Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

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While the game has been around for a decade, Pokéclicker has gained some hype lately thanks to many streamers who have given this browser-based fan game tremendous exposure. Unfortunately, this sudden popularity can also lead to the closure of the project, we explain why.

Summary

  • A probable closure for legal reasons?
  • Pokémon, a special license “from” Nintendo

Since the release of Cookie Clicker in 2013, we can say that the genre of free play Where click games has been democratized. However, it is a rather special type of experience on the passive side because, as the name suggests, all you have to do is click to move on. Even worse, after a certain point, the game even ends up “playing alone” and referring the player to rank as a spectator, admiring all the elements he has accumulated without him, like a well-oiled machine. Inevitably, with such a basic but addictive principle, the formula was rejected in all sauces, and the Pokémon license was no exception to the rule, as proved by the famous Pokéclicker today.

Find our tips and our complete guide to Pokéclicker here

A probable closure for legal reasons?

You probably suspect it, but it’s always good to remember: Pokéclicker is obviously a fan project that was carried out without the owners of the Pokémon franchise being consulted.. This can inevitably pose a problem from a legal point of view with regard to intellectual property, as it is at any time possible that the rightholders sue the creators of the project. And to the lawyers of the most profitable license ever, they are not sure that the developers of this fan-game really have the means to go to court, just from a financial point of view.

Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

Unfortunately, this hypothesis has something to be credible, as this scenario has already taken place with a fan game of the Metroid license: AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake. Re-recording of Metroid II: Return of Samus released on Game Boy in 1992, the project was quickly blocked by Nintendo which claimed its rights in 2016, right after its release. A decision that was certainly motivated by the launch the following year of Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS, which was also an update of the second opus of Samus Aran’s adventures. At the time, Reggie Fils-Aimé, then president of Nintendo of America, justified this choice with these words:

I think we need to be aware of the limit we do not cross, and from our perspective, that limit is when a tribute becomes something that makes money on our license. We allow tribute in many ways. And as a fan myself, before I go into management, I understand the attraction you may have for our franchise. But when it comes to making money, selling, making money, when it crosses the border, we have to assert our rights.

(…) We discuss with units that were fans and became work partners. These conversations happen all the time, but again, when something becomes a commercial product … and that was the case with AM2R – it was invaluable, but it was a commercial product.

Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

However, these reasons are far from sufficient, as AM2R was a game that was distributed for free, as the former president of Nintendo of America points out (it was invaluable), so hard to understand what it’s like a commercial product. Given this vague reasoning, there is therefore a likelihood that Pokéclicker will also be blocked by Nintendo, especially as the project shares a common trajectory with AM2R. Because of the enthusiasm surrounding these two projects, they have actually gained so much visibility that they have ended up being discovered by Nintendo, who may at any time decide to have them canceled thanks to legal grips. A sadly ironic paradox that might need this kind of fan game scrapped. However, unlike the Metroid license, Pokémon is not a Nintendo-exclusive franchise, which could be a game-changer.

Nostalgic moment, (re) discover our Gaming Live on AM2R!

Pokémon, a special license “from” Nintendo

Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

Since all the games in the franchise have been released on the consoles of the Japanese manufacturer, the general public tends to naturally associate Pokémon with Nintendo and think that it is one of its many image licenses from The Legend of Zelda, Mario or Animal Crossing . In fact, things are a lot more complicated for the Pokémon side it is The Pokémon Company, founded in 1998, which manages the brand with the purpose of developing it. However, the capital of this company is evenly distributed between three different players : Nintendo, Game Freaks, the studio behind the video games, and Creatures Inc., which deals with card games and Pokémon modeling.

Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

Thus, Nintendo can not make one-sided decisions regarding the Pokémon franchise, and this is evident given the number of fan games that abound on the net. Pokemon Insurgence, Pokemon Shodown, PokeMMO … there are tons of hack-ROMs or MMO versions readily available online. If we could think that the rights holders are quite lax, we must not forget that some projects have been stopped anyway., like Pokémon Uranium, one of the most popular fourth-generation hack-ROMs. Until recently, we also remember FPS developed by a fan where you had to shoot Pokémon, which did not please Nintendo at all, who got deleted all posts regarding the game. In this case, we can understand the reasons that led the producer to make this decision given the violent nature of the project, in stark contrast to the childish image of Pokémon.

Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo Ban the Free Pokémon Game?

Faced with these various fan game treatments, it’s hard to know what can happen to Pokéclicker. But on the other hand, it is possible that the title will attract the anger of the Pokémon rights holders because the latter could overshadow the flagship application of the license on mobiles, Pokémon GO. The comparison is not so surprising, as both games focus on the collection side of the Pokémon formula rather than battles. If Pokéclicker is obviously light years away from the popularity of Pokémon GO, it is possible that even this small competition between these two experiences, basically very different, displeases The Pokémon Company, forcing the company to take action.

In the past, Nintendo has still not been friendly to the fan games around their licenses, as evidenced by the AM2R affair. However, Pokémon is a special franchise for the Japanese manufacturer as it is not the only beneficiary. Maybe that’s why ROM Hacks and other hobby projects around Pokémon have been popping up for years without fear of being bothered. Still, some fan-favorite titles still had to be shut down for legal reasons, meaning The Pokémon Company does not let anyone mess with its creatures. So when it comes to Pokécliker, only one thing is certain: enjoy the game while it’s available, because no one knows what the future holds!

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