Pokémon has always had a tight relationship with Nintendo and it would have been previously unthinkable to consider a game from the main series appearing in iTunes or Google Play. With the recent release of Pokémon Shuffle on smartphones and tablets and the upcoming release of Pokémon GO exclusively for iOS/Android, it may be time to question what the future holds for the series, however.
Benefits of a smart-device release
Wider audience: Almost everyone has a smartphone these days which makes the market huge
More capable hardware: Nintendo’s handhelds have always been good, but the raw power that most iOS and Android devices have nowadays leaves Nintendo in a tough spot to compete
Fully online capable: Connecting for online battles with a 3DS is not the fastest experience and requires a nearby compatible WiFi hotspot, but with smartphones and tablets that are almost always online it brings new possibilities for connectivity between players
Bug(-types) galore: Developing for Android and iOS will mean more devices to worry about compatibility for and may mean many bugs
Less support from Nintendo: If Pokémon did break away from Nintendo’s handheld’s it wouldn’t go unnoticed. They may offer less support for the franchise in other ways because of the snub
Lack of physical buttons: This one is a big one; with no d-pad or buttons the Pokémon experience may feel less responsive as you fiddle with an on-screen control system or clumsily try to tap menu items
The best is yet to come
Next year we’ll get a taste of battling on smartphones with Pokémon GO, which may also be testing the water for more serious future Pokémon releases. Are you excited for what may come? Or do you hope they stay with dedicated gaming handhelds as they always have?