Pokemon started out not so many years ago as a video game ported to Game Boy. It became very popular very quickly and Nintendo quickly saw great opportunities in merchandising spinoffs Pokemon. These days it is a big worldwide industry whose spinoffs overshadow the flagship video game (which still leads the product line’s creative conceptions however) and include the animation series and movies, which have been translated into dozens of languages, Pokemon manga (comics), the very popular Pokemon card game, and countless Pokemon stuffed toys.
The spinoffs are kept ‘fresh’ by keeping up with the updates in the video game. The latest incarnation is Pokemon Black and white, and sure enough, this is what fans are going crazy for: Pokemon Black and white plush toys (stuffed toys), Pokemon Black and white game cards, Pokemon Black and white promo cards, and Pokemon Black and white Zuken figures. Both cards and toys can be very expensive collector’s items, and especially cards can become rare or be collectible because they are written in different languages. Cards can also be plain, promo, Legendary Pokemon, shiny suicune, shiny raikou, or shinny entei.
Everything associated with the merchandising of Pokemon spinoff goods is controlled by the Pokemon Company, an affiliate of Nintendo. All non-Asian production is under control of the Pokemon Company International, likewise an affiliate to its parent, Nintendo. Tomy and other 2nd and 3rd party companies handle the physical manufacturing of the goods, including the cards and stuffed toys. The game usually goes under the trade name of ‘Game Freak. ‘
Pokemon is an industry that generates an incredible $10, 000, 000 USD an hour in revenue. It also attracts imitations worldwide, and illegal copying of its Nintendo game seem to sprout up in markets around the world as soon as they are released. Behind corporations like Tomy however there is a vast amount of other industries and cottage industries behind the Pokemon line. Studios and their artists need to be hired for production of the animation, and the scriptwriters must work closely with Nintendo to make sure that the animation episodes are accurate. Worldwide dubbing of the episodes must also be handled legally.
In a free market, the Pokemon Company has no direct control over the sales of its products of course, but has, like the Apple Store, set Pokemon stores that sell only Pokemon goods exclusively. It is assumed that the company takes on the costs of running and promoting the stores, but enjoys the return in profits. Pokemon advertises little; it’s so popular that it doesn’t need to. Finally, there is a whole collector’s industry that revolves around old Pokemon games, cards, and stuffed toys. Most of these goods can be found on the internet. Gaming can be odd. In space games, it seems logical that the virtual space of the game would be divided into quadrates, and in each of these ‘territories’ different races would live. We humans have done this to the earth with nation states and within those nations created states, prefectures, and counties. We also do it by putting up fences or walls around our houses in the suburbs.
But this is not true for nature. Swallows migrate regardless of national borders and grasshoppers could give a whit about the fence that separates your grass from mine. Not so though with the Pokemon game. In the game, as well as in Pokemon animation, only certain Pokemon live and can be caught in specific sectors. Why the game was designed like that I’m not sure. Obviously, fish don’t live in trees and parrots don’t nest with penguins. But nature is quite fuzzy and the Pokemon geography is anything but.
By the way, there has been a new release of the popular Pokemon video game called Pokemon Black and white. It is so popular that Webmasters are postings warnings of slow servers due to all the heavy traffic in response to the release. Spinoff merchandise like Pokemon Black and white stuffed toys (called plushies); Pokemon Black and white cards for the evermore-challenging Pokemon card game, and new Pokemon Black and white promo cards are selling like crazy. The new Pokemon Black and white plush toys inventories are hard to keep in stock as well.
Of course, for the new Pokemon Black and white game a new sector has been created as the place to go to catch the new Pokemon. All the other old Pokemon are still waiting for you trainers as well of course. What is never explained in the game though is why Pokemon do not wander out of their sectors like normal animals would. Are their fences around them keeping them in?
It’s just as easy to design a ‘random appearance’ game as a ‘contained’ one. I think the game is designed to help the gamer keep sense of what Pokemon he has caught and if wants a particular new one, where to go to catch it. Dividing a game into sectors also ensures that the player will end up seeing all there is to see sooner or later. Like Mario, Pokemon is basically a maze game. You can design this in two ways. One, you can make the game linear like Mario so that each successive level is either more difficult or different in strategy, finishing out at a ‘top. ‘ Pokemon is more about winning battles in arenas though in a quest to becoming a Pokemon master. Does the fact that sectors are restricted in Pokemon take away from the game? I don’t think so.