“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.
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?