F2P Pokémon Z: What could we expect?

Imagine there’s no cost, it’s easy if you try

It’s no secret that Free-to-Play games have become some of the biggest money-makers on mobile devices and the fact that 2015 has already brought us two Pokémon which cost nothing proves that both Nintendo and Pokémon have taken note. What if there was a step 2 to their F2P plan? What if it hinged on introducing gamers to a free-to-play scheme in the main Pokémon series… It wouldn’t make sense to risk testing it on the debut games of a new generation, or a long anticipated remake, but what if there was a third addition to an existing generation coming up, say, like, Pokémon Z (or whatever they decide to call it)?

If there was to be no upfront cost for the game, the most important thing to consider is how they would make money off the title. Please note this is speculation, not a news article.

Tick Tock Time Restrictions

  • Limit of 5 Pokéballs which replenish 1 per 30 minutes. Higher level balls purchase-able for real money and rewarded sparingly in-game
  • Pokémon Centers now heal Pokémon over time, so the more HP your team has lost the longer it will take to heal. This means that the time would scale up as HP increases with level, could be bypassed with micro-transactions.
  • Transportation limited to 5 uses of Fly per day, can recharge your Pokémon’s energy with cash shop item

Pokémon Shuffle took the time restriction system to the bank. Players who wanted to continue playing stages had to either wait until their “hearts” filled up or were forced to pay real money to continue. It was a polarizing monetization strategy in an otherwise amazing puzzle game, and the poor reception showed fans weren’t happy that what could’ve been a $10-$15 purchase now accepted coins in excess of $100 since you would be continually forced to pay if you wanted to play without setting your 3DS down.

The main series is ripe with opportunities to limit players via time, with three highlighted above. This would be a hard pill to swallow and a tough blow against the series if it were to be implemented. No one wants to wait for a time-gated resource to replenish during their journey to catch ’em all or become the regional Pokémon Champion.

Sweet, Sweet DLC

  • New locations added post-release
  • Additional Mega Evolutions
  • Cosmetic additions, including player outfits and hairstyles

Downloadable Content (DLC) is another way that Pokémon could profit from a free game. Players are always begging for more things to do once they beat the game and a steady stream of purchasable options could fit the bill. Want a Battle Frontier? Pay for it! Don’t care? Don’t buy.

The sixth generation also introduced something new to the series: player customization! What better way to make fans pay up than to tantalize them with dozens of flashy new outfits for their trainers. Even Cosplay Pikachu could get its own set of DLC costumes.

VIP Super Trainers

  • Increased catch rate, prize money & XP
  • Faster bike and walking speed
  • Bonus areas and features

No it won’t be just World of Warcraft you’re laying down $15 a month to play. You’ll need your monthly Pokémon Z VIP subscription to catch those elusive legendaries, access an expanded Safari Park or make more than a pittance off the other trainers you pummel on your path to victory. You won’t be getting the “true” main game experience unless you subscribe, because they’ve drastically lowered the amount of everything awarded for those cheapskates who don’t want to pay.

Oh yeah, and only battling is subscriber only. Sorry non-VIP Super Trainers.

One-time Unlock

  • F2P users limited to a smaller world and only the first 4 gyms

Perhaps the download is free, but that might not net you the whole game. Nintendo, in a bid to entice new players, could offer up the first half of the game as an unrestricted free download, but then make people choose to continue… and pay the full retail price… or stop their Pokémon journey halfway. Considering that Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire had a demo available before launch, this isn’t that Farfectch’d (lol).

For gamers planning on buying it anyway, this would be the least intrusive “F2P” option, although it would technically be free-to-try.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

So, if Pokémon Z were to be F2P, what do you think would be the best option? Do you have any ideas I didn’t mention? Will be looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

<3 PJ

FEATURED DISCUSSION: E3 2015: News & Opinions

  1. This is a nightmare. If it came to be, I would no longer play pokemon games. Don’t even suggest something like this

  2. This sounds like hell! Why would you even think of such a thing…. ;-;

  3. I would literally DIE. Do you guys think they’ll reveal a main series game today? I have a strong feeling we won’t see too much from pokemon. Btw, have they ever revealed a main game at E3?

    1. They have not ever revealed a new main series game at E3 and well……that trend is likely to continue so I’d keep hopes pretty low in terms of it happening….

      1. I’ll keep my hopes low. I’m still disappointed there’ll be no Zelda at E3 🙁

        1. Yeah Zelda must not b show ready I guess…..I will say tho I’d rather them not show anything than do show and then say the release is a long way off…..lol

  4. This…..this must never happen…….if it did it would b the end of Pokemon……I certainly wouldn’t play anymore……I have no problem with f2p on phones, but when u bring it into full story games on a real console the we have a problem……f2p on real consoles is a cursed plague that must b wiped out b4 it spreads too far…..

    1. It’s fine….if anything it’s a wake up call to how real the problem of f2p on consoles really is….. ur doing a service even if it hurts lol

  5. Anyone expecting Z to be announced? I really don’t think so but there’s this inkling feeling inside me.. And are they playing Super Mario Galaxy songs rn? SMG 3 confurrmed?!

  6. That pretty much confirmed that no main series Pokemon game will be released this year. Still hoping it’d be announced sometime this year, tho

  7. Pokemon is for CHILDREN ok? Nintendo in general is centered towards younger audiences. This will NEVER happen. What makes Nintendo unique is that it is not Microsoft or Sony. People really just need to understand that kids come first in Pokemon not teenagers who try to blow everything out of proportion. Besides why oh why would we want less content in Pokemon Z if it’s supposed to be a SEQUEL?

    1. Thank you, i keep telling everyone that they’re always trying to appeal to the younger generations

  8. This site in general needs more interesting and valid articles, I remember the glory days where every 2 seconds this sight would have something fun and new smh

      1. but why keep saying that a main game shouldn’t be a factor in making a website running lively cause who knows when a new game could come out?

        Besides a main series game will only hold people for so long as shown by ORAS, its not the games that get a site up again its the site itself

  9. PMD isn’t F2P,why would this be?
    And on another note..

    Nintendo has really dissapointed me.
    We got no surprises at all. They made a stupid co-op game titled metroid prime INSTEAD OF AN ACTUAL METROID ,we got a stupid amiibo animal crossing intstead of real animal crossing, and we got co-op LBW and inferior port of Hyrule Warriors instead of a proper zelda..

    While Sony announced awesome exclusives and xbox got an awesome controller.

    Nintendo started of great with the NWC,but the digital event sucked

      1. Yeah..
        Imagine card games like Yu-gi-ho and duel masters with that thing..it could scan them and display them holographically

    1. The theme of the Nintendo Digital Event was “Transform” yet they didn’t have a trailer for the game where you literally transform into pokemon,but released the trailer right after it…Why???

      1. I was holding onto my breath when they said that the theme was “Transform” cuz well, Zygarde? Buuuut nope

        1. It sucks being a Mother fan. I’m gonna buy Earthbound Beginnings when the money’s right tho. Maybe that’ll get it through their thick skulls that this series has an audience.

    1. OR If nintendo had made a real animal crossing,real metroid,real zelda…..

      This seemed more like a special mario direct rather the than the biggest gaming show of the year…

  10. I just cringed so hard I broke my neck.

    Side note: Nintendo @ E3 was underwhelming

  11. What the hell are you talking about, it just seems you want gamefreak to pander to a bunch of 18-25 yr olds fanboy wishes
    First of all why do you honestly think putting time restrictions in a kids game is a good idea, and everyone would just get effing sick of waiting and what’s even more disgusting is the need to pay to speed up the process like a damn freemium game

    “One-time Unlock
    F2P users limited to a smaller world and only the first 4 gyms
    Perhaps the download is free, but that might not net you the whole game. Nintendo, in a bid to entice new players, could offer up the first half of the game as an unrestricted free download, but then make people choose to continue… and pay the full retail price… or stop their Pokémon journey halfway. Considering that Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire had a demo available before launch, this isn’t that Farfectch’d (lol).?”
    never have i heard anything so damn stupid in all my life , maybe for a spin-off but we’re talking full versions here, sure a demo might do something like that but it just sounds so unnecessary
    the rest is god awful

    Free to plays are either just mildly entertaining or complete trash, and Pokemon is too good to lower their standards for something appalling

    1. Whoa easy there…..I don’t think the point of the article was that he wanted this to happen…..just an idea of what might happen IF there was a shift to F2P in the main series…..

  12. I don’t like this idea ;-;
    But I do like the idea of battle frontier dlc!!

  13. This would be a total nightmare, just like most everyone else said…
    Wouldn’t mind paying $5 for 100 love balls though, if that was the only way to ever get them again. ♥

  14. Now that all the major games have been announced,who do guys think won e3 this year?

    This year was sony for me…
    Nintendo’s was very dissapointing

    1. For me: Bethesda: A, Microsoft: B, EA: D, Ubisoft: B, Sony: A, Nintendo: C, and Square Enix: B. Overall, Sony was the best in my opinion!

  15. Just throwing this out there because I’ve heard no one say it E3 this year was just horrible, terrible I don’t think I’m buying anything they came up with even though nothing was a surprise. Nintendo should start listening to its fans and create games that are high quality and fun and also different and non-predictable.

    1. I don’t know how you can judge a game for it’s quality by just looking at a trailer, but I agree that Nintendo E3 was terrible this year. All the games that were newly announced were not games that should be the main highlight of E3(aside from Starfox). Other games announced were already out in some parts of the world or about to be, making the whole digital event seem cheap and lackluster.

    2. Don’t get too mad. Iwata promised to make E3 2016 much better in terms of games and quality. I think they got a good enough backlash to Metroid Prime: FF and the Animal Crossing Board Game.

    3. “Nintendo should start listening to its fans” literally all they’ve done the past 2 years

      1. Where are my Metroid and Animal Crossing Wii U? Also more 3rd party games? Nintendo really hasn’t listened. Instead we get more amiibos despite most people buying them for collection purposes, not for DLC. Woo. As much as I refused to believe it, the Wii U is dead, Nintendo basically confirmed that this E3. I don’t even expect them to acknowledge it at E3 2016

  16. How about, no. I wouldn’t want to pay for to do stuff that I could do in other Pokemon Games. Anyways, that idea would be completely fine; if they wanted to make a free to play game.

  17. For as much as the article makes for interesting speculation, please BURN IT NOW! If Game Freak sees this, or Nintendo, I’m scared, very much so… ;P

  18. something strange in these legendary trio (x ,y,z) , y should represent heaven and spiritual world ,but Yveltal darknness an

  19. Oh, HELL, no! This kind of Candy Crush scam infiltrating the series via crap like Shuffle and Rumble World is bad enough, but in the main series games? That’s tied with the Miltank of Death as the stuff of my worst nightmares!

    1. I’m pretty sure they gave up on Rumble and Trozei and just made them free to hold people together until the next game. I’m fine with it. In Rumble, all the gems you buy add up to the price of the game and after you buy them all, you get 20 free gems a day. Not bad at all. I’m fine with free spin offs.

  20. While this is a very well written article I think we can all agree that putting this out into the world is a crime in its own right.

  21. i think there is a problem with the legacy flash version of the chat a guy got unbanned

  22. I very much doubt that Nintendo would make the main series “free-to-play” because it would separate if not destroy the fan base. Look at the “free-to-play” pokemon games at the moment. They’re easily recognizable as mini games and they’re are simply there for you to do in your free time. The main Pokemon games are a commitment because not only do you have to finish the story and Catch Them All (or see them all to complete the regional pokedex), if you want to play competitively, you have to put in tons of hours to train the right pokemon and make the “perfect” team. Free-to-play may indeed be a thing, but free-to-play main pokemon games will almost certainly never come to be realized. As for DLC, again, it would separate the fan base unless everyone got the DLC if it involved Mega Stones or new regional areas. It wouldn’t matter if it was clothing that was DLC or perhaps customisable pokeballs, but DLC regarding the Pokemon themselves would possibly kill sales for Nintendo.

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