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

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,285
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.
1 out of 20 is statical noise you don't design your game around.

Ever. Unless it'S a whale catching game which Pokémon isn't
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
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
If my wording was poor and made you think I was implying one child, I apologize. But I was most definitely not being intentionally disingenuous.

And I'm arguing with you because with the vast majority of games, parents buy only one copy for the household. Trying to sell multiple copies to a single household, even if it's for multiple children, is still a financial motivation for the two-version model.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
1 out of 20 is statical noise you don't design your game around.

Ever. Unless it'S a whale catching game which Pokémon isn't
Firstly 1 in 20 is not statistical noise. Secondly I’ve said before I don’t believe the game was designed around making people buy two copies. I do think TPC takes advantage of the fact they know people do, but I also think if you’re enough of a mug to buy two copies of the same game on day one, you’ve got it coming to you.
 

Marukoban

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,234
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.
Yes and I don’t see any problem with that. Those people either someone else to play with (share with partner, family, friends, etc) or just like to collect.
Why is this an issue? Those people are just minority.

Having 2 versions also encourage social interaction. I know for me at least, having 2 versions encourage me to discuss with friends which version to get, share and trade. If I can get everything in 1 version, I will just play like any other single player RPG.
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,285
If my wording was poor and made you think I was implying one child, I apologize. But I was most definitely not being intentionally disingenuous.

And I'm arguing with you because with the vast majority of games, parents buy only one copy for the household. Trying to sell multiple copies to a single household, even if it's for multiple children, is still a financial motivation for the two-version model.
Most of my friends with kids buy games for a specific kid. especially handheld ones. As such, doubles exist (and happen) because it creates less friction/tension if kids have their own games instead of fighting over them among themselves.

And Pokémon is an excellent example of that, each kid has his/her version and everyone's happy. Growing having to share computers and games with 3 brothers was miserable :( But as the oldest, I made the rules!

Firstly 1 in 20 is not statistical noise. Secondly I’ve said before I don’t believe the game was designed around making people buy two copies. I do think TPC takes advantage of the fact they know people do, but I also think if you’re enough of a mug to buy two copies of the same game on day one, you’ve got it coming to you.
In game/software development/project management it's pointless chatter that would distract from it. So yes, 5% of your potential customers are not beeing targeted as a design goal, it'S the other 95% that make the bulk of the decision making.

Again unless you design a gatcha, exploitative game specifically targetting whales but this isn'T the case here.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
In game/software development/project management it's pointless chatter that would distract from it. So yes, 5% of your potential customers are not beeing targeted as a design goal, it'S the other 95% that make the bulk of the decision making.

Again unless you design a gatcha, exploitative game specifically targetting whales but this isn'T the case here.
Read my post again.
 
Feb 20, 2019
776
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


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?


Yeah I mean official ones. The first official one hit with ORAS in Japan and Europe.
Oh come on, don't act like he didn't mean that he was talking about siblings.


The thing is that people still defend the two versions thungs when it's really fucking useless. Version exclusives? Is that the whole point? Trading?

Did you guys forget trade evolutions, or even trading that doesn't imply exclusives? Sometimes you just don't want to struggle at finding a dreepy and may just trade one with a friend whi breeds them. There's also shinies, natures, etc.

But instead we keep on believing that having to version of the same game is necessary and that it's important for trading. And of course, GF uses that as a way to sell more copies. It's understandable because they're a company but maybe it's time to actually give a damn about making one big complete game
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
Most of my friends with kids buy games for a specific kid. especially handheld ones. As such, doubles exist (and happen) because it creates less friction/tension if kids have their own games instead of fighting over them among themselves.

And Pokémon is an excellent example of that, each kid has his/her version and everyone's happy. Growing having to share computers and games with 3 brothers was miserable :( But as the oldest, I made the rules!
Fair, I can see that happening... especially if the parents can afford multiple systems. As a former kid, I know they don't like to share. lol

But I think most households would probably expect their kids to share, say, a copy of Dragon Quest XI instead of each getting their own copy... even if the game was originally a Christmas present given to a specific kid who asked for it.
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,285
Fair, I can see that happening... especially if the parents can afford multiple systems. As a former kid, I know they don't like to share. lol

But I think most households would probably expect their kids to share, say, a copy of Dragon Quest XI instead of each getting their own copy... even if the game was originally a Christmas present given to a specific kid who asked for it.
Dragon Quest is a single player game. Pokémon has multi at its core.
 

Fularu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,285
I did and saying it a third time won'T change it. TPC isn't taking advantage of anything since it's not part of their design process. You're creating a link of correlation that doesn't exist because it fits your ill concieved belief of what is exploitative in those games.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
I did and saying it a third time won'T change it. TPC isn't taking advantage of anything since it's not part of their design process. You're creating a link of correlation that doesn't exist because it fits your ill concieved belief of what is exploitative in those games.
Listen mate, if you’re going to argue with me, argue with what I actually say. Not with whatever you find easiest to argue against.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
Dragon Quest is a single player game. Pokémon has multi at its core.
Local multiplayer is feasible with a single copy.

It would only be an issue if each kid has their own Switch and wants to take it to school to trade/battle, at which point yes multiple copies would be needed even if there were only a single version.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
How does local multiplayer work when half the strategy involves hard reads on what your opponent is going to select? Watching them choose moves kind of defeats the purpose just like playing poker with both players cards on display.
Pokemon Stadium found a solution to that decades ago.

If you are unfamiliar with it, it works similar to Persona 5's menu system. Moves are mapped to buttons, so you don't choose them by navigating a menu in a way that'd allow your opponent to see what you selected. You simply press the button that the move is assigned to.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,738
Button shortcuts? sure, but it still shows their options.
That is true. But the alternative is no local multiplayer, so I'd still rather they have it as an option even if it's not perfect. And one could argue that being able to see what the opponent's options are simply changes the multiplayer experience, rather than making it objectively worse.
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,472
That is true. But the alternative is no local multiplayer, so I'd still rather they have it as an option even if it's not perfect. And one could argue that being able to see what the opponent's options are simply changes the multiplayer experience, rather than making it objectively worse.
I dunno, not knowing they have a focus sash and going for the one hit KO is pretty huge for example.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
That is true. But the alternative is no local multiplayer, so I'd still rather they have it as an option even if it's not perfect. And one could argue that being able to see what the opponent's options are simply changes the multiplayer experience, rather than making it objectively worse.
You know what? I think I’ve worked out an actual use for the Nintendo Online App
 

MoonToon

Member
Nov 9, 2018
637
Cross posting from another

Very few people I know actually buy both and it's usually just collectors.
Oh yay, I'm one of the rare "non-collector" ones ...

As said here
Pokemon sells about 15 million copies. If even only 1 in 20 buy two copies that’s a staggering number.
These are some big numbers.

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"

Uhhh, how bout this?

Game comes in ONE version.
You pick a Fire starter.
Prof: Ohhh, you picked a fire starter! Good choice, not too as many of those in these parts as there use to be ... maybe you can find someone willing to trade you some of the rarer fire type Pokemon on your journey.

Boom, game has a list of idk ... 9 pokemon that are divided between the water/ grass/ fire types, whatever type of Pokemon you pick as your starter blocks out that selection of Pokemon or just makes them extra fucking rare, encouraging you to trade with others to get them BUT you already have a strong Pokemon of that type anyway so you don't suffer in the main game from having 3 fewer options for that type in your play through.
And in your fire type play through you can catch the 3 water types and 3 grass types other players would be missing so it's no prob getting someone to trade you the fire types you can't get.

Would actually make more sense to me then the often times random seeming version exclusives.

"Hey, I picked Grookey and you got Sobble, right? Do you have these grass types yet?"
 
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marcbret87

Member
Apr 20, 2018
263
Firstly 1 in 20 is not statistical noise. Secondly I’ve said before I don’t believe the game was designed around making people buy two copies. I do think TPC takes advantage of the fact they know people do, but I also think if you’re enough of a mug to buy two copies of the same game on day one, you’ve got it coming to you.
Pretty much. I've been a Pokemon fan since the beginning and at no point I felt that I needed to buy the two versions. I remember getting Red and my best friend getting Blue, and we managed to complete the Dex together with some other guys. At the time that was pretty cool.

I don't know if the whole thing with the two versions came from a technical limitation that they somehow turned into an arguably genius marketing move, but it has been a staple of a wildly successful series for a long time, so why change?
 

LossAversion

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,103
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
I guess so. I just don't think it's a big deal to have two slightly different versions of a game but like I said, I would never get both versions.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
The funny thing about this conversation is that reducing Pokemon to 1 version does not solve the problem of needing to buy two copies of a game for the houshold if they have two kids, for example. It actually does nothing at all because there are hardly any double dippers. This goes for any game, double dippers are the tiniest minority, statistical noise for every game in existence.
 

lvl 99 Pixel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
17,472
but the entire reason why you need to trade is that you can't have all the pokemon in one version.
You trade because people are offering up Pokemon which are harder to acquire (or if you just want to trade something with a friend). Even if there was only one version people would still use trading features a lot.
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
Verified
Oct 24, 2017
6,905
The funny thing about this conversation is that reducing Pokemon to 1 version does not solve the problem of needing to buy two copies of a game for the houshold if they have two kids, for example. It actually does nothing at all because there are hardly any double dippers. This goes for any game, double dippers are the tiniest minority, statistical noise for every game in existence.
Thank you
 

Kolibri

Member
Nov 6, 2017
834
The funny thing about this conversation is that reducing Pokemon to 1 version does not solve the problem of needing to buy two copies of a game for the houshold if they have two kids, for example. It actually does nothing at all because there are hardly any double dippers. This goes for any game, double dippers are the tiniest minority, statistical noise for every game in existence.
Like every other game in existance? I think it'd fine.
So they could just make one version without little exclusive differences, which stopped making sense ever since online became a thing.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
The core tenants of Pokemon are about socializing, friendships, and bonding. Reducing it to 1 version is definitely going to remove a majority of the socializing outside of just battling.
You trade because people are offering up Pokemon which are harder to acquire. Even if there was only one version people would still use trading features a lot.
Kids and adults save scum all the time for those harder to acquire Pokemon. Trading would definitely have reduced impact and less socializing around it. There are a lot of people streaming Pokemon and asking their chat what versions they got, hunting down certain Pokemon they cannot obtain. If most could just simply obtain everything then there's going to be a lot less people asking for trades.

1 version of Pokemon would need to see drastic changes to the formula and how Pokemon appear in the game, where they appear in the game, and the frequency that they appear in the game. How much is too much Pokemon in a single game up front? Would it become overwhelming to have 700+ in a single title so that it's better randomized and different from player to player (as some seem to be suggesting in this thread)? How does one balance the amount of new Pokemon and the old Pokemon so there doesn't feel like too much of either or? There's many more questions to be asked here but I'm sleepy as it's 4:30 in the morning.

None of these questions are being answered, but everyone is readily throwing around how easy the solution is without going into the specifics. This isn't even going into the development side and how Pokemon is generally a logistics nightmare with the amount of Pokemon there are.

Like every other game in existance? I think it'd fine.
So they could just make one version without little exclusive differences, which stopped making sense ever since online became a thing.
I dunno. This thread has been making me think about Dragon Quest Monsters. Single copy version, but the socializing feels hardly there, though you can breed and trade with people in the Joker games. You can get all the monsters on a single cartridge and could do so since the very first Dragon Quest Monster on the Game Boy Color.
 
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marcbret87

Member
Apr 20, 2018
263
I think some people fail to understand that, while having two versions nowadays is perhaps not necessary and there might be other solutions, it has been part of the series DNA since the very beginning. And I do remember that at in the Gameboy this definitely promoted the social aspect that made the series such a huge hit. Hell, I can recall the school trips bringing my Gameboy along with my classmates to trade and battle. Since the series continues to be very much successful, why would you want to change a business model that works? Sure, if people double-dip Game Freak won't complain, but that's not the point of the game.
 

Yata

User requested ban
Banned
Feb 1, 2019
784
Spain
The core tenants of Pokemon are about socializing, friendships, and bonding. Reducing it to 1 version is definitely going to remove a majority of the socializing outside of just battling.

Kids and adults save scum all the time for those harder to acquire Pokemon. Trading would definitely have reduced impact and less socializing around it. There are a lot of people streaming Pokemon and asking their chat what versions they got, hunting down certain Pokemon they cannot obtain. If most could just simply obtain everything then there's going to be a lot less people asking for trades.

1 version of Pokemon would need to see drastic changes to the formula and how Pokemon appear in the game, where they appear in the game, and the frequency that they appear in the game. How much is too much Pokemon in a single game up front? Would it become overwhelming to have 700+ in a single title so that it's better randomized and different from player to player (as some seem to be suggesting in this thread)? How does one balance the amount of new Pokemon and the old Pokemon so there doesn't feel like too much of either or? There's many more questions to be asked here but I'm sleepy as it's 4:30 in the morning.

None of these questions are being answered, but everyone is readily throwing around how easy the solution is without going into the specifics. This isn't even going into the development side and how Pokemon is generally a logistics nightmare with the amount of Pokemon there are.
Wait a sec and I'll develop their games too in my spare time. What's even your point? All those questions are ones that are also in consideration in the two versions model.

Look, asking what version you want to play at the start of the game would change nothing in the formula, would still encourage people choosing a version and trading just like with two versions. The two version thing made a little bit of sense in the old days, now it's a glorified tradition to make more money. I can't believe this is even something that needs to be argued about. It's one of the smallest problems with the franchise because; yes, companies want money and they will take any opportunity to get more.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
Wait a sec and I'll develop their games too in my spare time. What's even your point? All those questions are ones that are also in consideration in the two versions model.

Look, asking what version you want to play at the start of the game would change nothing in the formula, would still encourage people choosing a version and trading just like with two versions. The two version thing made a little bit of sense in the old days, now it's a glorified tradition to make more money. I can't believe this is even something that needs to be argued about. It's one of the smallest problems with the franchise because; yes, companies want money and they will take any opportunity to get more.
And you'd still need to buy two copies for the 2 kids in your household so they can play together locally and trade. What difference does that make?
 

Yata

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Feb 1, 2019
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And you'd still need to buy two copies for the 2 kids in your household so they can play together locally and trade. What difference does that make?
Those cases are not the ones people are talking about, it's the die-hard fans, kids or not, who buy both versions just for completion's sake. It's barely scummy, in my opinion, but it IS scummy.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
Those cases are not the ones people are talking about, it's the die-hard fans, kids or not, who buy both versions just for completion's sake. It's barely scummy, in my opinion, but it IS scummy.
And they're going to do this regardless. How many people do you know that have bought multiple limited editions of something or every re-release. They have money to burn and they are the minority. Collectors have deep pockets and they don't care if they have to buy two versions or multiple versions of a game.


I know a guy who buys every copy of Fire Emblem from every region around the world. Multiple versions are nothing.
 

Yata

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And they're going to do this regardless. How many people do you know that have bought multiple limited editions of something or every re-release. They have money to burn and they are the minority. Collectors have deep pockets and they don't care if they have to buy two versions or multiple versions of a game.


I know a guy who buys every copy of Fire Emblem from every region around the world. Multiple versions are nothing.
I love mindless consumerism too!
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
I love mindless consumerism too!
Again they are the minority and are not what is keeping Pokemon afloat. Majority of people buy 1 version and only 1. If the majority of people were buying both then Sword and Shield would be more even in the charts.


They are tiny, they are statistical noise, they are irrelevant.
 

Serebii

Serebii.net Webmaster
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Oct 24, 2017
6,905
I like how you think this is some gotcha for actually needing to have 2 versions. What about the multiple other games that have only one version that would require multiple copies to be bought if you wanted to play them multiplayer?
Because the whole concept is not doing any harm and isn't a "shady business practice". Anyone who says otherwise hasn't looked at how the market actually is or likely hasn't even played the games as they keep pushing the "two versions for the FULL EXPERIENCE" when it's not the case
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Because the whole concept is not doing any harm and isn't a "shady business practice". Anyone who says otherwise hasn't looked at how the market actually is or likely hasn't even played the games as they keep pushing the "two versions for the FULL EXPERIENCE" when it's not the case
Who has been saying you need to play both games for the full experience?

You’ve also provided zero evidence that no one buys both versions of the game, except when they’re for two people (like siblings or friends) despite the other thread clearly showing there are people like that.

You keep crying ‘evidence evidence evidence’ despite the fact that it’s you making the unlikely claim without anything to back it up.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
Hardly anyone double dips. Even people on this forum don't often double dip and this is a forum of enthusiasts, veterans, die-hards, and collectors. The poll in that other thread regarding Pokemon and double dipping even shows a very, very, tiny minority buy both copies. The types who do double dipping are not a dime a dozen. They are unicorns.

And collector types are also unicorns. They'll often buy 1 copy to keep sealed, this could be a limited edition or not, and the other is a copy for them to play.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
Hardly anyone double dips. Even people on this forum don't often double dip and this is a forum of enthusiasts, veterans, die-hards, and collectors. The poll in that other thread regarding Pokemon and double dipping even shows a very, very, tiny minority buy both copies. The types who do double dipping are not a dime a dozen. They are unicorns.

And collector types are also unicorns. They'll often buy 1 copy to keep sealed, this could be a limited edition or not, and the other is a copy for them to play.
As I said before, the thread on era shows 1 in 6 sometimes buy both games. But if we assume that that’s not representative of the wider population and it’s instead something like 1 in 20...1 in 20 of 15 million copies is an insanely high number.
 

domthybomb

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
Because the whole concept is not doing any harm and isn't a "shady business practice". Anyone who says otherwise hasn't looked at how the market actually is or likely hasn't even played the games as they keep pushing the "two versions for the FULL EXPERIENCE" when it's not the case
If two versions aren't needed for the full experience, then why do we even have two versions?
 

ggx2ac

Sales Heaven or Sales Hell?
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,649
I did, and it's a bad take. We never design around those people, ever. You never design your software around a voical minority, contrary to what you seem to believe.
I did and saying it a third time won'T change it. TPC isn't taking advantage of anything since it's not part of their design process. You're creating a link of correlation that doesn't exist because it fits your ill concieved belief of what is exploitative in those games.
This reminds of people who think publishers release late ports to purposefully make people double dip rather than for... Finding a new audience.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,226
But plenty of games push social interaction far greater than pokemon does today with only one version.
I feel like with the expansion pass and the raids GF is really pushing for new social game features so I definitely think social is a core tenet of everything they do. And I also think having two game versions helps with that for kids. Yes there are alternatives, yes they’re probably partly still doing it because they can make more money doing it that way, but it’s also a tradition, and one that I’m sure most Pokémon fans like. I like it! And I like it better knowing there aren’t many differences because I don’t feel like I have to buy both.
 

ggx2ac

Sales Heaven or Sales Hell?
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,649
But plenty of games push social interaction far greater than pokemon does today with only one version.
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.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,622
As I said before, the thread on era shows 1 in 6 sometimes buy both games. But if we assume that that’s not representative of the wider population and it’s instead something like 1 in 20...1 in 20 of 15 million copies is an insanely high number.
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.