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Quote of the Day – No, You Gotta CATCH Them All! October 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Nintendo, Pokemon.
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“When it comes to business, the one thing I’ve always said ‘no!’ to is ‘the act of buying Pokémon with money,’” says Sugimori. “That is something that has been said since the days [Satoshi] Tajiri was completely involved in everything.”

-Ken Sugimori, Art Director for Pokemon, on Pokemon DLC

In a world where we have things like Skylanders, it is interesting to hear from a company that has a line they won’t cross.

Granted, it isn’t like Nintendo doesn’t exploit the Pokemon franchise.  There are the original GameBoy role playing games, the hooked-in add-on games like Pokemon Ranch and Pokemon Battle Revolution, the decent spin-off games such as the Rogue inspired Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, the dubious (in my opinion) spin-offs like Pokemon Snap or Pokemon Ranger, there is the collectible trading card game with its various sponsored tournaments, the guest appearances by Pikachu and others in games like Super Smash Bros., and then the whole television series which is now past the 800 episode mark, with 16 full length movies along with some short subjects in there as well.

Nintendo clearly grasped Miltank by the udders and commenced to make the cash flow with as much vigor as they could manage.

Yes Miltank is a cow Pokemon

Yes, Miltank is a cow Pokemon

But there is a limit.  Selling you a Pokemon directly would potentially “ruin the world view” set in the game.  You can catch them in game or pick them up by participating in special events, but going for outright Pokemon sales might damage the brand.

And given how lucrative the Pokemon franchise is, protecting the brand certainly has to be a high priority.  The latest versions of the game, Pokemon X and Y, look to be on track for best seller status, like so many versions before them.

Then again, the amount of 100 Yen (about one dollar) came up a few times during the interview.  Would you buy a Pokemon for a buck?

What if it was the last one you needed to complete the National Pokedex?

Comments»

1. Rohan - October 23, 2013

In my opinion, this is another example of the idea that money is not a substitute for time.

Pokemon relies on time to create engagement with the product. I think that holding the line on purchasing pokemon is the right call.

2. Dashiell Barlow - October 23, 2013

I agree with Rohan, but there’s more to it.

Whilst I’m not ancient, not yet, (I’ve only got a little over a decade and a half gaming) I know that there are two ideas that will break my experience: being asked to buy things to continue the story I thought I’d bought, or being asked to buy something necessary. Microtransactions, as it were, or really transactions in general.

Mind you, your average DLC is one perfectly thing, assuming the game I bought in the first place has a decently complete story and I’m not shelling out to finish the story. Adding secondary features or further secondary content (Hearthfire and the Borderlands 2 DLCs come to mind) is a great use for DLC. These are not what I’m talking about.

But being told I can’t get this thing that logically should be in the game (Horse armor, anyone?) To buy a Pokemon? No. A game that I paid for in the first place I should never have to pay money to complete. I should never have to pay money for an “advantage” either; that just feels like I’m the Miltank in your metaphor, AGN. It makes me feel like buying the game wasn’t enough to have the proper experience, it leaves me feeling used and misled.

And that’s the main thing: If, after I buy a game, I need to buy something more, I feel used. If I need to buy something multiple times, it’s much, much worse.

DLC should be a choice. “Did this experience (the main game) feel complete and compelling to the point I want to spend more money on more content?” is the question that you should be asking.

If Nintendo offered me the ability to buy a new area in a pokemon game, perhaps a challenge island or something, that’d be really cool, so long as the price made sense for the amount of content. If Nintendo said, “Hey, here’s this pokemon that you need to beat the game, and you can’t get it except by buying it.” I’d be upset. If they said, “Hey, here’s this rare pokemon that you can save yourself time by buying outright,” well, I’d still be upset, honestly.

3. Asmiroth - October 23, 2013

I agree with Rohan that money is not a substitute for time, if the game has a quality design in terms of progress. Pokemon isn’t about having a pokemon, it’s all about collecting. There’s no game left once you have them all.

4. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 24, 2013

@Asmiroth – Speaking as somebody who caught them all… back when 493 was the magic number… I agree that having been able to cop out at, say, somewhere in the 470s when the going was getting really tough, would have made the achievement less satisfying. Finishing the National Pokedex and then getting the extras was the highlight of the game for me.

But the National Pokedex only gets you your Bronze trainer card, the one with two stars. To get the Silver, Gold, or Black cards there is a lot more to do.

I just didn’t have that in me.

5. SynCaine - October 24, 2013

Haha, I was going to post about that LotRO month-long XP boost, but then like everything else related to LotRO, I just didn’t bother.

Maybe Turbine reads this blog and they have identified the main issue being stuck at the lower levels?


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