Tag Archives: Pokemon Sword and Shield

A Nintendo Switch Lite

I had a whole post brewing in the back of my head for this week about the Nintendo Switch.

That was largely driven by my daughter, who got one for Christmas.  She, like myself, had been somewhat blasé on the console.  But when Nintendo announced Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the device, she changed her mind.  Leaving aside Pokemon, Animal Crossing was probably her favorite title on the DS series.

So she asked for a Switch Lite, the more portable variation of the Switch Console, and found one under the Christmas tree back in December.

However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons wasn’t out yet.  It is still two weeks away even as this post goes live.  So, to give her something to do I threw in a copy of Pokemon Shield, the latest of the core Pokemon RPG titles, which launched back in November.

The core RPG line continues

She has quite enjoyed the game and has told me that it is a solid title within the framework of the core RPG series. (I think the fact that her boyfriend also got a copy and that he had never played a Pokemon title before helped with her enjoyment.)  She finished the main story and I have been bugging her to crank out 500 words for me about it to post here, because I haven’t played it.

But her response has been such that I was going to write up a post committing to the idea and would buy a Switch Lite myself if Nintendo announced that the next core RPG title ended up being a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.  I was hoping for that on the DS line, it being the oldest titles yet to be remade, and I was deeply disappointed when Nintendo and GameFreak abandoned the 3DS before they got there.

And then my wife and daughter got me a Switch Lite for my birthday this past weekend and of course I had to go buy a copy of Pokemon Sword to have something to play on it.

My new Switch Lite

Also pictured, a Kirkland Mister Meeseeks keychain and a vintage MAD Magazine from 1969, both from my daughter.

So now I am all-in with Pokemon on the Switch I guess.

The hardware is nice.  The unit is light, though it does not feel as solid as any of the DS/3DS units we have owned.  I sort of miss the second screen and the built-in stylus of the old hardware as well.  But the screen on the Switch Lite is very good, though it isn’t big enough to keep me from having to wear my reading glasses when I use it.  And it is a touch screen and works with a couple of the third party styluses that I keep around for pecking out anything of length on my iPhone as my big hands and sausage-like fingers are not ideal for precision clicking.  So I have that going for me.

Possibly best of all, the Switch has a button on the front, recessed to you don’t click it by accident, that allows you to take screen shots.  Pokemon Sword screen shots mean Pokemon Sword posts… at least once I get an SD card for the Switch.  So expect that.

And, finally, there is Pokemon Home, the Switch platform replacement for Pokemon Bank.  I have a bunch of Pokemon in Pokemon Bank, including a large collection of legendaries.  All of those can make a one-way journey to Pokemon Home, from which they can be accessed in Pokemon Sword & Shield.  So I am going to have to work on getting Pokemon copied over.  Pokemon Bank is/was a subscription servers (though it was only $5.00 a year), but they’ve given lapsed returning users like myself a five day free access period.  We’ll see what I can get copied over.

I have Pokemon that came from earlier generations (I played Pokemon Emerald and Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen on the DS Lite, as it had a GameBoy Advance cartridge slot) that have gone through a variety of copy and transfer processes just to get to Pokemon Bank.  Nintendo is pretty conscientious about that, even if it is sometimes like jumping through hoops. (There is even a rumor of Pokemon Go connectivity.)  So I am not going to leave anybody behind if I do not have to.

On the DS/3DS front, as expected, all of the back end services have been shut down.  I am not sure how Nintendo can still sell Pokemon games on the 3DS platform now that a lot of the promised functionality has been cut off, but whatever.  Time to abandon that ship I guess.

So there we are.  On to the Pokemon trail yet again.  I still want the remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl.  But I can bide my time until then.

SuperData Shows Fornite Falling but Driving F2P on Consoles Still

SuperData Research is out with their November digital revenue chart.

SuperData Research Top 10 – November 2019

On the PC end of the chart, last month’s top five, including WoW in fifth spot, remained in place.  The new Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, came in at sixth place as EA went against type and made a single player, non-cash shop, good Star Wars title.  The big surprise on the PC side was the disappearance of Fortnite as its star continues to descend.

In the console column, Nintendo and Pokemon ruled the month as Pokemon Sword and Shield rose to the top of the chart.  Nintendo still depends much more heavily on the physical retail channel than its competitors, so topping the digital chart is a feat for them.  Call of Duty held on in second place while Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order had its debut in third position.  Fortnite hung on for console and, as noted below, drives the F2P revenue market there, but continues to slip.

And on the mobile side the top five just changed positions a bit from last month, with Candy Crush Saga going up a spot and Pokemon Go dropping down on.

Once again, we can compare the SuperData chart with NPD’s video game sales data from November in order to get some sort of sense of the market.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  3. Pokemon Sword*
  4. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield Double Pack*
  5. Pokemon Shield*
  6. Madden NFL 20
  7. Death Stranding
  8. NBA 2K20
  9. Need for Speed: Heat
  10. Luigi’s Mansion 3*

* Digital sales not included

I was a bit bemused that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield wasn’t at the top of the list until I realized that NPD broke it out into three different SKUs for the list.  While the numbers are not available, it seems that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield did very well in retail if it claimed three spots on the chart without digital sales being included.  You can see why I moan about the removal of Pokemon from the 3DS killed that console.  Pokemon sells.

NPD didn’t get their Speed Run newsletter out this month, so I do not have anything to add there.

But if you are in need of some more numbers, or want some UK sales data, Gamesindustry.biz did a summary of the 2019 UK video games market with plenty of graphs.  I’ll tease that with their first graph, which covers global sales for 2019 (as estimated with data available in October of 2019).

GamesIndustry.biz 2019 Global Revenue Chart

Other items from the SuperData update:

  • Consumers spent $9.5 billion digitally across all games in November. Combined spending across console, PC and mobile was up 5% compared to the same month last year thanks to a 20% year-over-year increase in mobile spending, which represented 59%, or $5.58 billion of all worldwide revenue.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has the best-selling console digital launch in franchise history. The latest installment in the series outsold its 2017 predecessor (Star Wars Battlefront II) by more than 2 to 1, selling 2.14 million digital units in November alone. The title’s first-month success is partially attributable to increased consumer awareness of the franchise (The Mandalorian, The Rise of Skywalker) and a series return to single-player only gameplay.  
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC finds meek interest on Epic Games Store. Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 408K units as a first-month exclusive on the Epic Games Store, paling in comparison to other exclusive launches like Borderlands 3, which sold 1.78 million units in its debut month.
  • The free-to-play console segment continues to decline, drops 41% compared to the same month last year. Global spending in free-to-play console games shrank to $84.7 million in November, which largely comes from Fortnite ongoing descent after a record-breaking year in 2018. Despite waning consumer interest,  Fortnite remains the primary market mover for the free-to-play console segment, generating 51% of its year-to-date revenue in 2019.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield cruises past Link’s Awakening to become the top-selling Nintendo title in 2019. Pokémon Sword and Shield sold 2.72M units in its first month, beating out other first-party exclusives like Luigi’s Mansion 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to lead the charge for Nintendo this holiday season.

 

Friday Bullet Points About Aether Wars, Stadia, and Other Things

It is Friday and, as often happens, I have a few items which I want to note but which I do not really want to create whole blog posts about.

  • Aether Wars

Tomorrow is the day, the time for the big attempt at the world record for most players together in an online battle… or so CCP and Hadean keep telling me.  They have had a count down all week on Twitter.  But it is tomorrow, Sat 23 Nov 2019 at 20:00 UTC.

Aether Wars Tech Demo

As I mentioned in my previous post, the client is available on Steam.  It is a quick and easy download and you don’t have to register or sign up or anything, just launch the game when the time for the event comes up.  The event itself has not changed much since the summer version, which I wrote about here.

See you there tomorrow?  What if I told you there was a Steam achievement for joining it?  Because there is.

You could also win an all expenses paid trip to Fanfest 2020 in Iceland by just showing up, but I am betting the achievement will have more influence on who plays.

  • Stadia Launches

Google’s cloud gaming service, Google Stadia, went live this week.  Reports were that the phone app required to configure the service and buy games was downloaded 175,000 times, which doesn’t exactly put the launch into the realm of unqualified successes.  However, the launch was only for people who pre-ordered the $129 Chromecast Ultra package.  Numbers will no doubt go up when the free version is released next year, but the press has not been kind to it and data usage could still be a problem for some.

Like some others, I don’t really get why Stadia is even worth considering relative to any of the possible alternatives, which might just mean I am not the target audience.  Still, there was an excellent long Twitter thread comparing Stadia to a similar product design from the past that stirred up my own lingering feeling that Google was doing this more because they can than because they believed there was a market.

But the real pessimists have started a countdown clock to Stadia’s expected demise, a number reached based on the average life of Google products.  And they do have a point.

  • Minecraft Plans

I was going to mention this previously… and then forgot.  Such is my life.  But back at Minecon it was announced that the next update for Minecraft will focus on the Nether, adding new biomes and structures and mobs.  There are some basic details here  However, if you put a bed down in the Nether and try to sleep in it, it will still explode.

As usual, the update will only affect new worlds or areas explored after the update drops.

  • Pokemon Sword & Shield Sells Big

I mentioned last Friday that Pokemon Sword & Shield was launching.

The core RPG line continues

While I wasn’t buying a copy… we don’t own a Switch… it turns out a lot of people were on board with the new game as it sold around six million copies in the first week, making it the fastest selling Nintendo Switch title so far.

Announce you’re making a real core Pokemon RPG game and people will line up.

  • Mobile WoW When?

Bobby Kotick was up talking about the idea of perpetual franchises, which I guess is the line you take when you cannot make anything new that outsells the stuff you already have.  Seriously, the Activision Blizzard big money makers remain World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush Saga.

As part of that he said that the growth would be staggering once they brought all of these to phones.  That makes me want to ask where Diablo Immortal is, but never mind.  However it sure sounds like we’re going to get some flavor of Warcraft on mobile.  Maybe.  Some day.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

But when I grew up, I put away childish things

-1 Corithians 13:11

Today is the launch date for for Pokemon Sword & Shield, the first new, “real” Pokemon game to come to the Switch since Nintendo and Game Freak pulled the franchise from the Nintendo 3DS handheld platform.

The core RPG line continues

Unfortunate KGB reference aside (the sword and shield of the party), the impending release of this game and the launch of the Switch Lite got my daughter and I discussing a potential return to the franchise.

The Switch Lite, an actual attempt at a handheld version of the Switch (because the Switch is way too big to qualify in the DS/3DS or PSP league… I present the Switch Lite as supporting evidence of this) was really the trigger event for this. My daughter and I have a long history together with Pokemon games, starting back with Pokemon Diamond on the DS Lite in 2008 and carrying on through into the 3DS era.  And portability… along with wireless connectivity… was always a big part of the experience.  Our solid little DS Lite units traveled with with us many places.  They were brought to Pokemon events, played in airports and hotel rooms and on cruise ships when there was idle time as well as around the house.

As somebody who pretty much always plays video games sitting at a PC there was definitely a liberating aspect to having a small, handheld gaming console that could be played where ever we went.

So my daughter and I talked about the idea of a Switch or Switch Lite and the new Pokemon game off and on over the course of the summer.  In the end, there was no conclusion reached… which was essentially a negative conclusion by default; we would not be buying a any new hardware just to play Pokemon Sword & Shield.

There were a bunch of little reasons that held us back; pricing, the way the new game was coming together, uncertainty about features.  However, none of those would have really stood in our way, except for the big reason, the real reason.  And that is the fact that my daughter has almost grown up.  She will be 18 soon.  She already has her first college acceptance notification. (University of Oregon)  She has a driver’s license and a car and a job and a boyfriend and a social life and all the dreams and worries and ideas that come with that time in your life.

And in the mix of all of that there isn’t a lot of time for Pokemon.

About six years back I wrote a farewell to Pokemon, thinking at the time that we probably wouldn’t make the jump to the 3DS platform.  But then my daughter came around and we played the games for a few more years.  There won’t be a similar reprieve this time.  A year from now she will be off to college and the seriousness and growing which that entails.

But there is always a future for childish things, once you’ve gotten past that embrace of adulthood and the seriousness that goes with it.  This blog is a testament to that.  And, after talking with my daughter about this, she did decide to start a fresh game of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on her old 3DS.