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

Jan 10, 2018
4,394
Like many have said, they could have created different routes or have the wild spawn differently depends on the starter. I can understand first few gens because of experimentation or what not. But by this day, it is no more than just exploiting collectors.

Yea, that would require to change the entire marketing with little to no gain. I don't oppose that, just doubt its reasonable to do that.
 

HardRojo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,083
Between having a Pokemon "Armor" or DLC, I prefer the DLC. Though, I guess there's two DLC because there's two games, maybe it's not even possible for them to have two games with the same DLC on the software side.
It is possible, someone mentioned they already did this with Fire Emblem on 3DS, so this is just GF being shitty and making you shell out another $30 for virtually the same thing if you happen to have both versions.
 

Fj0823

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,869
Costa Rica
That’s a terrible idea that would make trading incredibly difficult and obnoxiously so.

You know who you need to ask right now for your missing monsters (people with the other version), if you randomize it (ugh) then you’re screwing up the whole balance and pointlessly complexifying the game
If only there was some mass trading system....something Global...for trading...a Station maybe
 

ThePhantom

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
1,641
Besides a few story npc and Pokemon that you can trade between game, what are the major difference?

And a color is a big visual difference between cars.
But that's it, just a visual difference. I'm saying that's a bad comparison because there's more than just a difference in visuals between two versions of a Pokemon game. If you take two cars of the same make/year/trim/model but with different colored paint, they're identical besides the paint.
 

Roliq

Member
Sep 23, 2018
175
You're right, it's not rocket science to see that the continued existence of two versions is a cash grab.
Like many have said, they could have created different routes or have the wild spawn differently depends on the starter. I can understand first few gens because of experimentation or what not. But by this day, it is no more than just exploiting collectors.
My thoughts exactly.
The fact they still do 2 versions of the game in 2020 is ridiculous. And if you fall for the "it's for people to trade and improve the social aspect of the game" you're not very smart, as they clearly expect you to buy both, with double packs and all that.
At one point all of you have to realize that this is no different than lauching two toy houses with different dolls or utensils, the reason for two versions as been repeated for the whole thread to be because it gives people the ability to chose a team and from that create memes, drawings, videos, comments about which is the best version which in turn lead to more people talking about it even before the games release.

Saying that they take avantage of completionists is silly because the fault should lie in them, why blame the developers because some people can't help themselves even when is pointed out that they can enjoy everything the game offers with only ONE version

Do you all blame the developers when they put exclusive content in a specific console version? because that way they also take avantage of completionists

It is possible, someone mentioned they already did this with Fire Emblem on 3DS, so this is just GF being shitty and making you shell out another $30 for virtually the same thing if you happen to have both versions.
This is not even the same thing Fates is even worse, unlike Pokemon a version of Fates has: an exclusive story and levels after chapter 6 of 28 which one having harder maps than the other, over 20 characters that even though you can get them in the other, the ones you can get can't be used in supports, the exp mechanics are not even the same (conquest does not let you farm exp) for experiencing everything you need to pay $80 not even counting all the dlc
 

Marukoban

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,234
It’s always funny how people who don’t even play Pokemon talk about 2 versions as being scummy. As if people, outside of collectors, buy 2 versions.
 

LossAversion

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,103
Honestly? I'm kind of... fine with two different versions of the game. It's not like you're getting an incomplete game if you only play one version. It's just a slightly different experience and it promotes the idea of trading and communicating with other players. I get why people don't like it but I'm never going to get more than one version so it doesn't really bother me personally. I think this DLC route is a lot more appealing than an entirely new version that you need to buy, for sure.
 

utsugioffice

Member
Oct 12, 2019
5
as someone who used to be really into pokemon, but has fallen away from it recently i've noticed a change in pokemon's mentality towards making new games. back around heartgold and soulsilver i remember a quote from matsuda i believe saying that gamefreak had been greedy with the amount of things they tried to cram in. come ORAS and the battle frontier was cut due to, essentially, children not being patient enough to play the battle frontier.

i dont have a problem with dlc like this, hypothetically. the problem comes when paying for a 60 dollar game, plus the 30 dollars for the dlc, plus online if you don't have that already. its not a new game, but the price adds up for something gamefreak didn't have either the manpower, time, or care to add earlier in development
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,285
If only there was some mass trading system....something Global...for trading...a Station maybe
Only someone who completely misses the point of those handheld, disconnected games would come up with assinine ideas like randomization and using tools to never have to actually speak with someone.

Those games aren’t made for you, this is adamantly clear

Meanwhile kids worldwide are having fun trading with their friends and family members
 

Solar Puffin

Member
Oct 8, 2018
3,537
Sydney
2 versions is an outdated concept, trading can be facilitated with just one.
Take a look at how Animal Crossing works, for instance.
 

Giga Man

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,311
I have two friends who always buy both versions of Pokemon. One of them is a fanatic, and the other isn't really big on Pokemon, but he tends to buy almost anything Nintendo for the hell of it, almost like a collector. They happily buy them too because they genuinely enjoy playing them both, according to them.

I always bought just one version usually with the exception of a few expanded versions, but for some reason I really liked X a lot, so I bought Y after and enjoyed playing it again. I did the same for ORAS, and I almost did the same for SuMo, but then I realized it was a complete waste of money, especially after I realized how much of a chore SuMo was, so I eventually sold Y, Omega Ruby, and Moon.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
2 versions is an outdated concept, trading can be facilitated with just one.
Take a look at how Animal Crossing works, for instance.
Animal Crossing works due to the heavy RNG and limitations on what furniture you can get in a single day and what kinds of other items you can get during a day and season. It's a non-linear life sim meant to be played everyday. Pokemon is not that. Pokemon is a linear JRPG and has a specific number of routes with 435 Pokemon evenly distributed between.

I'm also sure Animal Crossing has far more furniture and items in general to collect to decorate your house and town, and soon to be island, than any single Pokemon game has Pokemon. Then add that Animal Crossing let's you draw out designs as well for some user generated content.
 

Solar Puffin

Member
Oct 8, 2018
3,537
Sydney
Animal Crossing works due to the heavy RNG and limitations on what furniture you can get in a single day and what kinds of other items you can get during a day and season. It's a non-linear life sim meant to be played everyday. Pokemon is not that. Pokemon is a linear JRPG and has a specific number of routes with 435 Pokemon evenly distributed between.

I'm also sure Animal Crossing has far more furniture and items in general to collect to decorate your house and town, and soon to be island, than any single Pokemon game has Pokemon. Then add that Animal Crossing let's you draw out designs as well for some user generated content.
It's just an example, geez.
Even so, just give us a choice at the start that says "Do you want to pick the sword or the sheild?"
 

ChanceOwen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
276
Having one DLC license not work with both versions of the game is incredibly scummy and has no technical excuse. It’s also not fair to act like it was an oversight and still let parents buy the expansion pass twice on the same switch. “You already bought two copies of the game so you should have to buy the expansion pass twice” is a terrible defense from the defense squad.
 
Split versions stopped being a "problem" once wi-fi trading became a thing and you can get exclusives from your bed. You were never expected to buy both versions just for yourself. Growing up I've only ever seen multi-kid households and collectors do that. Anyways I'm glad third versions are dead because another Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon type situation where I have to play through the exact same campaign just to get to some new postgame at the end would've sucked.

I won't defend the pass not being version agnostic though. There should be a method where expansion data can tell what specific SKU you're running.
 

MatrixMan.exe

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,757
Meanwhile for any other game, parents usually only buy their kids one copy.

The multi-version model is undeniably there to incentivize multiple purchases per household.
I mean, if you want to look at it cynically, sure. It was there to encourage trading back in a time where local trading was the only option. It was a novel concept too.

I just think that, like a lot of things Game Freak do, it still exists as a 'tradition'. The profit implications obviously come into play, but I doubt it's THE reason given the context of what Pokémon is.

Multiple versions aren't an issue. 3rd versions don't belong anymore though in a world where updates, live services and DLC exist. I'm glad Japanese Devs are dropping this practice slowly.
 
Feb 24, 2018
1,101
Having one DLC license not work with both versions of the game is incredibly scummy and has no technical excuse. It’s also not fair to act like it was an oversight and still let parents buy the expansion pass twice on the same switch. “You already bought two copies of the game so you should have to buy the expansion pass twice” is a terrible defense from the defense squad.
Also I noticed something else when looking through the DLC expansion details on the Switch storefront, the Switch is region free (one of the systems best features for me) and so is Pokemon Sword and Shield I think (correct me if I'm wrong with that), yet the DLC isn't, it says the expansions for me will only work if I buy a European version of it rather then a US or Asia.

Don't know if that matters to anyone, but it's a detail I noticed.
 
Feb 24, 2018
1,101
Question, did the Fire Emblem games try to do this during the 3DS era or a wrong on that, I remember their was annoyances with fans about something similar with Fates.
 

Kanmurukillua

Member
Jan 28, 2019
2,715
Question, did the Fire Emblem games try to do this during the 3DS era or a wrong on that, I remember their was annoyances with fans about something similar with Fates.
Fates being split up into 3 games made sense because they were 3 separate games. The DLC could be used across all three games once purchased as well.

People were mad because the "true" ending was sold as DLC without a cartridge being made of it as well.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
I mean, if you want to look at it cynically, sure. It was there to encourage trading back in a time where local trading was the only option. It was a novel concept too.

I just think that, like a lot of things Game Freak do, it still exists as a 'tradition'. The profit implications obviously come into play, but I doubt it's THE reason given the context of what Pokémon is.

Multiple versions aren't an issue. 3rd versions don't belong anymore though in a world where updates, live services and DLC exist. I'm glad Japanese Devs are dropping this practice slowly.
I think it’s only a cynical take if you ascribe greed to the origins of the model, which I don’t. I agree that back in the Game Boy days, they were probably just trying to do something cool and unique.

The problem is that the model sucks, and either greed and/or unwillingness to innovate are the only plausible reasons for it to still be around today... especially now that it’s a full price console game.

We live in an era of Pokemon randomizers, countless indie roguelikes... it doesn’t take that wild of an imagination to come up with something significantly better than selling two slightly different SKUs.
 

Candescence

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,556
We live in an era of Pokemon randomizers, countless indie roguelikes... it doesn’t take that wild of an imagination to come up with something significantly better than selling two slightly different SKUs.
Honestly, having a semi-randomized playthrough is where having 700+ Pokemon can actually be a good thing. You can still control the distribution of Pokemon based on specific criteria (especially types in different biomes), with a bias towards each gen's newest set of Pokemon, shave off a huge chunk of the 'roster' from that save, and still have a meaty experience that will be quite different from the vast majority of folks. You likely wouldn't be able to assemble your "dream team" right off the bat unless you're rather lucky, but at the same time it would encourage experimentation and trading, as well as catching Pokemon you might not have otherwise for battling, and each kid gets a unique experience that they can talk about and show to their friends.

I would fucking love to play a semi-randomized Pokemon game. It would be way better than just two different versions that have minimal differences and mainly just a handful of exclusive Pokemon each.
 

Fubuki

Member
Jan 1, 2018
305
Saying that they take avantage of completionists is silly because the fault should lie in them, why blame the developers because some people can't help themselves even when is pointed out that they can enjoy everything the game offers with only ONE version

Do you all blame the developers when they put exclusive content in a specific console version? because that way they also take avantage of completionists
Do we blame the victims now? Are lootboxes redeemed?
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,472
Yea, that would require to change the entire marketing with little to no gain. I don't oppose that, just doubt its reasonable to do that.
It means you require at least 3 people playing separate starter Pokemon, and that's already a forced and unnecessary complication. Instead of just finding someone with the other version you will need at least 2 others? I don't understand how this isn't just worse in every single way.
 

Xita

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
5,255
Question, did the Fire Emblem games try to do this during the 3DS era or a wrong on that, I remember their was annoyances with fans about something similar with Fates.
The two/three versions thing wasn’t well-received, no. And in that case they were actually (mostly) different games.

But unlike Pokemon, you could get the same third route regardless of what version you had.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,291
I think it’s only a cynical take if you ascribe greed to the origins of the model, which I don’t. I agree that back in the Game Boy days, they were probably just trying to do something cool and unique.

The problem is that the model sucks, and either greed and/or unwillingness to innovate are the only plausible reasons for it to still be around today... especially now that it’s a full price console game.

We live in an era of Pokemon randomizers, countless indie roguelikes... it doesn’t take that wild of an imagination to come up with something significantly better than selling two slightly different SKUs.
What about the model is greedy though?

Considering you can circumvent it, and get access to all the content, all the Pokémon, by trading, which only necessitates one version of the game?

Like, why include that, if they're so frickin' greedy greedy greedy? What kind of business direction is that?

Oh hey, let's nake this business model that's supposedly, according to certain people, built around greed and nothing but, and forcing them to somehow, against their will buy both versions?

But wait!

Let's also, for some incomprehensible reason, add features that nake it so, if they so desire, the only ever need to buy one version out if a pair and then they can simply interact with their fellow human beings to get access to the rest of the content.

But hark! Does that not undermine the entire model? How can we get them to buy both if they have the possibility, if we give them the option of getting everything with one cart by trading with other people? How can that possibly befin to work?

Well, have no fear! Because apparently we at Game Freak are not only the greediest of the greedy, but our evil genius truly knows no bounds!

The answer will astound you!

The solution to this dilemma is that not only will we include the ability to trade for no reason, undermining our supposed greediness, but then, and this is the best part, we... Just pray to dear God that nobody actually uses the feature and that everyone operates understand some person self-imposed challenge to catch each Pokémon personally so they're compelled to buy both versions regardless!

What could go wrong with such s brillisnt evil plot???? What possible points of failure could it have, any way along the way??? Muahahahaha!

... Seriously though, enough role-playing. The point remains though, THAT'S the kind if ridiculousness you need to believe, to believe that it has anything to do with greed.

As what's more likely, that gibberish of a supposedly evil plot, or that from the very beginning to today, it's indeed just been encouraging players to interact with send help each other out and form connections, even if that's in the form of something as basic as essentially anonymous online trades as even dimple social interactions, even basic ways of helping each other out like that are better than nothing, and themselves can add up over time, especially with how many people continue to play these games to this day.

Like, I had more than a little fun and got carried away with the role-playing there, just like I did in my first post in this thread... But you can nonetheless see where I'm coming from at least (especially since this is a discussion I've been having for like over a decade of and when I was already short if patience with it from the beginning, well, y'know how that goes, and I do apologize for being a bit short, but still).

The fact that you can trade at all undermines the greed argument entirely.

Because in all seriousness, why is that feature there then? Why does it exist, if the answer for both it and the two versions isn't to encourage people to be social and interact with each other, even in smple and rudimentary ways?

Why include it to begin with and then hope to dear God that people don't actually use it and continue to buy both versions anyway under some kinda self-imposed challenge or something when they could just.... Not? And save development resources and stuff in the process to boot?

This supposed "scam" just doesn't seem thought out to me, at all, and so naturally I was kinda already annoyed it this discussion when I first popped into the online Pokémon fandom in Gen IV back on the DS, and just gotten more exhausted with it with time as it seems no less silly to me now than it did then.

That's where I'm coming from in any case either way. The idea of it being about greed at any point is just puzzling to me because even if I want to entertain that, even if I wanted to go along with that, that just raises further questions of why they undermine their supposed greediness at every turn in that case, and come up with a plan that supposedly relies on their customers essentially being idiots who refuse to use the options they give them when they could much more simply just remove those options entire and y'know actually force people to buy both versions if they actually want everything and give them no alternatives whatsoever, no if and or buts, no alternatives or anything. That would nake a lot more sense if the point were greed. But that's not what they're doing. Far from it.

So I just can't go along with the idea, at all. It's just too half-baked and requires jumping through far too many mental hoops when I could much more simply believe the point is exactly what they say it is, in this particular case, instead.
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905
Cross posting from another

Very few people I know actually buy both and it's usually just collectors.

This has always been a misnomer where people assume it's done to trick people out of money and lots of people buy both when it's not. Two versions is there for the intent to get people to trade/communicate. Plus it's far less complicated to say:

"I got Sword. You have shield. Do you have Appletun, I'll give you a Flapple?"
Rather than
"I got Pokémon but started with Grookey and went left on Route 1 first. Did you start with Sobble and go right? I need a Stonjourner"

Sure, double packs exist, but that's more for households that have two people; couples, siblings, friends etc., not for people to buy both. As we've seen with the poll in this gaming forum, where people would be more inclined to get both, few actually do: https://www.resetera.com/threads/pokemon-players-do-you-usually-buy-multiple-versions-of-the-same-pokemon-game.164842


In no way does getting both create a full experience. The differences are completely superficial: a wild Pokémon here or there, at worst a gym leader or swap in story characters, but it's not like Fire Emblem or other games where the story diverges completely based on the game you pick.

Anyone who says so is showing themselves as not having actually played Pokémon.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Cross posting from another

Very few people I know actually buy both and it's usually just collectors.

This has always been a misnomer where people assume it's done to trick people out of money and lots of people buy both when it's not. Two versions is there for the intent to get people to trade/communicate. Plus it's far less complicated to say:

"I got Sword. You have shield. Do you have Appletun, I'll give you a Flapple?"
Rather than
"I got Pokémon but started with Grookey and went left on Route 1 first. Did you start with Sobble and go right? I need a Stonjourner"

Sure, double packs exist, but that's more for households that have two people; couples, siblings, friends etc., not for people to buy both. As we've seen with the poll in this gaming forum, where people would be more inclined to get both, few actually do: https://www.resetera.com/threads/pokemon-players-do-you-usually-buy-multiple-versions-of-the-same-pokemon-game.164842
In what world is 1 in 6 people at least sometimes buying two copies of the same game...not a lot??
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
Cross posting from another

Very few people I know actually buy both and it's usually just collectors.

This has always been a misnomer where people assume it's done to trick people out of money and lots of people buy both when it's not. Two versions is there for the intent to get people to trade/communicate. Plus it's far less complicated to say:

"I got Sword. You have shield. Do you have Appletun, I'll give you a Flapple?"
Rather than
"I got Pokémon but started with Grookey and went left on Route 1 first. Did you start with Sobble and go right? I need a Stonjourner"

Sure, double packs exist, but that's more for households that have two people; couples, siblings, friends etc., not for people to buy both. As we've seen with the poll in this gaming forum, where people would be more inclined to get both, few actually do: https://www.resetera.com/threads/pokemon-players-do-you-usually-buy-multiple-versions-of-the-same-pokemon-game.164842
As a game marketed towards kids, I don't see how you can acknowledge parents buying their kids multiple copies in the same breath that you argue that the two version model isn't financially driven.

They wouldn't bother doing a double pack if they weren't gonna sell a lot of 'em. The double pack is practically admission that it's financially incentivized, if not outright advertising to parents "Hey! You should be buying multiple copies of this!".
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905
As a game marketed towards kids, I don't see how you can acknowledge parents buying their kids multiple copies in the same breath that you argue that the two version model isn't financially driven.

They wouldn't bother doing a double pack if they weren't gonna sell a lot of 'em. The double pack is practically admission that it's financially incentivized, if not outright advertising to parents "Hey! You should be buying multiple copies of this!".
Because it isn't, and the double packs are also a very recent thing.
 

bye

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,973
Phoenix, AZ
Honestly? I'm kind of... fine with two different versions of the game. It's not like you're getting an incomplete game if you only play one version. It's just a slightly different experience and it promotes the idea of trading and communicating with other players. I get why people don't like it but I'm never going to get more than one version so it doesn't really bother me personally. I think this DLC route is a lot more appealing than an entirely new version that you need to buy, for sure.
it made sense in the 90s and not now when all trading is done online anyway, lol

the only reason its still being done now is because it makes them money

miss me with that "communicate!" excuse when in 2020 that just boils down to exchanging friend codes online
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905

Marukoban

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,234
Of course it’s a minority. The point being made was never that most people buy both, but that a lot of people buy both. 1 in 6 is a hell of a lot.
It’s 1/6 for ERA, a super hardcore forum where significant percentage of its users buy collector edition of video game releases.
Out there the percentage will be much much lower.
I actually don’t know anyone in real life who buy 2 versions of Pokemon.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
Do you have evidence of this?
Evidence of what? I'm asking you: Do you think parents usually buy their kids multiple copies of every game, or is it just Pokemon?

Or are you asking me if I have evidence that parents buy their kids multiple copies of Pokemon? Yes, the fact that they're selling a double-pack of Sword and Shield.
 

bye

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
3,973
Phoenix, AZ
Why does the method of trading now being online mean it "makes no sense"?

Do you have evidence of this?
because when Pokemon first came out, its social aspect was actually a very real thing. trading cables ensured that. you needed to be right there next to someone to trade or battle. version exclusives facilitated this yes, you can argue it still does, but with things being done online communication is basically non-existent and not personal. you exchange the friend code with a stranger, in most cases, trade the version exclusive and you're done. it doesn't help the social aspects of the games have not kept up with modern times - this is a Nintendo-wide problem though.
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905
Or are you asking me if I have evidence that parents buy their kids multiple copies of Pokemon? Yes, the fact that they're selling a double-pack of Sword and Shield.
That is not evidence. That is an assumption. You are making an assumption and then chastising based on that assumption.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
It’s 1/6 for ERA, a super hardcore forum where significant percentage of its users buy collector edition of video game releases.
Out there the percentage will be much much lower.
I actually don’t know anyone in real life who buy 2 versions of Pokemon.
So I don’t believe 1 in 6 buy two copies, and even in the poll it was only 1 in 6 sometimes buying two copies. It was something like 1 in 12 who always buy two copies. But this is all besides the point.

Pokemon sells about 15 million copies. If even only 1 in 20 buy two copies that’s a staggering number.
 
Jun 23, 2019
2,132
Because it isn't, and the double packs are also a very recent thing.
You must mean officially tracked by Nintendo because I can tell you I very vividly remember my father bringing home a Red and Blue double pack back in 1996 for myself and my little brother. It was in a plastic packaging. I wish I could find a picture of it.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
That is not evidence. That is an assumption. You are making an assumption and then chastising based on that assumption.
It is evidence, and it's an incredibly safe assumption. But hey I also created a thread, and over 50% of votes indicate multiple copies purchased per household, unsurprisingly. Admittedly it's a very small and niche sample, but as someone who operates a Pokemon oriented website, do you have any data on the matter that might contradict the incredibly uncontroversial idea that parents of multiple kids might often buy both versions?
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905
It is evidence, and it's an incredibly safe assumption. But hey I also created a thread, and over 50% of votes indicate multiple copies purchased per household, unsurprisingly. Admittedly it's a very small and niche sample, but as someone who operates a Pokemon oriented website, do you have any data on the matter that might contradict the incredibly uncontroversial idea that parents of multiple kids might often buy both versions?
Per household because there are different people.

You were implying parents buying the double pack for 1 child, not for 2. You were disingenuous with your wording because even I myself said
Sure, double packs exist, but that's more for households that have two people; couples, siblings, friends etc., not for people to buy both.
Which is the purpose of the double pack, for people with multiple children, families, siblings, partners etc.

So why are you arguing me with this?

You must mean officially tracked by Nintendo because I can tell you I very vividly remember my father bringing home a Red and Blue double pack back in 1996 for myself and my little brother. It was in a plastic packaging. I wish I could find a picture of it.
Yeah I mean official ones. The first official one hit with ORAS in Japan and Europe.