Attack on Pokemon?

I want to add this (albeit late) because I think there are some issues that came up in class that need clarification. I want to start by saying that my comments in class were in no way an attack on Sean or anyone else who enjoys Pokemon, nor were they an attack on the industry as a whole. I want to point out, however, that I was simply trying to introduce to everyone that there is a “business” involved.

The following is taken from the wikipedia article on Pokemon (obviously not an authority, but I checked all citations and they are accurate):

Pokémon (ポケモン, Pokemon?, IPA: [ˈpoʊ.keɪ.mɑn]) is a “MEDIA FRANCHISE” owned by video game giant Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri around 1995. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games, Pokémon has since become the “second most successful and LUCRATIVE video game-based media franchise in the world”, falling only behind Nintendo’s Mario series.[1] Pokémon properties have since been MERCHANDISED into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other media. The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary on 27 February 2006, and as of 1 December 2006, cumulative sold units of the video games (including home console versions, such as the “Pikachu” Nintendo 64) have reached more than 155 million copies.[2]

I have put in caps and quotations things that I want to point out in this introduction that will emphasize my point. I believe a short lesson from my economics course is also in order. Nintendo is a firm, concerned with maximizing profits. Any firm that does not have this as it’s priority is known as a “former firm” (bad joke). Pokemon is a fully marketed franchise that is done so with the purpose of maximizing returns for the company. In doing this, they have created a franchise that is highly entertaining and enjoyable for many, yet it is not given out for free BECAUSE the reason they created this franchise is because they (Nintendo) saw it as being a profitable activity.

My concluding point is that, while we have engaged in these long heated debates about “the world of Pokemon” and how it is all these important things to all these important people, we must understand that it is still a business and it has been marked to market quite effectively. THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN ATTACK ON POKEMON! I am not trying to take any value from it as I know there are many people to whom it is of significant importance and meaning. I have things that are important to me as well in a similar manner. I love the Pirates of the Carribean series and particularly the character of Jack Sparrow, but I know that he is not a real character and that Johnny Depp does enjoy playing this role but is not doing it for free. Because of his desire to maximize his profitability, he has given me something of importance. It is the way the world works. Please do not attack my view as being overly “business oriented” although this is the background I can bring to the class, but try to understand what I am saying and acknowledge the facts.

Finally, I went on youtube and did watch an episode of pokemon for my own edification. The protagonist (Ash) was batteling this guy named Brock I think and he had a huge rock snake named Onyx. I was quite entertained and yes, think had I grown up with it, I could perhaps still be interested.

Nicely done Nintendo.

– Alan


2 Responses to Attack on Pokemon?

  1. naesung says:

    The debate is so far in the past that I’m no longer clear what we were arguing about, but I totally agree with you and value the fact that we have someone in class that can bring the discussion into the “real (financial) world.” I think the salient point was that some people were using the basal economic profit framework that perpetuates the (often times enjoyable) Pokémon franchise to argue that kids are being plunged into a market mentality at younger and younger ages and therefore, for some reason, are losing something.

    I agree that kids are being taught to interact with markets in ways that other toys, etc. haven’t encouraged them to do on such a wide scale in the past, but my argument is that this is not a result of the economic exchange taking place at the site of purchase (of say, trading cards), but rather in a post-purchase economy of trade and interaction with other players, which admittedly benefits Nintendo to no end by popularizing the game even further. I base this on the observation that small kids on allowance from their parents, regardless of how large or small that allowance is, tend to have spent all of it on Pokémon merchandise, without the consideration of other substitutes. That is, if a child gets $10 a week, it’s not treated with a “real” market value of $10, to be spent on Big Macs, candy bars, Playmobile, etc., but as $10 _worth_ of Pokémon cards, and becomes immediately converted into an in-game economy of exchange, which, though based on market principles and listed dollar prices in Beckett’s guides, is not interchangeable.

    In a sentence, the disparate goals of Nintendo and Pokémon players — monetary profits and the accumulation of wealth in an alternate in-game economy — are both being satisfied in mutually supportive, but not the same ways.

  2. naesung says:

    Just as I posted this, my RSS aggregator bring this “Overheard in New York” quote to my attention:

    _Some Things You Just Shouldn’t Joke About_

    Hipster chick: Hey, what do you do when Pikachu won’t get on a bus?
    Thug: I dunno.
    Hipster chick: You poke him on! Get it? Like Pokemon?
    Thug: No, then he would thunderstrike you.
    Hipster chick: [Silence.]
    Thug: He’s an electric type, you know?

    –M14D bus, 1st Ave

    Overheard by: melanie

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