Pokémon was first launched in Japan in 1996, inspired by its creator’s childhood hobby of collecting insects and love of video games, and with the concept of exploration of new worlds at its heart. The original Game Boy™ titles, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green, were released internationally in 1998 as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue.
Today it is one of the most popular and successful entertainment properties in the world, encompassing video games (VG), mobile apps, the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), animation and movies, Play! Pokémon competitive events and licensed products.
An iconic evergreen brand with an enormous and loyal global fanbase, Pokémon is firmly established as a true pop culture phenomenon. From regular exciting new releases for core pillars VG, TCG and animation to innovative collaborations and bold expansion into fresh areas, it is constantly innovating to remain vibrant, relevant and at the forefront of entertainment.
More than 368m video games have sold worldwide, making Pokémon one of the most successful gaming franchises ever. Mobile game sensation Pokémon GO has received more than one billion downloads globally since launch in July 2016. One of the most popular TCGs in the world, Pokémon has been shipped to 77 countries and regions in 13 languages.
Pokémon animation is licensed for broadcast in 176 countries and regions in over 30 languages, with more than 1,000 episodes of the TV series, spanning 23 seasons, and 23 animated movies to date. The first live-action Pokémon film, 2019’s POKÉMON Detective Pikachu, generated more than $430m in global box office revenue.
Pokémon’s robust licensing programme covers a huge range of categories including gaming, toys, apparel, accessories, tech gear, home décor and more, and is constantly seeking more ways for audiences to engage and interact with the brand. Key licensees include Jazwares (master toy), Funko, Mattel, PowerA and Ravensburger. Pokémon has also become a real fashion icon following innovative and bold collaborations with designers from high-end to high street.
Jazwares’ award-winning toy range includes popular items like the best-selling Pokémon Carry Case Playset, a fold-out backpack which allows players to take the adventure with them; and My Partner Eevee, which comes alive through its built-in mic and touch-sensor technology. Ravensburger puzzles come in a variety of combinations for all, from the simple through 3D to the ultra-fiendish. Mattel Mega Construx features favourite Pokémon characters in a range of immersive construction toys. Funko Pop has also launched the first European Pokémon range of its fun, funky and highly collectible figures.
The strength of the Pokémon brand and its ability to bring customers into retail aisles led to its selection as a finalist for License of the Year in the Toy Association 2021 Toy of the Year Awards.
Pokémon is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary with its most dynamic and ambitious program yet, teaming up with other iconic brands and global superstars to help fans celebrate the journey throughout the year with a dedicated website, unique promotions and special merchandise from licensees such as Jazwares, Mattel, Funko, PowerA and The Wand Company.
Ongoing until October is a pan-European retail TCG promotion giving free First Partner packs to consumers purchasing Pokémon TCG product at participating stores. Each pack includes three retrospective oversize Pokémon cards featuring the first partner Pokémon from each Pokémon region, with cards changing across the campaign. And TCG fans have another treat in store later in the year with the release of a special 25th anniversary themed collection.
Pokémon’s is a year-long global celebration through the power of music. Headlined by pop icon Katy Perry and featuring some of the world’s biggest and buzziest artists, P25 Music will create new songs, styles and pop-culture moments through the lens of Pokémon. A partnership with Universal Music Group, it culminates in a special year-end digital release, Pokémon 25: The Album.
Following the release of all-new Nintendo Switch adventure, New Pokémon Snap on 30 April, new video games launch in late 2021. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are faithful revitalisations of two iconic Pokémon games from 2006 which first introduced trainers to the Sinnoh region.
With many more 25th anniversary-related, fan-focused activations planned for Pokémon animation, video games, mobile games and more, 2021 is set to be an exciting year!
About the author:
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and the official Pokémon website. For more information, visit pokemon.com