Earlier this week, the Asia Nikkei published an interview with Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company.
In this interview, Tsunekazu Ishihara explains that smart devices have become the key tool for the gaming industry: both as an actual game platform, but also as a promotional tool. In order to promote Pokémon, they have the anime series, which is broadcast in over 95 countries, but this is a pretty costly and time-consuming endeavour.
With smart devices, they have direct access to over 1 billion users with a game like Pokémon GO, allowing The Pokémon Company to promote the series in a much more efficient way.
According to Tsunekazu Ishihara, Pokemon Go has “helped Pokemon fans in their 20s and 30s who had left Pokemon behind to rediscover the charm of the game series and the characters.” It’s also helped elderly people in their 50-60s discover mobile games. And in the west, Pokémon GO players are “typically shifting to console gaming”.
But even without smart devices, the game industry has changed radically over the past few years, what with the internet allowing news to spread almost instantaneously. For Tsunekazu Ishihara, it’s now pretty much crucial to release games simultaneously worldwide, which is something they started to do with Pokémon X and Y:
Today, for game developers, it’s a must to launch titles in all markets at the same time. Information can spread instantly online. If not, the excitement of those living in a region where a title has not yet been released could dissipate by the time they do get the chance to buy and play the game. We used to roll out titles in Japanese first, and editions in other languages would typically come six months later. However, we released the latest series in nine languages all at once.
Finally, Tsunekazu Ishihara mentions the accidents involving Pokémon GO players, and explain that safety has been an issue from the very early stages. In fact, one of the reasons the Pokémon GO accessory was created is safety, to make it so players don’t necessarily keep their eyes glued on the screen while walking around.
He also mentions a rather intriguing new device that The Pokémon Company and Nintendo are thinking of developing:
Together with Nintendo, we are thinking of developing a new device that can be played more safely.
Source: Asia Nikkei