Pokemon Go…and get of my lawn you darn kids

A new Pokemon game was announced today during a live press conference held specifically for the announcement of Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a game that uses augmented reality to insert Pokemon ‘into’ the real world through the camera and screen of your smartphone.

Yes. A Pokemon game on smartphones (Android/iOS, sorry Windows users). It’s a travesty. It’s the worst injustice since <insert injustice>. It’s just awful. I can’t believe that I have to share my beloved franchise with people who don’t go and buy dedicated consoles. I’m pissy about all these wireless trading that the kids with the new games do. Tajiri originally envisioned the sharing of Pokemon as insects crawling across a link cable between two systems. But ever since the DS (and technically FireRed and LeafGreen with adapter) the Gameboy Link Cable has been made redundant. It’s also made the series more accessible, embracing the use of online to connect consoles from the other side of the world to play and trade with. This was not Tajiri’s vision! This is a stain of the modern era of videogame consoles! This is poisoning creativi and trade with. This was not Tajiri’s vision! This is a stain of the modern era of videogame consoles! This is poisoning creativity and originality!

“Nintendo have created a variety of games and game devices, but all of them have had the common mission of expanding the gaming population.” –Shigeru Miyamoto at the Pokemon Go reveal

As a long-time fan of the Pokemon series, I think it should be celebrated that The Pokemon Company is continuing to reach out its brand to new consumers and increase awareness and funding for the series that we love so much. The biggest legend in gaming, Shigeru Miyamoto, showed up to represent Nintendo with the unveiling of the project. The man that is current the face of Nintendo is backing these new ideas and that excites and warms my heart.

United to bring the world together through games

Just hours before the announcement of Pokemon Go, Apple announced a revised Apple TV device that had a stronger focus on video games. Included in this was motion control, similar to what made Nintendo’s Wii console a household name. I point back to Miyamoto’s statement from above. Not only had Nintendo expanded the gaming population, they expanded people’s minds to what can be defined as a ‘video game’. In 2010 Sony and Microsoft came running with motion controllers for their consoles, and Apple shows how strong their impact was. The way that games are played was changed to allow for this growing population of gamers. In the memory of Satoru Iwata, it warms my heart to see Nintendo widening their market and trying to be a more encapsulating company.

I think the biggest worry for is that the base Pokemon Go app is supposedly going to be free with in-app purchases. Mr Miyamoto takes an innocent route of thought when commenting on the trailer;

“I also like the scene where a kid was playing along with his dad. A kid wears Pokemon Go Plus paired with the father’s smart phone so that he can enjoy catching Pokemon with his dad. I think it’s great.”

It is a nice thought, but in reality we know that kids are given their own smartphone, or just given the device unsupervised for ‘adult time’. I feel silly commenting on it before anything has been really announced, but in-app purchases and impressionable minds have a bad history. While I’m unsure of how financially successful Pokemon Shuffle is and the avenues they’re exploiting the most, ‘freemium’ can be dangerous ground. Luckily their partners in this endeavour, Niantic has had training under the school of Google, the school of being forgiven.

Hey buddy, almost done reading, you’re doing great pal

With all that said, not every mobile developer is a troll and not all mobile games are evil. And with the help of Pokemon Go and Nintendo’s DeNA games, perhaps the platform that has lost so much of its reputation through the disgusting actions of some big and small devs/publishers on mobiles might be untarnished. Hell, reverse the situation and think about the amount of shovelware that flooded the Wii and DS. There’s scum on all sides of gaming, but as consumers we should persevere.

There’s a lot to take in with these shifts that Nintendo is taking. The Pokemon Company is taking lead way with their mobile efforts. The Pokemon Go project is in sound hands and there is a possibility to expand the install base. And if you think that Pokemon Go will replace the mainline Pokemon series, you would be kidding yourself. It may be used as something to tide fans over, definitely expect the traditional Pokemon style game to continue selling units. Nintendo may try to expand the gaming population, but they’re not stupid enough to let go of that cash-cow.

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