Pokémon is Evolving! An investigation into the development of the Pokémon community and expectations for the future of the franchise

  • Carina Assunção University of Edinburgh
  • Michelle Brown De Montfort University
  • Ross Workman University of Central Lancashire


Pokémon is one of Nintendo’s largest, most influential franchises. With a history ranging more than twenty years, its enormous fan-base spans video and trading card games, anime TV shows and films, amongst other media. This paper aims to investigate the Pokémon fan community while exploring how the franchise has grown: from its beginnings as a pop-culture phenomenon, to one of the strongest and friendliest gaming fan communities in existence today. Data gathered from 165 online respondents examines how fans’ past experiences with the franchise inform their expectations towards future products. It also explores how considerable efforts from developers – as well as the gaming community – contribute to the creative growth of a continually-expanding fan-base. Additionally, this study was in a unique position to gather data before two new Pokémon games were released: Pokken Tournament and Pokémon GO. The former did not generate high expectations but still performed well in terms of sales. The latter was thought of as a casual game but, as the world now knows, was a tremendous success. Insights obtained from researching fan attitudes to unreleased games show that expectations do not always become reality.


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