Over 18 years ago one of the most definable games of all time, one that would extend to multiple generations of gamers and quickly turn into a billion dollar franchise, was released.
With a total of 30 pokemon games, and nine of them taking in $10 million or more, one may think there would be some sign that time would be running its course on the love of Pokemon.
But it hasn’t. Pokemon is proving the test of time with their highest selling games being relatively identical products. The most recent installment, Pokemon X/Y, has made over $12 million and is right on track with the sales of its predecessors. With the first generation of gamers who grew up with Pokemon Red/Blue in their early 20s, Nintendo finds ample support in the franchise for nearly every release.
With the older generation remaining loyal to the franchise and the consistent influx of children to adore the game as well, Nintendo has created a system in which they can consistently dominate two generations of gamers.
As the gamers who grew up with Pokemon Red/Blue get older and perhaps less attentive to the Pokemon franchise, there is an entire generation of gamers from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire to take their place. This makes it incredibly hard to envision how the company’s support will ever waver.
The game itself has shown little need to change as well. The entire base of the game is no different than it was all those years ago. It wasn’t until the most recent release that a truly 3d world was even introduced.
While most games’ mechanics grow stale after a few years, Game Freak’s mantra to keep the core gameplay simple and similar to what has worked in the past is exactly the reason their franchise has thrived for so long. Nintendo as an entire company has shared this same outlook on gaming.
The gaming world is coming to a tipping point though. With the popularity of video games in general sky-rocketing, a massive push for higher resolutions, innovative features, and unique ideas raises the question if the beloved franchise will fall behind.
Nintendo has shown love for innovative ideas like the gamepad, motion sensor controls, and dual-screen interfaces. It’s certainly not an absurd idea for Virtual Reality to become the next step for Nintendo’s creative minds.
The main question is would Game Freak follow suit though? Could it at all be possible in 10 years for a virtual reality Pokemon game to exist?
Speculating the future is rather difficult. All that can really be said is that crucial decisions for the path of the franchise on the part of both Game Freak and Nintendo are sure to soon exist.