Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 3, 2016

Email: Pokemon Company Strategy


Some interesting things are appearing on the horizon for pokemon. Pokemon Go seems very well suited to Nintendo’s mobile strategy of marketing IP — the game by nature encourages people to go outside, and could result in people interacting at “pokemon spots”. I consider it fertile ground for a “social phenomenon”, especially so since as a f2p app the barrier to entry is literally the seconds it takes to download the app on your phone.

An interesting change of pace is Pokemon Go’s trailer — unlike every other pokemon commercial since the dawn of time, it shows young adults playing, a stark contrast to the 8 year olds most commonly associated with the brand. This could reflect a response to the sales performance of the 2 most recent main series releases (XY and ORAS), which have been reported to sell mostly among the college student age demographic (or, those that were in sub-10 age demographic when pokemon first released). Acknowledging the young adult age group could bring back some of the customers it’s lost (i anecdotally, know of people who still adore older pokemon games but aren’t quite interested enough in new ones), and could even work to undo the notion that pokemon is for children to the exclusion of adults. In the coming years, we could also start to see parents encouraging their children to play pokemon in great numbers.

Doubt I had earlier, that Pokemon Go’s trailer was influenced by Niantic, has been relieved by The Pokemon Company (TPC)’s announcements of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow on the virtual console. I thought the announcement of those games was odd (after all, a main series pokemon game comes every year or year and a half, and with it a host of quality of life improvements), but alongside announcements of re-releasing the original TCG pack, it seems that TPC plans on really doubling down on the nostalgia angle.

I tried to demonstrate above that TPC is trying to reinvigorate the brand. However, one thing that confuses me is the timing relative to their main series. Main series pokemon games have a pattern — Paired flagship titles such as Red and Blue or Gold and Silver herald the start of a new generation. Sometimes, a pair of remakes are released (such as ORAS in november 2014). And EVERY GENERATION, a tertiary version to the starting gen is released (Yellow to Red and Blue. Emerald to Ruby and Sapphire) Between being mentioned in the non-game arm of pokemon, some hidden data in the pokemon bank app for 3ds, and the aforementioned pattern of ending a generation with a tertiary version, the unannounced Pokemon Z is expected to appear very soon. What confuses me here is that if TPC was trying to kickstart a new generation of Pokemon Mania, it would make more sense to have a new Generation release in the midst of it all.


And that’s all the time we have for Pokemon news. Come back next year for more Pokemon news!

(Sorry, I still don’t get Pokemon. It seems if you didn’t get into it as a kid, you don’t get into it!)



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