Hey reader, in case you haven’t heard, Pokémon GO is quite popular and not just with the typical series fans. Whether it’s young adults rekindling their love for the franchise, children, or even their parents, GO is creeping up to a level of Poke-mania that arguably hasn’t been seen since the launch of the original worldwide Red and Blue games.
With Pokémon GO, Nintendo is tapping into an audience that has been dormant since the 90s. Deep down, people have still always loved Pokémon, but the problem is, not all of those Red and Blue fans from back in the day necessarily love video games. Sure, people like you (the reader) and I, have probably owned a DS, 3DS, GBA, etc, and have been able to keep up with the latest if we chose to. The casual player who hasn’t owned a handheld since the original Game Boy probably hasn’t though.
Why are all these millennials back in droves now though? Accessibility. For the first time since childhood for many young adults, many fans have easy access to a new game. Not everyone has a 3DS, but way more people have smartphones. Even better, it’s featuring the original 150 critters, which dials up the nostalgia to another level. It’s an encouraging sign for people rooting for the franchise to reenter the limelight in a way we haven’t seen in years.
Despite the how obviously popular Pokémon GO is already though, it’s always smart to proceed with caution when trying to predict what Nintendo will do. Nintendo is such a strange company because for all of its innovation (for better or worse), Nintendo is still incredibly protective and conservative when it comes to its software and online infrastructure.
Despite the popularity and recognition of their most valuable franchises like Mario and Pokémon, it took Nintendo forever put a game on smartphone devices. Sure it sort of makes sense at first – not wanting smartphone sales to cannibalize any desire to buy a Nintendo handheld – until you realize that people are going to own smartphones no matter what. If you can’t top smartphones, you might as well hijack them. And that’s what Nintendo has done with Pokémon GO.
Pokémon, of all of Nintendo’s franchises, may have been the most requested game to make the jump to smartphones once the possibility presented itself. Right or wrong, downloading emulators for the older Pokémon games on Android devices just to relive the original experience on the go in the 21st century is something that many people have done.
Now the floodgates are open. Just like the original Red and Blue games, Pokémon GO is fun and addictive. It’s right now that Nintendo should strike while the iron is hot and double down on Pokémon.
If Nintendo really wants people to buy a handheld to play their new “real” games, pushing an affordable 3DS & Sun and Moon bundle to get these new and returning Pokémon fans on board would be a wise move. Also, now that Nintendo has a little more experience with AR, they could bring back the Snap franchise, which would likely be another hit on smartphones. Could you imagine if it tied into social media such as Instagram too? You think social media spam for Pokémon GO is bad now, a whole game that’s only about taking pictures would be next level. Pokémon selfie mode? I’m shuddering just thinking about it.
And finally, if Nintendo wanted to print money and blast off back into the console race, put a Pokémon game on the NX.
Yes, it’s the tired “make a console Pokémon game” argument that everyone has heard a thousand times… but seriously though, Nintendo should. Pokémon GO is a craze, and it might take a long time for the franchise to get to this level of hype again.
Yes, it’s not going to die out of course and anyone who calls Pokémon the franchise a fad at this point just hasn’t been paying attention for the last 20 years. However, the franchise is once again at a peak right now, and if Nintendo wants to push all their chips to the center of the table to make sure their next home console is a success, their hand hasn’t been this strong in a while.
Pairing a new Pokémon game with a lineup that includes the new Zelda game Breath of the Wild, and a 3D Mario would be irresistible to even the most casual of Nintendo fans. Do we really need to say anymore? Not even Final Fantasy VII Remake would top an online full fledged Pokémon console game. Nintendo needs to wake up and make more Pokémon games and do it now while it is hot as hell.