Pokemon and Nintendo have been an iconic duo ever since Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Red made their respective debuts for the original Game Boy in 1996. Ever since then, one of the biggest draws for Nintendo’s portable devices – and some of the company’s more stationary wares – have been games from Game Freak’s Pokemon series. There’s little doubt that the Pokemon franchise is quite lucrative, and the wild success of Pokemon GO proved that the franchise can take firm hold outside of Nintendo’s own devices.
Despite this continued success, however, it’s unlikely that the franchise will team up with the likes of Sony or Microsoft – at least, according to a Game Freak staff member.
The thoughts come straight from Junichi Masuda, who has been an employee at Game Freak since 1989, and has witnessed the partnership between both brands blossom faster than a Pikachu quick attack. During an interview with Game Informer, the 49-year-old industry veteran spoke about Nintendo’s brand familiarity and how it benefits the Pokemon franchise:
Everyone really knows Nintendo; there is a familiarity with the brand, and they have that really strong brand and Pokemon being associated with that and being affiliated with that brand is very important. With Pokemon, at least, we really feel it is really important to be with Nintendo, specifically with the Pokemon titles, so I don’t think that would ever happen.
While some could argue that Sony and Microsoft also have high brand familiarity, context matters; Nintendo is certainly known as a safe choice for young gamers, making it a safe bet for parents. While the Pokemon demographic has long been targeted at young audiences, many of those who grew up playing the games are still dedicated to becoming Pokemon masters themselves. As Pokemon GO proved last summer, both casual and hardcore fans alike found it easy to slip into the shoes of a Pokemon trainer and begin to try and catch ’em all.
Despite Junichi’s thoughts, one never truly knows where the future will lead, and that’s exactly why no pundits predicted that Nintendo and Ubisoft would combine their intellectual properties to make an XCOM-inspired tactical game this year. While it seems like Game Freak’s stance is pretty clear for the near future, that isn’t to say one day Pikachu won’t grace Sony or Microsoft’s consoles – but for now, gamers intent on spending quality time with Pikachu should either pick up a Nintendo console or take a journey in Pokemon GO.
Source: Game Informer