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Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon?, Japanese pronunciation: [‘pokemoɴ]; /ˈpoʊkeɪˌmɒn/ or /ˈpoʊkᵻˌmɒn/ – poh-kay-mon or poh-ki-mon) is a media franchise managed by The Pokémon Company, a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. The franchise copyright is shared by all three companies, but Nintendo is the sole owner of the trademark. The franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, and is centered on fictional creatures called “Pokémon”, which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport.
The franchise began as a pair of video games for the original Game Boy that were developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo. It now spans video games, trading card games, animated television shows and movies, comic books, and toys. Pokémon is the second best-selling video game franchise, behind only Nintendo’s Mario franchise and one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.
Cumulative sales of the video games (including home console games, such as Hey You, Pikachu! for the Nintendo 64) have reached more than 280 million copies. In November 2005, 4Kids Entertainment, which had managed the non-game related licensing of Pokémon, announced that it had agreed not to renew the Pokémon representation agreement. The Pokémon Company International (formerly Pokémon USA Inc.), a subsidiary of Japan’s Pokémon Co., oversees all Pokémon licensing outside of Asia. As of May 2016, the Pokémon franchise has grossed revenues of ¥4.8 trillion worldwide (equivalent to US$46.2 billion).
The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006. 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the original games, with the company celebrating by airing an ad during Super Bowl 50, issuing re-releases of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, and completely redesigning the way the newest games are played. The mobile augmented reality game Pokémon Go was released in July 2016. The first seventh-generation games Pokémon Sun and Moon were released worldwide on November 18, 2016. A live-action film adaptation based on Great Detective Pikachu is planned to start production in 2017. The English slogan for the franchise is “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice (2012)
Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013)
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014)
Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (2015)
Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016)
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! (2017)
Pokémon Go (stylized Pokémon GO) is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game was the result of a collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo, by way of The Pokémon Company, and was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS ability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The game supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items.
Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews, with critics praising the game’s concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing frequent technical issues that were prevalent around the time of the original launch. Despite such reviews, it quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most used and profitable mobile apps in 2016, having been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality technology, promoting physical activity, and helping local businesses grow due to increased foot traffic. However, it also attracted controversy for contributing to various accidents, as well as becoming a public nuisance at some locations. Various governments also expressed concerns over the security of the game, with some countries passing legislation to regulate its use. On February 27, 2017, Niantic announced that Pokémon Go had surpassed 650 million downloads.