What are ‘Gacha Games’?: Preparing for Pokémon Masters

When Pokémon Masters was released, it was almost immediately labeled a “gacha”-style game even without many details about its progression system or monetization being released. Many people who frequently game on iOS or Android are familiar with such titles, but fans of the Pokémon series may be new to the concept.

What is a ‘Gacha’ Game?

Gacha games are named after gachapon machines in Japan which dispense capsule toys in a randomized fashion. While available almost all over the world, the machines can be found almost everywhere in Japan and huge amounts of money are spent collecting all the sets of figures and other goods that are sold through them.

Games utilize this randomized mechanic when players buy characters, weapons or other in-game goods, which has earned them the ‘gacha’ moniker. Just like the capsule machines, players won’t know what they’re getting until after they’ve spent money or currency. It is not unlike opening a pack of TCG cards.

Another common element of gacha games are items or characters of differing rarities. The highest rarity may only appear in 5% or less of summons.

Popular Gacha Games

Nintendo fans may already be familiar with two big gacha games, Fire Emblem Heroes & Dragalia Lost. Both use a gacha system to summon heroes, and in the latter title, dragons. You can see how the summoning system works in Fire Emblem in the video above.

To entice fans to spend more money, some games such as Dragalia Lost guarantee characters of a certain rarity if multiple summons (purchases) are made at once.

How will Pokémon Masters work?

This is based on speculation right now, but it appears that the Pokémon Trainers appearing in the game will be the primary gacha mechanic. You’ll need to spend in-game currency to summon them, with powerful trainers (such as Cynthia, Steven, etc) appearing much more rarely. Generic trainer types, such as an Ace Trainer, would probably be the more common result.

It would also be unsurprising to see a mechanic which allows duplicate trainers to be used as XP for powering up more rare units you use on your team.

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what to expect when the game launches later this year! Let us know what you think of this type of monetization scheme in the comments below or join us on Discord to chat!

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