Note: like most articles on casual games, this article has been created with little research into the subject or my fellow commuters, much to their annoyance of hearing my iPad keyboard tapping.
Video games are the in the business of making money, correct? Well mostly, It’s the people that give you the games, the retailer, that want to make the money. Then it’s those huge publisher entities that distribute those games that enjoy the ol’ green paper. Then maybe, just maybe, the people that actually make the games, the developers, are next in the table. (That was sarcasm in case you thought otherwise)
iOS games have changed that. Kind of. Apple still take money as the retailer and distributor. The developers can get more money, unless the studio is owned by one of those big publisher types. Why am I explaining this fairly obvious business and wealth distribution model? Because it baffles me, seeing as how much that piece of paper with the Queens Head/Pyramid with eye/local dictator on it is desired by all of these people and yet, they miss a very obvious easy money.
Retro games have slowly come in to the mobile fold over the past four years as technology has increased. Rockstar are probably the most commercially successful with the releasing of a back catalogue. Sega have released a few things at a far earlier stage in the mobile games market. But here is the one I’m really confused about. Pokemon.
Ok, let me point out the obvious flaws in my plan. This is a Nintendo exclusive and so they never release a game on other platforms really. There is probably a hilariously complex set of rights issues stopping not only a rival release but also a previous game. Also releasing on a mobile platform might belittle the sales and effectiveness of their consoles, most notably the 2DS and 3DS. So why would they want to do it?
Simple. In the US, UK and Japan combined, Pokemon Red, Green and Blue (the original 1999 Gameboy releases) sold 23,810,000 copies approximately. So the reason to do this would be £47,381,900. I get that figure by working out that almost 24 million sales to the fair and modest figure of £1.99 on the App Store.
A mobile release of the original three games would cause such a nostalgia trip (remember most of these people with iPhone specifically probably had the game on the Gameboy) that you couldn’t resist. I couldn’t and I didn’t even have a Gameboy! The games are old enough not to dent anything that Nintendo are currently doing and it’s a very fat cash-in at a time where the company are arguably going to be on the back foot due to the now current generation’s ‘charge’ attack on the dazed gamer.
But those rights issues and competitor conflicts of interest – Nintendo would never allow a release of a Nintendo portable game on a mobile device at all. They would never… Oh wait. LOOPHOLE!!!
I present the evidence that the company will allow games to go to competitors for sales by developers. You can sit there in the dock, poor Nintendo; pleading innocence and feigning ignorance, but take this: EVIDENCE!!!!! POW! Alex Wright Ace Attorney. This game has in fact been released twice on iOS, once as a big complete edition and before as an easier package with add-ons for the fairly non-modest price of around £8.
So we’re saying that actually Nintendo could release maybe a coloured upscaled Pokemon Red, Green and Blue? That they could actually charge a more fair and profitable £4.99 as a guess? That’s a possible £118,811,900 in sales. I’m pretty sure once presented with those hastily constructed figures, shareholders would make Nintendo find a way to make this happen.