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Pokemon and Mobile Games

Should Pokémon continue to make mobile games?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 15.8%
  • No

    Votes: 16 84.2%

  • Total voters
    19
Blast Turtle
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So the June 24th Pokémon Presents thread has now been locked, and with it some discussion regarding Pokémon and mobile games. Since I thought the topic was interesting, I decided to make a general discussion thread about it. Some questions to jumpstart the thread:
  • Should TPCi continue to make mobile games?
  • Do you think the mobile games have a net positive effect on the franchise as a whole or are they more of a detriment, or do they have no effect at all?
  • Related to above, do you think that mobile games causing GameFreak to make the Pokémon games easier and/or simpler?
  • Do you think TPCi and/or GameFreak are shifting towards mobile games and, if so, are they focusing on them too much, too little, or are they giving them just the right amount of focus?
 
Now with Mega Evolution
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If they can make a quality mobile game, then go for it. Mobile games shouldn’t inherently be taboo, it’s just the monetary practices that often come with them are sketchy.

From a business perspective, mobile gaming is a huge part of the market and it would be weird if the highest grossing media franchise ever did not participate in it.

I really don’t think mobile gaming has much of an effect on the main series. Any qualms people have with main titles seem unrelated, to me. Especially since the majority of mobile games have nothing to do with GameFreak’s developers.

And finally, I don’t foresee Pokémon moving towards a fully or even majority mobile presence. Their core games and even most of their more popular spin-offs are on consoles. That’s also where most of their revenue is generated. An uptick in mobile titles is to be expected due to the market. It doesn’t equate to a major shift in platform or gameplay.
 
Laid to Wake
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Should TPCi continue to make mobile games?
It's a booming field for game development and a massive potential market, so it would be silly for them to not pursue it with Pokémon's global reach and brand power. Like swiftgallade says, the issue is more about how they make their money within the application. Predatory practices are very common in mobile gaming, and I think most people would agree that they should refrain from such practices (I mean, obviously most people would agree that companies should not be parasitic and unethical in their methods). But realistically speaking, will they? Hmm. I mean, personally my experience with mobile Pokémon gaming is very limited. There are certainly some aspects of GO that I think are a bit manipulative or exploitative (eggs for sure), but on the whole, I don't think it's hard to play it without paying, or to get good Pokémon without doing a zillion raids. I do put money into it sometimes, but I'm generally pretty in control of it. Though on the other hand, I guess there clearly are plenty of people feeding tons of cash into it, or else it wouldn't be raking in a billion dollars annually. So maybe I'm just more personally immune to predatory practices than I give myself credit for... not to say that success of a product inherently suggests an exploited consumer base, but it seems undeniable that there must be a lot of monetized incentives in GO that appeal to people, and I think it would be easy for that to consume some of the players.

So mark me down as "somewhat concerned??" with a healthy side of "well frankly most luxuries are already products of torture or human rights violations somehow, and yes that's extremely depressing"

Do you think the mobile games have a net positive effect on the franchise as a whole or are they more of a detriment, or do they have no effect at all?
I think for the most part there is no major effect, other than GO being an absolute monster moneymaker, which is probably quite positive in the sense of enabling them to keep producing games and merchandise with a very strong safety cushion beneath them. GO probably also worked wonders for the franchise's global profile.

The main series games continue to roll out apace, and the franchise as a whole seems to be at it's most popular point since Pokémania. I don't think I can see how they might have been a detriment in particular unless you were a really big fan of the console-based spin-offs that the mobile games are displacing, but even those have not been totally absent.

Related to above, do you think that mobile games causing GameFreak to make the Pokémon games easier and/or simpler?
I think Game Freak take cues from the world around them; they see that mobile gaming is a huge presence and is very popular, and so it makes sense to tailor their games to some degree in a way that could appeal to people who might otherwise not be interested. I mean, we have them on record about that. It's easy, as a long-time hardcore fan, to slip into a mindset where you compare the games coming out now to the games that you played when you were younger, but the pace of the world has changed a lot since then, and the landscape of video games has changed a lot since then as well. Pokémon is constantly bringing in new fans who might have different sensibilities when it comes to how they're used to playing games, and I think Game Freak are aware of that. Though I don't think that's all it comes down to - people often complain about the "linearity" of the newer games, but that set in starting with Gen 5 because Game Freak took account of negative feedback saying that Sinnoh was hard to navigate and many young players didn't bother finishing the game. So I think they also just want to avoid things like that. So regions become easier to navigate, TMs become more usable, leveling up becomes faster, and the barrier of entry into the competitive sphere gets lower and lower. These all strike me as good improvements, but I think they also have the side-effect of making games that were never really that hard to begin with feel even easier since they reduce grind time.

That said, the core formula of the main series remains essentially unchanged to this day, so I don't get the feeling that they're terribly interested in reworking anything about the vital mechanics too much. Arguably it is that very formulaism that has helped the series stand the test of time and retain a feeling of accessibility. We can argue about the paring down of side-content until the cows come home and whether or not it makes sense to do that, but on balance, there's not a huge difference between the experience offered to people by Sword & Shield today and the experienced offered to people by Red & Blue or Ruby & Sapphire back then. It's just bigger, faster, and more global.

Do you think TPCi and/or GameFreak are shifting towards mobile games and, if so, are they focusing on them too much, too little, or are they giving them just the right amount of focus?
Well Game Freak definitely aren't since their only mobile title is Quest.

TPC... well, for all that GO was insanely successful, their other mobile titles actually haven't fared too spectacularly, often being shuttered only a few years after they launched. Of course, maybe "a few years" is all they go into something like Duel or Masters expecting and it's all fine, but if they're trying to make something with staying power, then they could probably stand to reconsider their approach. Which may be what they're trying to do with Unite - if you can't combine the brand power of Pokémon with the profile of Tencent to produce a game in one of the biggest genres in the world with crossplay compatibility and access to an untapped market in China, and have that succeed, then you must be doing something very wrong.

But like, I guarantee you that they do market research and stuff to determine how much of an audience there is for mobile games, or other sorts of spin-offs or endeavors. I don't have access to their internal data and so I don't think I can really say how much they should be focusing on one or the other. The main series games haven't been very directly affected by any mobile ventures since the latter aren't usually developed by Game Freak, and I personally don't have a whole ton of interest in spin-offs, period, regardless of platform, so I'm not too bothered by how much they're focusing on mobile games.
 
Not Dead
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I'm pretty indifferent. I enjoyed Masters for a while (and still do to some extent, but it's become a little frustrating). but never wanted to go outside for Go. The main series was negatively affected in the transition to the 3DS, back when the only mobile Pokemon games were obscure. So even if Masuda used mobile games as an excuse back then, I don't accept that logic.

That’s also where most of their revenue is generated.
Over 3 billion dollars from Go alone, as of last October, would suggest otherwise. If you count all the 3DS/Switch console games released in the same period (July 2016 to October 2019), and even add the boost to XY and ORAS' sales due to Go's launch, you still end up with about 1.9 billion. Granted, if you add SwSh the total is close to 3 billion, but Go is just one game and it keeps selling after 4 years.

If you mean direct revenue for Game Freak, obviously they need to focus on their own games. But TPC is a whole different story:

FY2012: $16.6 million
FY2013: $10.6 million
FY2014: $18.4 million
FY2015: $5.6 million
FY2016: $143.3 million
FY2017: $80.8 million
FY2018: $124.0 million
 
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Over 3 billion dollars from Go alone, as of last October, would suggest otherwise. If you count all the 3DS/Switch console games released in the same period (July 2016 to October 2019), and even add the boost to XY and ORAS' sales due to Go's launch, you still end up with about 1.9 billion. Granted, if you add SwSh the total is close to 3 billion, but Go is just one game and it keeps selling after 4 years.

If you mean direct revenue for Game Freak, obviously they need to focus on their own games. But TPC is a whole different story:

FY2012: $16.6 million
FY2013: $10.6 million
FY2014: $18.4 million
FY2015: $5.6 million
FY2016: $143.3 million
FY2017: $80.8 million
FY2018: $124.0 million
I know this gets said a lot, but Go is most certainly an anomaly. Most of its revenue (based on the data you posted here) seems to come from its debut year when it became part of a huge trend and then taper off gradually (as most games do, of course). Do you happen to know if Go’s yearly gross revenue for just 2019 or 2018 is comparable to the main series’ releases for those years?
 
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To me, they should stop making any more microtransaction-based mobile games. Make it a policy on mobile and any other platform that their games must be sold at a fixed price - End of story.

Really, though: Microtransactions have become the bane of mobile, and I predict that in the upcoming years, people will get even more weary of them. What better PR could the franchise get by removing them over time? It would be big for both the main series games and console spinoffs, as there's more incentive to make those games acually "fun", rather than make games just to annoy people into spending money on them.
 
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Honestly I don't really care since they don't take away from the main series and I don't really like mobile games anyway because of their whaling practices and predatory micro transactions. But... if people don't mind paying and it generates revenue for TPC then good for them.

I tried Duel, Rumble and Masters but didn't like them so I deleted the apps and that was it. I was never interested in Go since I hate the mechanic for catching pokemon. However, my boyfriend got me hooked on shuffle and the game just becomes impossible later on, you need to pay or be very, very lucky and patient (which I'm not). I spent a couple bucks on it but later regretted it. I know MT are common feature of mobile games but that doesn't mean its right for them to have them.
 
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I know this gets said a lot, but Go is most certainly an anomaly. Most of its revenue (based on the data you posted here) seems to come from its debut year when it became part of a huge trend and then taper off gradually (as most games do, of course).
I don't think that's accurate. GO's own yearly revenue has progressed as follows:

2016 - $832 million
2017 - $589 million
2018 - $816 million
2019 - $894 million (its most successful year yet)
 
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I don't think that's accurate. GO's own yearly revenue has progressed as follows:

2016 - $832 million
2017 - $589 million
2018 - $816 million
2019 - $894 million (its most successful year yet)
Interesting, I wonder why that is?


But yeah, the point remains. Even with Go’s success, Pokémon continues to place focus and emphasis on their console titles. I don’t really foresee any other mobile titles coming close to Go’s popularity.
 
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You can't really blame Pokemon for going to this market, as mobile phones are not the future but the present already, and helps the brand to get more recognition for those who aren't completely invested in consoles. The problem is that the games have been hit or miss because of three factors:

  • Creativity: Not every game has to reinvent the wheel, but it has to look attractive even for people who aren't invested in the genre. A good example is Masters, if it had used only Pokemon instead of game characters I doubt it would have lived a full semester, and it introduced people into gatcha. Bad examples are obviously Unite, and Rumble. I had a decent time playing Rumble World, but every level feel the same, so when Rumble Rush was announced promising the very same game it was a very easy "pass".
  • Microtransactions: Most games don't run on charity, so money is inevitable. However, there should be a symbiotic relationship between money and enjoyment. The game should be playable without money, and if it isn't then make it clear through marketing. Also, the money invested has to feel worthwhile and make your game closer to a console experience, nobody wants a game that keeps asking $$ for very small stuff or for slight chances of something good.
  • Games dying: This is a topic that should be discussed more on the fandom. These days TPCi just prefers to kill apps that don't produce enough money, instead of producing alternatives so those games could be played offline. While money-wise it makes sense, it hurts the brand as the few people who got attacked to the game and who invested time and money will be disappointed and will think it twice before downloading another Pokemon mobile game.
So yeah, just because mobile games are seen as ways to waste your time and money doesn't mean Pokemon has to follow suit, and they should strive for every game to be interesting and fun to play.
 
ᴅʀɪꜰᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ ᴀ ᴍᴇᴍᴏʀʏ
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  • Games dying: This is a topic that should be discussed more on the fandom. These days TPCi just prefers to kill apps that don't produce enough money, instead of producing alternatives so those games could be played offline. While money-wise it makes sense, it hurts the brand as the few people who got attacked to the game and who invested time and money will be disappointed and will think it twice before downloading another Pokemon mobile game.
i think this is my biggest gripe with pokemon mobile games as it stands. i wonder how many people remember pokemon duel and magikarp jump, with rumble rush joining these two in the grave of irrelevancy soon. i question why i should bother with the next mobile game when the plug is going to be pulled on it soon, anyway. it's because of this that i'm under the belief that TPC is trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice. first with GO, and now they're trying to make another mobile game stick.

this also makes me wonder if Masters is still profitable. it's been a solid year and then some, hasn't it?
 
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No. Mobile games invite a slew of awful business practices such as microtransactions and gacha. These kinds of business practices are utterly corrupt and quite frankly should be illegal (or at least heavily regulated to the point where any game with them instantly gets an 18+ rating and there are limits on how much money a player can spend on the game). And quite frankly, marketing a game towards an audience that generally doesn't care about the IP and isn't willing to put in the money to support the series is fairly shortsighted, those people are inevitably going to get bored and move on to the next thing.
 
How would Pokemon change if GO didn't exist? New
ᴅʀɪꜰᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ ᴀ ᴍᴇᴍᴏʀʏ
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question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
 
Bringing the Thunder
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question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
I don't think you can separate the two. Go was made specifically to appeal to the mobile market, so something like Go would've been made regardless. I think you have to go a step further to really see if anything changes, if the mobile market didn't exist to begin with, would there be more of a focus on console experiences or would the games still be as cheap as SwSh? And that would be a difficult question. There'd certainly be more pressure on Pokemon to step things up on Switch if it was their only option for Pokemon games, but with people still buying everything regardless they could still hold out. I would say they'd probably continue to hold out at first, but I think they would improve things sooner than they would now.
 
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question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
If GO never happened and there was never a Pokémon mobile game that garnered such widespread success, I can see TPCi either continually trying to produce a cash-cow mobile game like GO, or, on the other hand, focus more on console but continue to produce mobile games, most likely ones with short lifespans.
 
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question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
The transition to the mobile market was inevitable, but I believe the success of GO has led them to put more time and resources into the mobile market; time and resources that could have been spent creating and developing new, unique spinoff games for console.

That being said, the death of the 3DS and lack of no solely handheld-dedicated system would make successful spinoffs difficult to come by, in my opinion.
 
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  • Should TPCi continue to make mobile games?
  • Do you think the mobile games have a net positive effect on the franchise as a whole or are they more of a detriment, or do they have no effect at all?
  • Related to above, do you think that mobile games causing GameFreak to make the Pokémon games easier and/or simpler?
  • Do you think TPCi and/or GameFreak are shifting towards mobile games and, if so, are they focusing on them too much, too little, or are they giving them just the right amount of focus?
While I voted "no", I never played a mobile game because I simply don't have the time or interest to invest on it, but I'd like to have long-running app that would let me carry my Pkmn from any of the more recent main games, just like Pkwalker.

As for the questions raised:
1 - Even though I think they shouldn't, they'll continue.
2 - I believe that taking the current status of the main games and lack of actual improvement, they should focus more on these than mobile games, hence why I think that the mobile games may be a detriment to the main games but not to the franchise. Most people that I know that still play GO were already big Pkmn fans and they saw Go as an extension of their liking, so for those people it might seems fine and not a problem to the franchise.
3 - No, the games were already easy due to wanting to always keep atracting newer and younger generations of players and fans. That said, some part of it in recent years may have something to do with atracting those causal gamers.
4 - I hope not but almost every major Japanese company has a big hand and investment made in the mobile sector, so this is something to always be considered by them. AT least they're not investing in pachinko machines like crappy Konami.


question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
Seeing the trend in Japanese companies, the branching into mobile was inevitable unless we were speaking of a small-scale franchise but being Pkmn, they had more opportunities to have some success in that department.
As for being more focused on console games, no. If they were to be more focused, we would've seen it before GO with new games having more development time, more new features built upon the existing ones back when there was no Dexit, so I don't believe that GO had an impact on that subject.
 
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question for the sake of curiosity: how do you think the pokemon gaming world would change if Pokemon GO wasn't a thing? do you think TPC/Game Freak would be a lot more focused on console games, or do you guys think the jump to the mobile market would've been an inevitability?
I still think it would happened eventually. Mobile games are the most popular form of gaming in Japan, so I think it was inevitable. Iwata once said that Nintendo would never do mobile games, but that's clearly not the case now.


I really don’t think mobile gaming has much of an effect on the main series. Any qualms people have with main titles seem unrelated, to me. Especially since the majority of mobile games have nothing to do with GameFreak’s developers.
I disagree on this statement. Masuda mentioned in an interview that the reason XY were easy was because they thought with domination of mobile games, children wouldn't have the attention span for a difficult game. For Let's Go, the games were more streamlined because they fear that children might drop the game if its too long or hard and go back to playing mobile games. Its definitely influenced design choices recently.
i think this is my biggest gripe with pokemon mobile games as it stands. i wonder how many people remember pokemon duel and magikarp jump, with rumble rush joining these two in the grave of irrelevancy soon. i question why i should bother with the next mobile game when the plug is going to be pulled on it soon, anyway. it's because of this that i'm under the belief that TPC is trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice. first with GO, and now they're trying to make another mobile game stick.

this also makes me wonder if Masters is still profitable. it's been a solid year and then some, hasn't it?
This is also a problem:

  • Pokémon Duel, 2017-2019
  • Magikarp Jump, final update 3 months after launch
  • Pokémon Shuffle, updated from launch in 2015 to 2018
  • Pokémon Quest, no updates expected
  • Pokémon Rumble Rush, shutdown after one year
  • Pokémon Masters, required drastic improvements post-launch

Wonder if TPC should focus on one mobile game and focusing on one mobile game similar to Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem instead of trying to release multiple games and trying to whale as much money, because that practice as resulted in a lot of game failures.

If mobile games did not become thing, I'd imagine spin offs would still be a thing, since mobile games have overshadowed spin offs for the most part.
 
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I voted no, but it might have been out of spite mixed with fear. I know that Game Freak/TPCi is not EA, but the way EA has dealt with The Sims, gradually spending more and more marketing and money on mobile games, has left a bad taste in my mouth. Mobile gaming might be more of a symptom than the problem, of course, but I really don't like the direction the gaming world is heading in.

That said, if we keep getting quality content in Pokemon games, then I won't complain. Much.
 
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