There’s a popular chart that has made its way onto the internet that displays how long it took a product or service to reach 50 million concurrent users. For air travel and television, this took a number of decades. For Facebook and other social media platforms, this took less than 10 years. But for a small AR game known as Pokémon Go, it took a total of 19 days, and there hasn’t been anything to surpass that record yet. This is a living testament to how popular the Pokémon franchise really is, and why it continues to be a staple in modern pop culture. Pokémon has a long and fascinating history that starts in Japan and quickly makes its way around the world to arguably become the planet’s most well-known IP.
How Pokémon Was Started
Pokémon is the creation of Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese man that was born in the suburbs of Tokyo. Tajiri had a fascinating with insects and amphibians as a child and spent many years of his young life inspecting the many insects that could be found on his property. It’s this fascinating and love of invertebrates that led to his idea to create a game that involved catching insects, and it dawned on him that he could allow other children to share in that fascination.
Along with the assistance of Ken Sugimori and a number of other friends, he formed the company Game Freak, which would lead to another studio down the line called Creatures. Tajiri’s idea came to fruition upon the release of the Game Boy, and its Game Boy Link Cable feature, which allowed two people to share a single game, similar to how modern online betting offers can be shared among bettors. It gave him the inspiration to work on a new game that was heavily influenced by Ultraman, where the protagonist had monsters that were contained in small devices that helped him battle his enemies. He used the two to create a game called Capsule Monsters. At first, Nintendo was not interested in the idea, and rejected it multiple times, but with the help of Shigeru Miyamoto, they were eventually able to convince Nintendo to start funding their idea.
Growth Of The Franchise
It took around 6 years of development before the final game was released to the public. Countless changes and additions were made, and the name was changed to Pocket Monsters. In the beginning, the game was met with a lukewarm response, with many players not taking too much interest. This was until the Pokémon Mew was found in the game, and a gaming magazine offered a special Pokémon Contest that would end up getting thousands of entrants. This proved to be a pivotal moment in the franchise, and sales quickly exploded first around Japan, and then the world. Along with further games, a card trading game, and eventually a television show, Pokémon would entrench itself as a global franchise that wouldn’t be matched in popularity for decades to come.