Pokemon Black and White has only been out for a few days and there is already a download even for the game.
Actually, the download event was announced BEFORE Black and White came out and information about the event is in the box with the game.
From March 6th through April 10th you will be able to download a special item via Nintendo WiFi that will unlock an encounter with the Pokemon Victini.
This is the only way to unlock the encounter to let you capture this new Pokemon.
Given how far in advance Nintendo started announcing this download event (the picture above is from an email I received on February 3rd), this was obviously part of the campaign to get people to buy Pokemon Black and White as close to launch day as possible.
But Pokemon is not an MMORPG but a console game, and the success or failure of a console game is often determined by those first day, first week, first month sales. There is no ongoing subscription revenue stream. They have to sell boxes. And in something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you sell early on, the more you tend to sell over all. So day one sales matter to them. A lot.
GameFreak, which is the developer who actually makes the Pokemon games, has been on a pace to release a new… or revamped… Pokemon game every year in a very predictable pattern. (Next spring there should be a roll-up version of Pokemon Black and White. What will they call it? Pokemon Gray?)
Anyway, last year’s game no longer matters. While both Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver each made the top 10 list of console games sold last year (combined they were in 3rd place by one report I read) that is all last year’s news. Now they have to sell the new game.
And so we have this promotion. Buy the game NOW or you won’t have access to one of the new Pokemon! The console market drives the developer’s behavior which, in turn leads them to try to incent us to behave in the way that is optimum for them.
Fortunately for them… and for me I suppose… I am on board with their plan.
As for the actual download, remember that this is NOT an in-store event.
To download the Liberty Pass which will open up the Victini encounter you must access Nintendo Wifi via a wireless connection to the internet. How to connect to Nintendo Wifi is covered in the game instruction booklet.
Full details on the event are available at the Pokemon Black and White web site.
Remember, you have only until April 10th to get this download.
(And does Victini sound like a special cocktail from Trader Vic’s to anybody else?)