To date, there have been 70 Nintendo-sanctioned video games in the Pokémon franchise spanning 12 systems. This includes the main series as well as the Mystery Dungeon spinoffs, Pokémon-themed learning sims for children, electronic versions of the trading card game, Japan-exclusive mobile and PC apps, and those weird ones you can't even begin to categorize like Hey You, Pikachu.
That doesn't include the three upcoming games (Pokémon Black and White 2, and Pokémon Conquest), nor the countless other fan-made titles like the Pokémon tower defense Warcraft III custom game. It certainly doesn't include Pokémon World Online, the most official-looking third-party Pokémon-skinned MMO that's popular enough to be the very first search result when Googling "Pokémon MMO" (or hitting "I'm Feeling Lucky" if you're of that persuasion).
To sum it up: there are a lot of Pokéfans.
So why hasn't there been an official, Game Freak-developed, Nintendo-published Pokémon MMO?
(In case you're keeping count, the word Pokémon appears in this article ten times so far. Starting to sound weird, isn't it? Let's see if we can get that up to an even 20 and let the word lose all meaning, shall we?)
A few theories:
Lack of interest
HAHAHAHA--I mean, I think we can discount this theory.
Nintendo wants to keep the franchise family-friendly
Two gaping issues immediately arise out of this. First, G-rated MMOs have existed for some time now. I can feel my credibility plummeting even now, but Hello Kitty Online exists.
Further, anyone who has ever been anywhere near the internet knows that nothing family-friendly stays that way. I didn't want to resort to quoting the so-called Rule 34 of the internet - which ever-so-eloquently states that if it exists, there is porn of it - but it unfortunately rings true time and time again.
Iwata-san hates money and wants to make as little of it as possible
Now here's a theory I can get behind - after all, the 3DS is reportedly currently being sold at a financial loss to Nintendo; yet even this decision was made to improve customer satisfaction. And I can think of several customers who would be quite satisfied with a Pokémon MMO, so I guess this theory's bunk as well.
Rather than focusing on current series, Nintendo prefers to create a constant flow of completely original games
...because nothing says innovation like Pokémon Black 2, the sequel to a game that has been rehashed across five generations already over the past two decades.
Nintendo works in mysterious ways
The only theory I cannot as of yet discount; as someone who truly enjoys the Pokémon franchse, I suppose that if Nintendo has a reason for not turning the almost-20-year-old pocket monsters into an MMO, I'll just assume it's for the best.
My highly scientific study will conclude with the following results: yes, Nintendo should absolutely make a Pokémon MMO. People would play it, love it, and most likely skip school over it - but since it hasn't happened yet, I'd be surprised if it ever did.
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