Pokémon Go has taken over the world, and it's got people wondering what else Nintendo might have up its sleeve as it moves slowly but surely into the world of modern gaming. Earlier this month, the question was posed in an interesting interview with a game designer as to just how Pokémon Go could still improve or evolve in the coming months. It's a legitimate question. The best mobile apps tend to be those that can keep growing and adapting, and where Pokémon Go is concerned there seems to be potential for a lot of changes and small but significant improvements.
But the bigger question might be where Pokémon in general goes from here. This is one of the biggest brands in gaming, and after more or less lying dormant for a decade or so, it proved that it could still cast a shadow over the rest of the industry. Nintendo clearly will have picked up on this, and it stands to reason that they'll likely look to exploit it with further adaptations or spinoffs. So what might be next for Pokémon? Here are a few ideas based on the general state of modern gaming.
The first idea that comes to many people's minds is that some of the original games — Pokémon Red and Blue, for instance — could fairly easily be re-designed in app form. Compared to some of the big, vibrant mobile games we're playing today, most old Gameboy titles are quite simple and would take up very little storage space. And Pokémon Blue and Red would seem to be included among them. There are already ways of emulating the games on smartphones or downloading them on computers, but fans would love to see legitimate versions of Red or Blue available in Android and iOS stores. It's likely that people would even pay somewhere in the $4.99-$9.99 range for these games, as well as spend on in-app purchases — say, for more poké balls, or for rare pokémon that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.
But we could also see Pokémon concepts and characters twisted into new gaming genres or formats. One that comes to mind is the fighter or brawler style of gaming, which has become extremely popular on mobile games. Consider, for instance, Injustice: Gods Among Us, a mobile fighting game with DC characters developed by Warner Bros. that's essentially a spin on Mortal Kombat. We've already seen a few Pokémon in this kind of format, as they've appeared in numerous Super Smash Bros. games., as well as in Pokken Tournament, which debuted on Wii U in 2015. A similar game on mobile with a huge collection of Pokémon as playable characters would likely be nearly as much of a hit as Pokémon Go.
Another idea, perhaps less likely but equally lucrative, would be for Nintendo to tap into the rather playful licensing market that's developed among online casino sites. While we tend to think of things like slot machines or jackpot arcades with classic presentations, there are now numerous games invoking popular fiction and characters, from Marvel superheroes to action films and fairy tales. The idea is to attract players who are interested in the subject material, rather than simply the underlying casino game. A Pokémon slots game, either on a real casino site or as a free-to-play mobile game, would attract droves of players. Just think about the thrill of ringing up a line of consecutive Pikachus on a slot reel! They'd really just be bringing the slots of Celadon City to real life.
And finally, it now seems almost inevitable that the forthcoming Nintendo NX console will come equipped with some kind of major Pokémon game. It's anybody's guess what such a game could look like — the most exciting idea may be an updated version of the old classics in 3D — but it feels like something's coming. In fact, there are already reports that Pokémon will join Zelda and Mario as one of the launch franchises for the NX.
Any of these ideas would be thrilling. But if one thing is for sure with the sensation caused by Pokémon Go, it's that it's going to be hard for Nintendo to resist putting out more content from this iconic franchise.
Pokémon Go has taken over the world, and it's got people wondering what else Nintendo might ...