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Credit where credit’s due: Nearly two decades since the franchise debuted, Pokémon still has momentum. The Pokémon Company, a subsidiary of Nintendo, has put out 47 Pokémon games in the past 18 years, but the most recent iteration — Pokémon X and Y — moved a whopping 12 million copies as of April 2014.

It’s only natural, then, that Pokémon will lead Nintendo’s first foray into the App Store, with a videogame based on the Pokémon Trading Card Game coming to the iPad later this year. That’s a fairly big deal, since the company has long resisted mobile, but has also turned in three consecutive annual losses, the first three since 1981.

Bringing the videogame, based on the physical card game of the same name originally created published in the U.S. by Wizards of the Coast, to mobile also makes some sense. Activision Blizzard, which is also pushing into mobile, found a hit earlier this year with Hearthstone, a virtual-only trading card game starring Blizzard characters. Other digital card games based on franchises like Adventure Time and Star Wars have charted well in downloads and revenue.

That’s two points in the Pokémon TCG videogame’s favor: It has a built-in audience, and others have proven that the genre can work on iPad.

It’s also a little underwhelming.

If you want to see the new game, you can basically play it right now. A downloadable PC and Mac version has been available for years, and its mission is clear: To buttress the now-Nintendo-published physical card game, much as Wizards of the Coast uses videogames based on its Magic: The Gathering card game to remind players that hey, Magic: The Gathering is still around.

Putting that game on mobile will expose it to a potentially much bigger audience, but it’s not really the sort of Nintendo experience some fans have been waiting for. The creative efforts that serve its desire to be different are still clearly focused on its troubled home console, the Wii U, and its bundled touchscreen controller.

If this is more than a one-off fling with mobile and the company is really changing its tune on the App Store, it had better act fast. A game “inspired” by the original Pokémon games, Micromon, took over the app charts last week and is still a top-50 downloaded title on iPhone and iPad.


That's just it, though; this doesn't need to, and should not ever, go beyond this tiny little "safe bet" for mobiles.

The fact that a knock-off called Micromon could knock an official tcg app from Nintendo off the top of the chart so quickly should be all the evidence people need that going mobile wouldn't prove lucrative for Nintendo; their stuff would just get buried too quickly to make them sustainable profit in that field.

Nintendo's games aren't quickly-done shovelware games that can be quickly pumped out for short-term profit.

Nintendo's real fans, I.E., the ones that care about Nintendo's long-term health, know that Nintendo's best bet for survival is to keep its main line entries in its most popular series exclusive to its own consoles, and away from mobile stores.

Only idiots like Michael Pachter think that Nintendo could actually survive on phones for any decent length of time.


Nintendo has been making card games for 125 years, i love how the tech world wants them to release their most important flagship games on Apple/Google platforms like Microsoft did with their (becoming slowly irrelevant) office software.

Ok fine, everyone has an Android or iOS device but people are still buying 3DS handhelds. This shows that people don't mind paying for hardware if they want Mario or Zelda games. If Nintendo releases their flagship franchises on iOS/Android they will become another Sega. I can see them going Handheld only in the future but something that can stream to a big screen if people want to play on the couch.

This will also remedy their resource problem in having to split their developers in making games for 2 consoles. Nintendo please don't listen to tech bloggers.


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