One of Nintendo’s new projects in the smartphone world was to partner with Niantic Labs, a formerly Google-owned developer and creator of the Android-only location-based game, Ingress. In a recent interview with Venture Beat, two studio heads from Niantic sat down to discuss how the partnership between Niantic and Nintendo formed and a little bit more about how Pokemon Go will work.
According to John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, the partnership with The Pokemon Company was primarily the idea of Tsunekazu Ishihara, the CEO of The Pokemon Company. Ishihara was a big fan of Ingress.
Hanke: It was driven in large part by Mr. Ishihara and the Pokémon Company. They’ve been involved in developing all the Pokémon games through the years. They guide the IP. But a lot of what they do is through partnerships. They partnered initially with Wizards of the Coast to bring out the Pokémon card game, which has now sold something like 21 billion cards. They have animation partners who do the TV show. They’re a partnering type of company. Mr. Ishihara ushered us into the halls at Nintendo.
The former CEO of Nintendo, Mr. Iwata, had his hand on the wheel. He was steering Nintendo in a new direction. Part of that was the partnership with DeNA, the mobile game company. They have new hardware in the pipeline that they’ve been working on. He saw the need and personally wanted to help evolve Nintendo. They resisted mobile for a long time. But it’s clear their relationships with us and with DeNA that they now understand how relevant it is to the future.
According to Niantic, trading will be essential to the game as certain Pokemon may not appear in countries. You’ll have to meet up with people across the globe in order to collect them all.
Hanke: Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade. If you live in a place with lots of water Pokémon and you come to an event — we have these Ingress events that are getting bigger and bigger. We’ll have our biggest weekend ever on Saturday.
We’ll have events for Pokémon as well. Those are competitive, but they can also be places to trade stuff with other players. Pokémon trading is going to be huge. You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that.
Of course, there will be Pokemon teams to join as well, so you can further your team’s cause as you go about the world collecting them all. If you want to read the full interview, be sure to check it out here.
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TAGS: Nintendo, the pokemon company, wii u