Jim Sterling: Pokémon's Business Model Has Always Been Trash

Saucycarpdog

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,823
Pokémon Sword & Shield has been ticking off a subset of fans since its announcement, and that outrage has been refueled by the reveal of an upcoming expansion pass.

The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra will be arriving in DLC packs starting June, and the pass to access them costs $30. Some are viewing this as a paywall, while others point out it's better than releasing the same game with new content bolted on - a series tradition.

The main problem here is that Pokémon, as a series, is one long con that grandfathered in a rather slimy business model, and if people are mad now, they would do well to examine decades of cynical double dipping through a new lens.
 

ItchyTasty

Member
Feb 3, 2019
569
It amazed me when I saw that the DLC had two versions as well, one for Sword and one for Shield. Instead of one version that works for both games.
 

Yogi

Member
Nov 10, 2019
1,234
I knew this about 20 years ago. Loved Pokemon Red/Blue, heard about a new Pokemon...checked it out and it was the same fucking game. Didn't play another since - if I miss Pokemon I'll go back and play the original. It took them so damn long just to go to 3D too. And it's still not the epic 3D pokemon I imagined about 15 years ago.

I'm surprised nothing surpassed them yet with how little there is to the game design.
 

Tbm24

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
Not like this was ever a secret? I didn't have parents who would buy me all the versions. This is why trading in the school yard was fun. The Pokemon Red squad and the Pokemon Blue squad was essential to the school yard.

Was it common for people to own them all?
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,518
Jim has the right idea here. Ultra Sun and Moon were an abomination, and an expansion pass is actually less offensive.
 

Aprikurt

Member
Oct 29, 2017
5,955
Yup. The two versions strategy has always been exploitative at its basest level. The third version was always taking the piss.
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,436
Jim once again fails to understand that the core tenant of Pokémon is trading and that no one should be buying both versions

If you do either you’re a collector or you have multiple kids playing in your household (or adults)
 

NotLiquid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,929
It's actually funny how many "wait until Jim Sterling gets wind of this" comments I saw on Twitter and his ultimate response to it is basically "uhh yeah ok whatever"
 
Dec 27, 2019
5
Seattle
The Pokemon business model is to sell kids merch, not to sell adults video games. If your criticism of the brand is focused on the games and the desires of their adult players, you're off the mark.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
2,462
USA
It amazed me when I saw that the DLC had two versions as well, one for Sword and one for Shield. Instead of one version that works for both games.
DLC has version exclusive Pokemon just like the base games so not sure how that would even work.

Anyway Sterling is off base here. He's arguably correct about the traditional full-priced third versions, but Pokemon having two versions isn't a scam it was literally designed to encourage kids to be social. Hence why trading exists and why the series main games never appear on non-portable systems. GF isn't expecting single users to buy both versions to catch em all, you're not supposed to do that.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,518
It's actually funny how many "wait until Jim Sterling gets wind of this" comments I saw on Twitter and his ultimate response to it is basically "uhh yeah ok whatever"
I think a lot of people on Twitter are trying to turn this game into a Fallout 76-like disaster, but most of this stuff is standard AAA bullshit. Wake me up when there’s a gacha and premium currency.
 

Linde

Member
Sep 2, 2018
3,701
i dont think ive ever felt particularly enticed to buy a third version of a pokemon game. its always felt as though they were meant for late adopters, as the differences were slim.
I find it baffling people ever did this, unless they somehow lose the old game. even more baffling for buying both versions of a game.
but the expansion is a step in the right direction. lets them add a substantial amount of content without making the base game buyers feel like they wasted their money, and
 

Shudouken

Banned
Jun 19, 2019
444
This DLC is only bad for people that waited for third versions.
Previously they'd get the full experience for 40 bucks but now they have to pay 90 regardless.
 

Moltres006

Banned
Jan 5, 2019
1,818
I think a lot of people on Twitter are trying to turn this game into a Fallout 76-like disaster, but most of this stuff is standard AAA bullshit. Wake me up when there’s a gacha and premium currency.
Just wait until they give out more info on Home. If the gts is locked behind it.....its gonna cause a real shit storm.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,994
DLC has version exclusive Pokemon just like the base games so not sure how that would even work.
I mean, it's really straightforward in terms of coding to have two lists of data (i.e. which wild Pokémon can spawn) to load from on entering an area, with which you get decided by whether you booted sword or shield.

This was a business motivated decision than any technical difficulties they couldn't get over in programming, I would assume.
 
Oct 27, 2017
16,597
This was always the case which is why I've never bought the other version or the 3rd versions before. Since D/P, the GTS made the other version unnecessary (although I did miss out on the additional content in the 3rd versions), but that's removed now
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
2,462
USA
I mean, it's really straightforward in terms of coding to have two lists of data (i.e. which wild Pokémon can spawn) to load from on entering an area, with which you get decided by whether you booted sword or shield.

This was a business motivated decision than any technical difficulties they couldn't get over in programming, I would assume.
Just buy the version of the DLC that corresponds to the game you own. It's the same content sans a few Pokemon anyway
 

abellwillring

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,129
Austin, TX
It amazed me when I saw that the DLC had two versions as well, one for Sword and one for Shield. Instead of one version that works for both games.
They're entirely different SKUs. There isn't even a way that one DLC could work for both. They could theoretically provide you with a download code for the other if you buy one, but there's separate coding/work in making the content for each different game so why shouldn't they charge for it? It's not like households with two people playing WoW can use one expansion pack on both copies. It's a separate game -- if you opt to buy it, then you need to expect that you'll buy a separate expansion.

The core of Pokemon is two different people playing together and trading. If you opt to buy the different games for yourself, you're a.) in the vast minority and b.) can't expect Nintendo to cater their decisions towards you.
 

Black_Red

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,601
The core of Pokemon is two different people playing together and trading. If you opt to buy the different games for yourself, you're a.) in the vast minority and b.) can't expect Nintendo to cater their decisions towards you.
While I agree about it, making the unique legendaries exclusives, actually points to GF wanting people to double dip.
Trade evolution, and version exclusives promote trading when you dont loose the main pokemon of the game when trading.
 

Kouriozan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,880
Looking back all the way to Crystal, I realize I never "double dipped" for the 3rd version, well up until B2/W2 with its entirely new story and changed landscape. Then I didn't touch Ultra Sun/Moon which seemed like pure cash grab.
Of course I never bought the other version as well, my brother is there for that ;)
 

abellwillring

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,129
Austin, TX
This DLC is only bad for people that waited for third versions.
Previously they'd get the full experience for 40 bucks but now they have to pay 90 regardless.
Well, in this scenario they'd get the "full" experience for $60 -- Nintendo would not sell Pokemon Lance for $40. Now they'll pay $90 instead of $60. I've been playing Pokemon since Red and have never bought a third version myself.. it never made any sense to me personally. I'll definitely be getting the expansion though. Either way, from what I understand though, even with additions in the third versions, weren't their also subtractions?
 

Yogi

Member
Nov 10, 2019
1,234
It's like the Fifa model where there's mainly just a roster change....except there's two versions to get.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,809
DLC has version exclusive Pokemon just like the base games so not sure how that would even work.

Anyway Sterling is off base here. He's arguably correct about the traditional full-priced third versions, but Pokemon having two versions isn't a scam it was literally designed to encourage kids to be social. Hence why trading exists and why the series main games never appear on non-portable systems. GF isn't expecting single users to buy both versions to catch em all, you're not supposed to do that.
Pretty sure they somewhat expect that now, atleast from the age group Sterling is in, but anyone who thinks they designed it that way back in the 90ties in the expectation that people would double buy, is a bit crazy.
 

foxuzamaki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,429
I wouldn't, i would only ever buy one game but it's still a shitty move done for practically no reason.
I'm really not seeing it, just buy 1 version, its not even a case of half a game and you needing the other version. Just one version having slightly different things and mostly for the purpose of trading, and not even super beneficial for gf/Nintendo, they have to stock 2 discs instead of 1