Pokémon games are about to face a major extinction event. Last year, Nintendo announced that it would no longer allow purchases of 3DS and Wii U games on its digital storefront, and now, as a consequence, many Pokémon titles will become more difficult to obtain.
30 Pokémon Games Set to Disappear
Despite being one of the world’s most lucrative franchises, the Pokémon franchise doesn’t seem to have a long-term vision when it comes to its video games. The Pokémon Presents event, which is a yearly gathering for Pokémon fans to celebrate the franchise’s anniversary, didn’t offer many gifts in the form of new titles. The only consolation prize for players who were hoping for a remake of the fifth generation of Pokémon (Black and White) or a new episode in the Pokémon Legends series was the announcement of two DLCs. In contrast, almost 75% of the franchise’s games (including spin-offs) are expected to disappear in less than a month.
The closure of the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS digital storefronts (Nintendo eShop) deals a significant blow to Pokémon fans. Since purchasing games on these storefronts will no longer be possible starting on March 27th, a plethora of Pokémon games will not be preserved, as evidenced by Phil Salvador’s calculations:
Happy #PokemonDay! Pokémon is one of the biggest franchises in gaming, but did you know that once Nintendo closes the 3DS and Wii U eShops next month, 74% of all Pokémon games released in the US will be commercially unavailable in any form? It’s true! pic.twitter.com/54NZTW61BP
— Phil Salvador (@itstheshadsy) February 27, 2023
Pokémon is one of the biggest franchises in gaming, but did you know that once Nintendo closes the 3DS and Wii U eShops next month, 74% of all Pokémon games released in the US will be commercially unavailable in any form? It’s true!
A Hard Blow to Video Game Preservation
Numerous globally renowned Pokémon titles are among those disappearing games. This includes Pokémon Red and Blue, Pokémon Crystal, and the Ruby and Sapphire remakes. As a result, only the fourth, eighth, and ninth generations will be accessible starting on March 27th. While some titles from the early generations of Pokémon are expected to arrive on Nintendo Switch Online, it’s difficult to imagine at the moment a re-release of 3DS titles due to the significant differences between the Nintendo Switch and the 3DS.
The preservation of these games is, therefore, highly uncertain, as Nintendo has not announced any official plans for it. When the closure of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U services was announced, it sparked the anger of the Video Game Preservation Foundation:
How will players be able to play these games in the future? (…) Not providing commercial access is a decision that can be understood, but preventing institutional work that aims to preserve these titles is destructive to video game heritage.
About Pokémon Scarlet/Violet
In related news, fans speculate that there may be an upcoming Pokémon game called Pokémon Scarlet/Violet, based on a discovery made by players during the Pokémon Presents event. The DLC for Pokémon Scarlet/Violet, called “The Zero Zone Treasure,” was also revealed during the event, leaving fans excited to explore what the game has to offer. However, for fans of the soon-to-be-extinct Pokémon games, the future remains uncertain.