The Pokémon games have seen a meteoric rise in recent years with 2013’s Pokémon X and Y selling over 12 million units worldwide and becoming the fastest selling games on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld console. Nintendo released sales figures for past Pokémon titles exceeding X and Y with Black and White selling over 15 million units albeit with a longer lifespan, and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl racking up over 17 million units sold as the best-selling overall title.
Beyond the games, Pokémon merchandise has been a longtime staple of Nintendo-licensed product lines, including the wildly popular Pokemon Trading Card Game which is also available as an online video game. Nearing the collector card game’s 20th anniversary, the Pokémon Company has decided to give fans a chance to collect the original set of cards by re-releasing them in 2016.
Announced on the trading card game’s official Japanese website, on February 27th, fans will be able to get the original set of Pokémon cards that includes 60 trading cards, a coin, and a manual. The set of cards, identical to their originals, has been announced to launch only in Japan, with no confirmation yet of a Western release. The Pokémon Company also announced, via Polygon, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration that Pokémon Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue will be getting special edition 2DS systems as well as re-releases of the original games to the 3DS eShop on the same day. These are also exclusive to Japan and represent the first 2DS models in the country.
As the franchise continues to attain commercial success, it is a perfect time to re-release the original set of cards on the 20th anniversary, and it could be leading up to the announcement of the next Pokémon title that may be available for the upcoming Nintendo NX console as well as the 3DS. Nintendo will surely try to lure in its handheld fanbase with their yet-to-be-unveiled NX platform since it is set to be a cross between a handheld and a console, potentially bridging the gap between the company’s player bases on the Wii U and 3DS respectively.
Expanding Pokémon’s reach to the home console market, something fans have clamored for over the years, might be more likely than ever thanks to what is known about the hybrid nature of the NX. So the timing of these announcements is one Nintendo can capitalize on. The company will also have to factor in their approach towards smartphone mobile games as they venture into the space next year but claim to have have plans to port existing Nintendo games to these platforms.