Don’t you hate it when you’re walking down the street and all of a sudden you’re just dying to find out what level Herdier learns ‘Crunch’ at?* Your troubles are over. Thanks to the Pokemon Company, you can now download an official Unova PokeDex to your iOS device. For several years now, Nintendo fans and investors have been prodding the Big N to develop for iOS. Is this PokeDex app a sign that the company is caving to demands?
In a word, no. While Nintendo owns the Pokemon Company, the corporation still maintains some of its own affairs. That’s not to say Nintendo will give its blessing for the next pair of major Pokemon games to hit iOS, but a novelty app like a PokeDex is comparatively harmless.
It’s also a smart idea, as the App Store already has several unofficial PokeDex apps. A PokeDex is a relatively easy thing to program, since it’s little more than a static database of facts. It makes sense for the Pokemon Company to say, ‘Here, just give us a couple of bucks and you can have the real thing.’
Games featuring Nintendo’s properties– Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, what have you– are different matters. While a basement programmer can assemble a PokeDex without much trouble, he or she probably isn’t capable of producing a Mario clone that will make players gasp, ‘Wow, this is just like Nintendo’s games!’
Mutant Mudds is great, but it’s not a Mario game.
Nintendo can still afford to keep its top franchises off iOS because, frankly, they’re irreplaceable. That’s not to say iOS devs haven’t been inspired by come up with their own interesting takes on Nintendo’s best-known properties (MinoMonsters is a lot of fun for Pokemon fans, and if you’re into Mario, you should definitely download Mutant Mudds), but they’re still not the real thing. If you want to hang with the Plumbers and get hooked on the Brothers, you need to buy a Nintendo system.
And there’s little doubt that Nintendo likes that arrangement just fine.