Pokemon Unite is a new MOBA for mobile devices and Nintendo Switch from Nintendo and Tencent

Expect the Pokemon battle royale in seven years, then

    
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The disappointment, she burns.

Gosh, that… that headline basically says it all, doesn’t it? Yes, Nintendo has announced Pokemon Unite, which is a Pokemon MOBA, a genre that spawned countless imitators before it became clear that this town (read: genre) was only big enough (read: commercially viable) for about four of them (read: three of them and one kept afloat because admitting to a bad idea makes Blizzard break out in hives). Also, it’s being made with Tencent’s cooperation.

You can check out some early gameplay footage in the trailer below, although whatever you’re thinking of for “it’s a MOBA but with Blastoise and Pikachu instead of burly dudes and sexy ninja ladies” is probably not far from the truth. No information about release dates has yet been provided, although the announcement does mention that the game will be free-to-start (not free-to-play). So, you know… if you were holding off on the MOBA craze because it didn’t feature Gardevoir, Groudon, or Arceus, now you have a reason to… hope they get added eventually? Yeah.

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Sykes

I think you might be severely underselling this…I think this could be huge in Japan and China especially. I can’t take a bus here in Shanghai without hearing about the latest mobile games.

Made by the same studio as Arena of Valor/Honor of Kings (The top performing mobile MOBA’s international and Chinese release with 200 million active players in 2017 – twice the number of total WoW accounts ever created in all territories), they have TiMi’s proven touchscreen MOBA talent with Tencent’s money AND the Pokemon license. Given the controversy in China with Honor of King’s getting an article about addicting children in the People’s Daily that led to severe limitations on playtime and hours available, it’s easy to see some of their forwardness in this title. The timer that ensures matches involving younger players can only last 10-15 minutes feels designed to please both Chinese anti-addiction regulators and parents (rewarding a kid with one match is now easier when you know how long it should last). Maybe it won’t reach DOTA II heights in the West….but if it gets anywhere close to Arena of Valor, it’ll blow DOTA II out of the water in terms of players.

South China Morning Post: Honor of Kings reaches 200 million players in 2017
https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2101340/heres-why-tencents-honour-kings-has-200-million-players

The Verge: Chinese authorities cite Honor of Kings as example of gaming addictions gone wrong. Tencent responds with play restrictions
https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/4/15918624/tencent-china-gaming-addiction-honor-of-kings-limit

I’ve hit some of these restrictions myself when trying out Justice online (逆水寒)this week. After character creation and opening cinematics, players are met with China’s anti-addiction registration system requiring a national ID, which is similar to a US social security number that foreigners and Taiwanese/Macao players don’t have. I’m currently in the appeals/photo ID submission process with Netease to permit my account to be flagged as adult for the addiction monitors, without which I can’t play local Chinese MMOs.

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Rodrigo Dias Costa

I for one will be probably playing this day one. I like MOBAs and I like Pokémon, even though I usually drop quite fast from any game involving either.

Anyway I’ve started playing that Pokémon Cafe Mix thing today, and my 2 yo son showed up pointing and calling Pikachu… So that probably means this particular IP will keep selling anything they want to my household for a while…

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laelgon

Curious to see how they balance it being meant for small children, but knowing it’s also going to have the hardcore adult fanbase as well. That’s not me taking a jab at adults who play pokemon, I’ve been playing the latest one on Switch, but it is a franchise that’s always been built to be accessible in the extreme.

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Hikari Kenzaki

This will be big. Maybe not with the entire hardcore Pokemon fanbase, but it’s clearly designed to expand beyond that already very lucrative circle.

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NeoWolf

Not my cup of tea, but i’ve no doubt the little ones will go crazy over a pokemon moba :)

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Michael Fuchs

This looks pretty fun. I’ll def. give it a try.

For the free-to-start thing, that’s just weirdly what Nintendo calls their free to play games. They did the same for ES Blades, Dauntless, etc https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Nintendo-eShop/Free-to-start-games/Download-free-to-start-games-1369902.html

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McGuffn

That’s a more accurate description but strangely still annoying.

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TomTurtle

Not for me. I’m fine with those that are excited for it, but the whole Tencent involvement sucks to see.

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Greaterdivinity

Good ‘ol Nintendo, striking while the iron is hot and MOBA’s are all the rage.

For all the hate, they’ll still be laughing all the way to the bank, though.

*Cries in $3B of Pokemon Go revenue*

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Danny Smith

I’ve been a Pokemon fan since i got Red Version day of release back at the turn of the century when i was like 9 years old and i can honestly say this might be the most mad i’ve seen pokemon fans ever. Considering thats just over 20 years straight thats a hell of a record. Last i saw the announcement video is at 102K dislikes and skyrocketing. Thats Diablo immortal levels of salt.

Its almost like Tencent is absolute brand poison in the west. But i’m sure they paid enough and it gets The Pokemon company some more GBP with the CCP but even in japan people are screaming “kusoge” (slang for ‘shit game’) already.

But the sad fact is Pokemon makes more money than any other IP including the largest religious institutions bar maybe Catholocism. Its going to make bank in china and korea alone even if its dead in a week everywhere else.

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Danny Smith

-correction, Catholicism is only worth 30b, Pokemon is worth 90b and growing.

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McGuffn

That’s… something. And I doubt it is accurate. Catholicism has kind of slipped on the monetization though since Disney forced them to stop selling indulgences.

Plus there are lots of cool pokemon but how many top tier saints are there, really?