Pokemon Home is a Scam
Nintendo has always been a little behind the curve when it comes to using the internet with their consoles. The Nintendo Switch, while widely received positively, has been heavily criticized for its lackluster internet service, especially after it became a paid service. And similar to this, Nintendo hasn’t been the best about providing methods of backing up game save files on a cloud service. On the Switch, only select games can be saved in this manner, meaning that if, say, you lost or damaged your Switch while out and about, your Animal Crossing village could be lost forever.
While Pokemon at least has an option to save your content, it is far from a positive or consumer-friendly service. Pokemon Home is an app that allows users to save their Pokemon from various games, cataloging them and potentially porting them over to other editions of the franchise where those monsters might be harder to find. There is some interactivity on this service, allowing you to trade and battle other players, but this is nothing you can’t do in the official games themselves. Essentially, this is a glorified storage unit for your Pokemon when switching to other versions of the game or ensuring that you’ve protected some of your favorites from being lost. Nintendo has had a similar service to this in the past, the Pokemon Bank, a storage option that is still available. Introduced for the 3DS, this app allowed players to collect Pokemon from a much larger pool of games, making it easier to manage your collection. And much like this predecessor, Pokemon Home comes at a price. Sure, there is a free version of it, except it allows you to hold a maximum of 30 Pokemon and limits how much you can use the various social interactive options, such as hosting room trades. The paid version, on the other hand, allows players to store up to a whopping 6000 Pokemon, more than most players will ever need. The price? $3 a month, $5 every 3 months, or $16 for the year.
Now, why is this, as I claim, a scam? Cloud storage is cheap these days, as the internet is everywhere and quickly becoming considered a fundamental need of humans. Rarely a day goes by where the average person doesn’t, in some way, need to interact with an online service of some kind, whether it be at your home computer or when you’re paying for your groceries. In this way, many stores and services online have learned that providing the storage necessary for such things is something of a courtesy, provided at no extra charge. Steam Cloud, for instance, allows players to save their game files for free as long as the developer of the game your playing puts the ability to do so in place. That’s a lot of data to be held, yet it’s a service that Steam understands is necessary. Nintendo, meanwhile, continues to gate off cloud access, both in terms of the cost players have to pay to access it and which games can even be accessed in this regard. Going back to Pokemon Bank, the only way to gain access to those Pokemon now is by paying the premium Pokemon Home price to allow players to transfer Pokemon from one storage system to another. That’s like charging someone to move their stuff from one storage unit to another down the hall. It feels greedy and manipulative, and it gives Nintendo the look of a wizened grandparent who refuses to get with the times and learn how to send an email already.
Pokemon Home is an evil that Nintendo has created and could just as easily fix if only they could see the issues they’re causing. Instead, what they see is the money flowing in, so they choose to sit back and allow players to pay for a basic service that should be free. While I’m a fan of Pokemon, I’ll make do with the free version until Nintendo sees the damage their doing to one of their most beloved franchise. What do you think? Am I overreacting or is this an issue you can’t stand as well? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!