What you may need to know
1. Pokémon day was yesterday, but you probably already knew that. It celebrates the anniversary of the launch of the first Pokémon video games in Japan in 1996 by introducing a new Pokémon called Zarude, a rogue, bipedal monkey that can’t be encountered in regular gameplay. Gigantamax versions of Grimmsnarl, Kingler, Orbettle and Hatterene will be appearing in Max Raid Battles for a limited time, as well as the the Kanto starters Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander and the legendary psychic Pokémon Mewtwo. Gotta catch ‘em all!
2. This update demonstrates how publishers can continue to upsell their product long after the initial outlay, something that the Pokémon Company are masters at due to their massive catalogue of over 800 characters.
3. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are basically the same game, they just contain different Pokémon. Each costs €60 to download and players are rewarded for buying both with additional content. There are two expansion packs for the game due later this year that will add another 200 Pokémon to the games, at a cost of €30 each.
4. In the past Pokémon have released enhanced versions rather than expansions packs. Pokémon Red and Blue were followed up by Yellow. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were released as enhanced versions of Pokémon Sun and Moon. That’s just repackaging existing content and making players start all over again. With the Sword and Shield expansion packs, players can continue their journey without loosing the contents of their Pokédex, so no need to start from scratch, but you still have to pay for access to new content.
5. While other publishers struggle with in-game monetisation due to the backlash against in-game purchases and loot-boxes, Pokémon can lean on a 24 year legacy of recycled and upcycled content that it cross promotes through Switch, DS, mobile, TV shows, movies, cards, comics, music, eSports tournaments, toys and gaming hardware. That’s the real monster.
Kieran’s Verdict: More wallet monster than pocket monster.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield: currently available on Nintendo Switch.
Isle of Armor Expansion Pack: June 2020.
Crown Tundra Expansion Pack: Autumn 2020.