How old were you when you first laid your hands on a Pokémon game? For me, the year was 1999 and I had just turned 10 years old. I still remember my parents buying me my first Gameboy color and the legendary Pokémon Red Version. I have many fond memories playing that game. My mission was to catch them all. My friend at the time had the Pokémon Blue Version and we played together all the time. We spent countless hours catching and growing our Pokémon. Countless AA batteries were spent trying to achieve the goal of having your Pokedex show that you had successfully obtained all 151 original Pokémon. And for the next 6 years, I would continue to play the latest version of Pokémon that would be released. Eventually, I would move on to better games that were for a more mature audience. But the memories of Pokémon remained in my heart and mind for many years to come.
While the Emerald version of Pokémon is the last official version that I owned and played, Pokémon kept going. They would go on to create hundreds of new Pokémon and explore completely new regions where these beloved Pocket Monsters could be found. And here we are in 2021 and Pokémon is starting to take off again. 25 years later, and folks that grew up playing Pokémon are slowly starting to get back into it. The last Pokémon video game released was back in late 2019 but to my surprise, I learned that Pokémon cards were consistently being produced ever since my childhood. With every generation of video game, new Pokémon cards came out to compliment. And they didn’t just come out with a set or two. Consistently over the last 25 years, Pokémon has released numerous sets every year. Different illustrations, different styles, and of course cards for the nearly 1000 Pokémon in existence today. So what is this post about? This is about the future of Pokémon. This is about me predicting what then next 25 years of Pokémon are going to look like based on my last 25 years of living in a world with Pokémon
2020 and the beginning of 2021 have been crazy for Pokémon. The pandemic has created a new hype for the brand and people everywhere are flocking to their local stores to pick up whatever Pokémon cards they can find. The trend started only a few months ago, right around Christmas of 2020. A popular YouTube influencer by the name of Logan Paul opened up a very rare and expensive case of Pokémon cards. From there, the entire thing just blew up and it’s nearly impossible to find any Pokémon cards right now.
A lot has changed in 25 years. Access to technology has become ubiquitous. When I was growing up, it was nearly impossible to look up information on this beloved past time of mine because there simply wasn’t any information out there. I barely even knew what the internet was! But times have changed and they are going to continue to change drastically as we enter the next 25 years of Pokémon. This is what I think is going to happen to Pokémon in the future.
The Rest of 2021 and Pokémon Cards
As of this writing, Pokémon will be releasing two new boxed sets. One set will drop in mid-February and the other set will drop in mid-March. Because of the current hype around Pokémon cards, I predict that these sets are going to be extremely difficult to get a hold of. The Shining Fates set is supposed to be as legendary as the Hidden Fates set from a couple years ago. This will be the second and third releases in 2021. If 2020 is indication, Pokémon has many more sets to come for the rest of 2021 with new sets anticipated for Summer, Fall, and Winter. I know that Shinning Fates will be extremely difficult to get because everywhere I have asked, they are all sold out and the set hasn’t even dropped. But, my prediction is that once the Logan Paul hype dies down a bit, getting the sets in the latter part of the year should be easier to find. I personally plan on buying Pokémon cards as each set is released in the future. Collecting cards was a cherished memory of my childhood and it’s a shame that I didn’t keep my original cards. I don’t plan on making that mistake and I will be collecting cards as long as they make them.
Collecting Pokémon cards are only one way of playing with Pokémon. I predict that over the next 25 years are going to further push what is possible with Pokémon games. In 2016, Niantic released a mobile game named Pokémon GO. This game was met with critical success and millions of folks jumped on the hype and started catching Pokémon everywhere! But, almost 5 years later and the numbers tell a different story. The pandemic indeed have an impact on this game because the whole point of Pokémon GO was that you went outside and interacted with friends and strangers. Something that the pandemic didn’t really encourage in 2020. My prediction is that we’ll see a new and improved version of the game once this pandemic is over. I believe that the social isolation that folks have had to endure is going to create a revived interest in exploring the world. While Pokémon GO was an augmented reality game, I predict that over the next few years, we are going to see the first VR Pokémon game that truly sucks you in to the world of Pokémon. I predict we’ll see a video game that follows along the original story line and takes you along the journey of become the ultimate Pokémon Master!
Anywhere you go, people recognize Pikachu. If Nintendo is smart, and I do believe they are smart, they are going to capitalize on a new generation of Pokémon fans. Detective Pikachu was a very popular movie and I believe that more movies like that will be coming out. I also predict more Pokémon characters being developed but to be honest, the high number of Pokémon we have today is one of the reasons why I left Pokémon. I would hope that Nintendo hit 1000 Pokémon and then just cap it there. Tell different story lines and reinvent within the cap of 1000 Pokémon. I also predict a shift in the maker community. A community that wasn’t as well established in the late 90’s, I predict that the advent of 3D printers and other maker friendly platforms is going to open up new opportunities for folks to create goods that are inspired by Pokémon. I would hope that Nintendo/Pokémon fully support this initiative as it only helps further strengthen the Pokémon brand.
And that’s pretty much it. I’m excited for the future of Pokémon. I know that I’ve been pretty dormant these last few years, but I have kids now and I want to pass my BEST childhood memories on to them. And the best memories were created when I was sitting in front of my Gameboy playing that original Red Version trying to catch them all. What do you think? Do you think Pokémon will eventually die? Or will be legendary as Mario and Sonic? Do you think it will ever be easier to find Pokémon cards? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!