Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

Game news Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

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

Summary

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

Since the release of Cookie Clicker in 2013, we can say that the kind of idle game or clicker game it democratized. Nevertheless, it’s a rather peculiar type of experience on the passive side because, as the name suggests, just click to progress. Worse still, after a certain point, the game even ends up “playing alone”, relegating the player to the rank of spectator who admires all the elements he has accumulated working without him, like a well-oiled machine. Inevitably, with such a basic but compelling principle, the formula was declined in all sauces and the Pokémon license was no exception to the rule as demonstrated today by the famous Pokéclicker in question.

Find our tips and our complete guide on 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 made without the owners of the Pokémon franchise having been consulted.. Inevitably, this can pose a legal problem in terms of intellectual property, as it is possible at any time for the rights holders to sue the creators of the project. And faced with lawyers for the most lucrative license of all time, they’re not sure if the developers of this fan-game really have the means to go to court, precisely from a financial standpoint.

Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

Unfortunately this hypothesis has something credible since this scenario has already occurred with a fan game of the Metroid license: AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake. Remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus released on Game Boy in 1992, the project was immediately blocked by Nintendo who asserted her rights in 2016, shortly after her release. A decision certainly motivated by the launch the following year of Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS which was also an update of the second opus of the adventures of Samus Aran. At the time, Reggie Fils-Aimé, then president of Nintendo of America, justified this choice with these words:

I think we need to be clear on the line we don’t cross and, from our point of view, that line is when a tribute becomes something that monetizes our license. We allow tributes in many ways. And being a fan myself before I am in management, I understand the attraction you can have for our franchises. But when it comes to monetizing, selling, profiting, when we go over the edge, we have to enforce our rights.

(…) We discuss with entities who were fans and have become business partners. These conversations happen all the time, but again, when something becomes a commercial product … and this was the case with AM2R – it was priceless, but it was a commercial product.

Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

However, these justifications are far from sufficient since AM2R was a freely distributed game, as the former president of Nintendo of America points out (it was priceless), therefore it is difficult to understand what a commercial product is like. Given this vague justification, there is therefore a likelihood that Pokéclicker will also be blocked by Nintendo, especially as the project shares a common trajectory with AM2R. Indeed, precisely due to the enthusiasm surrounding these two projects, they gained so much visibility that they ended up being discovered by Nintendo, which can decide at any time to have them canceled thanks to legal levers. A sadly ironic paradox that may need to demolish this type of fan game. However, unlike the Metroid license, Pokémon is not a Nintendo-exclusive franchise, which could be game-changing.

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

Pokémon, a particular license from “Nintendo

Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

Since all the games in the franchise have been released on the Japanese manufacturer’s consoles, the general public naturally tends to associate Pokémon with Nintendo, thinking that it is one of its many image licenses of The Legend of Zelda, Mario or Animal Crossing. In reality, things have been much more complicated for Pokémon since then is The Pokémon Company, founded in 1998, which manages the brand with the aim of developing it. However, the capital of this company is split equally between three different players : Nintendo, Game Freaks, the studio behind video games, and Creatures Inc. dealing with card games and Pokémon modeling.

Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

Therefore, Nintendo cannot make unilateral decisions regarding the Pokémon franchise, and it proves this given the number of fan games that abound on the web. Pokemon Insurgence, Pokemon Shodown, PokeMMO … there are tons of hack roms or MMO versions easily accessible on the net. If we can believe that the rights holders are rather negligent, we must not forget that some projects have been suspended anyway., like Pokémon Uranium, one of the most popular rom hacks of the fourth generation. Even more recently, we also remember the FPS developed by a fan in which you had to shoot Pokémon, which Nintendo did not like at all, which had deleted all posts related to 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 total opposition to the childhood image of Pokémon.

Pokéclicker: can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?

Faced with these different fan gameplay 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 ire of the owners of Pokémon because the latter could obscure the flagship application of the license on mobile, Pokémon GO. The comparison isn’t all that surprising as both games focus on the collectible 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 slight competition between these two experiences, substantially very different, displeases The Pokémon Company, to the point of prompting the company to take measures.

In the past, Nintendo has not yet been kind to fangames about its licensing, as demonstrated by the AM2R affair. However, Pokémon is a particular franchise for the Japanese manufacturer as it is not the only beneficiary. Maybe that’s why ROM Hacks and other Pokémon hobbyist projects have been popping up for years, with no fear of being disturbed. However, some fan-favorite titles had yet to be shut down for legal reasons, meaning The Pokémon Company doesn’t allow anyone to mess with its creatures. So when it comes to Pokéclickers, only one thing is certain: enjoy the game while it’s available, because no one knows what the future holds!

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