having more time to do so because they've been doing this well before Sword/Shield (if I'm understanding that portion of your statement, correct me if I'm wrong).  The Harmoknight game that I mentioned?  That released in 2012.  I think it's only within the past couple of years that we've seen any public mention of their being a proper name for the program.

Edited by Kezay

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13 minutes ago, Kezay said:

It's not really a matter of having more time to do so because they've been doing this well before Sword/Shield (if I'm understanding that portion of your statement, correct me if I'm wrong).  The Harmoknight game that I mentioned?  That released in 2012.  I think it's only within the past couple of years that we've seen any public mention of their being a proper name for the program.

Wow. That's really not good. So maybe it's more of being burnt out and maybe a time management issue there. 

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It's never good to hear a doubling down statement after all the valid criticism that has come up against Sword/Shield. I'm not sure why Masuda even bothered to respond. This situation has been eye opening for me since it appears that having all Pokemon in the previous 3DS generations was excusing Game Freak on aspects of quality that are now being criticized as they should. The issue of presentation, animations and the Wild Area's execution, is my current turn off from these games. The only way any change will occur is if Sword and Shield sell under expectation as it's clear that Game Freak will be apathetic towards the criticism until it impacts sells. 

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