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

marcbret87

Member
Apr 20, 2018
263
But plenty of games push social interaction far greater than pokemon does today with only one version.
Every game/company has its own business model, and if it works for them, great. Having two versions has worked very well for Pokemon, the series is still selling shit loads almost 25 years after it first released. So the right question would be, why change?
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
Every game/company has its own business model, and if it works for them, great. Having two versions has worked very well for Pokemon, the series is still selling shit loads almost 25 years after it first released. So the right question would be, why change?
Why change? Because change can be good. Why did they change from making a 3rd version to expansion pass?
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Again, unicorns. Era's not representative of the overall market, nor is any enthusiast forum where you're usually going to see collectors and double dippers. Outside of these spaces and circles they are practically non-existent. But it does speak a lot that even on this forum, the amount of double dippers are still pretty low.

Enthusiasts make up a tiny amount of the gaming population overall.

If there is double dipping in the wider population, it's more often coming from bigger families and this would happen regardless if it was 2 versions or 1 version.
Okay so if as you claim double dippers are ‘unicorns’ as in a tiny fraction. So less than 0.1%? Because even 1% would be in the hundreds of thousands range.

Okay so if that is true...

Why was the dual pack of sword and shield the 4th best selling (I assume retail) game in the US in November?
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
He's talking about what kids do at school. Not what you do behind your computer on discord.

It's how you can spread awareness of the game beyond those that are game enthusiasts.

Pokémon Go is another example of this.

It's why Pokémon is so popular in the first place and has remained popular for years.
While pokemon is still very popular, it's not the be all end all. Fortnite is far greater and its live events push social interactivity from kids to adults far greater than Pokemon.

Do kids not interact with other kids if they have the same version? Not at all, because the version differences are minute to what facilitates kids to interact over pokemon.
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,394
Why change? Because change can be good. Why did they change from making a 3rd version to expansion pass?
They could shake things up further, but that killed the momentum of Digimon and flatout killed Yokai Watch. You know, the Pokemon killers. I get why anyone would be hesitant, especially if you are still breaking sales records after 20 years.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
While pokemon is still very popular, it's not the be all end all. Fortnite is far greater and its live events push social interactivity from kids to adults far greater than Pokemon.

Do kids not interact with other kids if they have the same version? Not at all, because the version differences are minute to what facilitates kids to interact over pokemon.
Pokemon is still a worldwide phenomenon that rivals the likes of Star Wars as a media franchise. Pokemon is a juggernaut.
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,147
Okay so if as you claim double dippers are ‘unicorns’ as in a tiny fraction. So less than 0.1%? Because even 1% would be in the hundreds of thousands range.

Okay so if that is true...

Why was the dual pack of sword and shield the 4th best selling (I assume retail) game in the US in November?
Because their argument is disingenuous and formed on a fabricated assumption (that there are almost no double dippers) to avoid acknowledging the fact that there are a financially significant number of double dippers — including naive parents who buy their insistent children both, because parents generally know nothing of the games they purchase their kids.

It is a fact that the double pack, and therefore multiple copies per household, makes up a high proportion of sales. It is an inevitability that a portion of that number is targeting singular players, whether collectors or those with fear of missing out. TPCi is a business first and foremost: they know the second versions—and more tellingly the barely enhanced full price third and fourth versions released soon after—incentivize a number of people to double dip.

Yes, it began as a trading thing when that made sense with link cables and they had no cause to suspect Pokemon would become the media giant it is today, but it soon became a clear financial motivation. TPCi are not altruists—that is not why these games are released on the strictest of time tables, a veritable assembly line.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
So now we go from talking about the strength of the IP and not the game. ok, then.
Pokemon Go? Pokemon Let's Go being connected to Pokemon Go? The social interactions with raid battles being a big improvements in Sword and Shield? Pokemon Home which will also connect to those things? There's a lot of social integrations that's going to be happening.
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
Pokemon Go? Pokemon Let's Go being connected to Pokemon Go? The social interactions with raid battles are a big improvements in Sword and Shield? Pokemon Home which will also connect to those things? There's a lot of social integrations that's going to be happening.
Ah, yes, Pokemon Go. Where's the 2nd version for that to help social interactions?
 

Hercule

Member
Jun 20, 2018
2,002
Never liked having to trade or interact with other people. Luckily GTS existed.

I'm sure game freak defenders will come with a reason why no GTS is the best thing ever but for me it hurts.

It makes having 2 versions even more annoying
 

ggx2ac

Sales Heaven or Sales Hell?
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,649
Okay so if as you claim double dippers are ‘unicorns’ as in a tiny fraction. So less than 0.1%? Because even 1% would be in the hundreds of thousands range.

Okay so if that is true...

Why was the dual pack of sword and shield the 4th best selling (I assume retail) game in the US in November?
One, that's by revenue not units.
Two, physical copies only for all the Pokémon games ranked.
Three, it's not hard to get into the top ten if only a few new games release.
Four, are you assuming that people are buying that double pack for themselves only and not for their kids or themselves + a relative/significant other?
While pokemon is still very popular, it's not the be all end all. Fortnite is far greater and its live events push social interactivity from kids to adults far greater than Pokemon.

Do kids not interact with other kids if they have the same version? Not at all, because the version differences are minute to what facilitates kids to interact over pokemon.
Ok, if you want to compare free to play games then Pokémon Go has had over one billion downloads on smartphones alone compared to Fortnite which is on every console, PC and smartphones.
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
One, that's by revenue not units.
Two, physical copies only for all the Pokémon games ranked.
Three, it's not hard to get into the top ten if only a few new games release.
Four, are you assuming that people are buying that double pack for themselves only and not for their kids or themselves + a relative/significant other?


Ok, if you want to compare free to play games then Pokémon Go has had over one billion downloads on smartphones alone compared to Fortnite which is on every console, PC and smartphones.
And it did that w/o a 2nd version :O
 
Jan 10, 2018
4,394
One would think if your business model is built around making you buy both versions, the very hill Sterling, Disclaimer and so many others are willing to die on, they would built their marketing around it and you know, the games.
 

Hero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,505
User Warned: Hostility
While pokemon is still very popular, it's not the be all end all. Fortnite is far greater and its live events push social interactivity from kids to adults far greater than Pokemon.

Do kids not interact with other kids if they have the same version? Not at all, because the version differences are minute to what facilitates kids to interact over pokemon.
Fortnite is a mostly US-based phenomenon that was hot for a year and is already cooling down. Do you really think Fortnite is going to be around in 25 years? Because if so you're even dumber than these arguments you're making.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
One, that's by revenue not units.
Two, physical copies only for all the Pokémon games ranked.
Three, it's not hard to get into the top ten if only a few new games release.
Four, are you assuming that people are buying that double pack for themselves only and not for their kids or themselves + a relative/significant other?
One, doesn’t matter it still reached number 4 above Pokémon Shield By revenue. That means it sold at least half of Pokémon Shield.
Two. Yes I mentioned physical, why would that be any different to digital?
Three. If you say so but it beat Pokémon Shield by revenue, which again means at least half the sales, which is a phenomenal amount.
Four. Not assuming anything. Just proving that the idea people buying a double pack is rare is pure tosh.
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
Fortnite is a mostly US-based phenomenon that was hot for a year and is already cooling down. Do you really think Fortnite is going to be around in 25 years? Because if so you're even dumber than these arguments you're making.
It's not a US based phenomenon, it's World wide. What does Fortnite have to be around 25 years later have to do with anything today?
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
One, doesn’t matter it still reached number 4 above Pokémon Shield By revenue. That means it sold at least half of Pokémon Shield.
Two. Yes I mentioned physical, why would that be any different to digital?
Three. If you say so but it beat Pokémon Shield by revenue, which again means at least half the sales, which is a phenomenal amount.
Four. Not assuming anything. Just proving that the idea people buying a double pack is rare is pure tosh.
Amazon rankings are poor things to measure by in general and don't give you any real concrete footing for data.
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,147
Do you have a source for this claim? Because all the figures I've seen indicate otherwise
(1) The eShop, where it charted comfortably along the single versions. (2) The NPD Group, where it was the fourth best seller in its launch month, with more dollar sales than Shield alone.

Good on you to ignore the rest of my post.
 

marcbret87

Member
Apr 20, 2018
263
Why change? Because change can be good. Why did they change from making a 3rd version to expansion pass?
Yeah, change can be good, but is not necessarily good, much less when you're setting the sales charts on fire even 25 years after the series started. The 3rd version thing was already changed in the B&W era, neither that one nor X&Y had a third version, and it changed because they found better options. In fact, nowadays they made it such that when they released an expanded version for Sun&Moon it also had two options. DLC is just another logical step. But I fail to see how would they benefit from going from two versions to one when it;s clearly working very well for them.
 

Moltres006

Member
Jan 5, 2019
1,807
I also want access to more than one Zacian or Zamazenta. Having access to multiple exclusive legendaries would make trading the other exclusive legends less of a pain.
 

Danielsan

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,922
The Netherlands
It was a novel concept with Red and Blue, but it only comes across as a simple cash grab now. The fact that the DLC is version specific is even worse. Even if you played into their hand and bought both versions, you're still required to double dip on the DLC too.

I really wish we could move away from the two version, but it's free money for Gamefreak so I doubt it will ever happen.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
Exactly so it beating Pokémon Shield by revenue means we know it sold minimum half the units of Shield.
Yes, that's right. Which lines up with that less people are buying the double pack over a single copy, which is what I've been saying.


EDIT: It means, Sword and Shield are selling more combined individually than anyone is buying the dualpack.
 

Yata

User requested ban
Banned
Feb 1, 2019
784
Spain
Yeah, change can be good, but is not necessarily good, much less when you're setting the sales charts on fire even 25 years after the series started. The 3rd version thing was already changed in the B&W era, neither that one nor X&Y had a third version, and it changed because they found better options. In fact, nowadays they made it such that when they released an expanded version for Sun&Moon it also had two options. DLC is just another logical step. But I fail to see how would they benefit from going from two versions to one when it;s clearly working very well for them.
This is literally what those posts are arguing for, that the main reason why second versions exist is because GF is making more cash with them.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Well, the post is about the Pokemon business model, isn't it?
I believe the post was saying that Fortnite is a bigger game than Pokémon that is able to promote social features through in game experiences rather than version differences. I don’t know why the conversation turned to size of the IP. It’s not a great analogy anyway. Fortnite absolutely does promote social aspects through exclusive content that you have to pay for, one way or another. It just does it in a different way to Pokémon.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Yes, that's right. Which lines up with that less people are buying the double pack over a single copy, which is what I've been saying.
Err no, you said a tiny fraction, you even used the words ‘unicorns’ in response to me saying it’s not a majority but it’s still a massive number. Come on now.
 

ggx2ac

Sales Heaven or Sales Hell?
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,649
One, doesn’t matter it still reached number 4 above Pokémon Shield By revenue. That means it sold at least half of Pokémon Shield.
Yes, so it sold less than a singular version.

Two. Yes I mentioned physical, why would that be any different to digital?
It's not hard to imagine how much smaller the percentage becomes once you include digital SKUs.

Three. If you say so but it beat Pokémon Shield by revenue, which again means at least half the sales, which is a phenomenal amount.
But once you look at it by units especially overall and not just first month sales from NPD, it's not going to be a huge percentage.

Four. Not assuming anything. Just proving that the idea people buying a double pack is rare is pure tosh.
You were clearly started your post with the word double dippers. You are making a correlation between double dippers with the sales of the double pack.

Double dippers are an outlier in sales. The sales of the double pack is not solely because of double dippers.
 

mrfusticle

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,185
If ANY other company tries to do what Pokémon does they would be crucified on the spot.
Apologies in advance dude.. Not aiming this at you specifically but I gotta vent.

EA? King? Tencent? .. oh, any company? United Health? Kaiser? Bain? Dupont? Gazprom?

.. Small fry compared to the nefarious practices of TPC right?

This, this right here is my problem with consumer activism in the video game market.. It's not food or rent or travel or healthcare it's a luxury industry.. in no universe do you have to buy any of it. I've yet to hear a convincing argument why a company can't charge whatever the hell they like for a non-essential product .. If Coca Cola could charge $20 a can of Coke and could make more money at that price of course they would but they won't because pricing strategy is a thing... If cans of Coke cost twenty quid I wouldn't buy one and would perhaps scoff at those who did but I wouldn't claim some fundamental rights are being infringed or call people who defend $20 Cokes corporate shills.. They're just mugs.. and that's wholly on them (leaving aside predatory marketing, gambling, targeting kids etc as different issues).

And inb4 "just because those other things are shitty doesn't mean we can't complain about video game prices" .. yes, yes it does. If you're going to use the language of fighting the Corporatist takeover of the West you can't use it on a completely optional leisure item.. It's stupid and petty and dilutes the focus on the real issues of increasing wealth disparity and vulture capitalism..... imo
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Yes, so it sold less than a singular version.



It's not hard to imagine how much smaller the percentage becomes once you include digital SKUs.



But once you look at it by units especially overall and not just first month sales from NPD, it's not going to be a huge percentage.



You were clearly started your post with the word double dippers. You are making a correlation between double dippers with the sales of the double pack.

Double dippers are an outlier in sales. The sales of the double pack is not solely because of double dippers.
So you’re saying people who buy the game twice but give one or both away don’t count as double dippers in your books? That’s fine but the person I responded to used the term double dippers to refer to people buying for their families too. So you can hardly blame me for responding in the same language.

And yes the number of people who bought the double pack is smaller than the number of people who bought the individual SKUs. I’ve said several times now that even if 1 in 20 bought the double pack, that’s still a crazily high number. In fact the sales data suggests that proportion could be higher.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
Err no, you said a tiny fraction, you even used the words ‘unicorns’ in response to me saying ‘it’s not a majority but it’s still a massive number. Come on now.
I also said if there is a wider audience buying both games it's usually from bigger families. Which can be very much the case and very likely is. But double dippers from enthusiast hardcore gamers are unicorns. Double dippers are NOT the sole contributor to the double pack being sold.


I'm just confused by the arguments going on in here. First I'm told we're not talking about families, we're talking about double dippers and collectors, etc., buying both games, and now it's apparently only these double dipper and collectors are buying the double packs? Bruh, there are dynamics here. You cannot ignore just one side.
So you’re saying people who buy the game twice but give one or both away don’t count as double dippers in your books? That’s fine but the person I responded to used the term double dippers to refer to people buying for their families too. So you can hardly blame me for responding in the same language.

And yes the number of people who bought the double pack is smaller than the number of people who bought the individual SKUs. I’ve said several times now that even if 1 in 20 bought the double pack, that’s still a crazily high number. In fact the sales data suggests that proportion could be higher.
I did not! Any time I used the term double dipping it has been in the context about the enthusiast hardcore die-hard gamer who is usually dedicated to a specific franchise or franchises.