I was a little confused when Pokemon Black and White 2 was announced this week for the Nintendo DS. Why isn’t the game coming to the 3DS?
It might come as a surprise to some people out there, but I’m actually a big fan of the Pokemon franchise and that’s not just nostalgia talking. I’ve grown up playing the series and I do have a sentimental attachment to it, but that’s not the only reason why I still enjoy Pokemon at the age of 23. If you can get passed the cuteness of the series, you’ll discover that it’s a deeply addictive, extremely entertaining franchise. Sure, the newer Pokemon are a little ridiculous looking (what the hell is this genie looking creature?), but the games are still reasonably entertaining and offer up a solid experience.
So back to my point; the 3DS has been out for a year. It’s doing great in both Japan and North America and has a growing library of amazing games. Why release Pokemon Black and White 2 on an almost eight-year-old handheld? From Nintendo’s financial perspective, I understand the decision. The DS has an install-base of 151 million, a number nobody can scoff at.
With all those consoles out there, it makes sense to release a title as huge as a Pokemon game on the console with the most potential buyers. The 3DS has sold 15 million units since it’s release almost a year and a half ago. It’s out-pacing the DS’ sales during that time period, but that’s still a small number when you compare it to the DS’ humongous base.
So that’s the financial argument from Nintendo’s perspective, but as a fan, I’d much rather see a new Pokemon title on the 3DS. Nintendo already pissed off early adopters of the 3DS last year with a much needed price drop (although the ambassador program did a pretty good job of rectifying the situation). I imagine the announcement of Pokemon Black and White 2 on the DS annoyed quite a few gamers who purchased the console soley for a new 3D Pokemon title.
I understand that the 3DS has the ability to play DS games, but a new title, specifically designed for the 3DS, that actually takes advantage of the consoles unique features, should be coming out at this point. Imagine the cool Spotpass and Streetpass features that Gamefreak could come up with? Trading Pokemon when you walk past another 3DS owner with the feature enabled, downloading new Pokemon automatically, the possibilities are almost limitless.
I know that a 3DS-specific Pokemon game will eventually be released at some point. It’s totally inevitable – sort of how a dual joystick redesign of the 3DS is bound to happen too – but at this stage of the 3DS’ life span the game should have already been announced. Obviously Pokemon Black and White 2 will play on the 3DS, but releasing it on an older console doesn’t really show that the big N has confidence in their new handheld. Also, I have a feeling that a direct sequel to the original Pokemon Black and White might confuse the franchise’s fans.
And what about Pokemon Grey? Usually, after the release of a major Pokemon title, a third improved game comes out a year or so later (Pokemon Yellow and Crystal are perfect examples). In the end, I know Pokemon Black and White 2 will sell an insane amount of copies regardless of what console it is release on. But if Nintendo wants to move more 3DS units, the game really should be coming out on the 3DS.
Either way, I can’t wait to try to catch em’ all again and since I skipped the first Pokemon Black and White, it’s been awhile.
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