Game News Pokéclicker: Can Nintendo ban the free Pokémon game?
While the game has been around for a decade, Pokéclicker has been getting some hype lately thanks to many streamers who have given this browser-based fan game huge exposure. Unfortunately, this sudden popularity could also lead to the closure of the project, we explain why.
- 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 genre of idle game Where clicker game has become democratized. However, it is a rather particular type of experience on the passive side because, as its name suggests, all you have to do is click to progress. Worse, past 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 addictive principle, the formula was declined in all sauces and the Pokémon license was no exception to the rule as proven by the famous Pokéclicker in question today.
Find here our tips and our complete guide on Pokéclicker
A probable closure for legal reasons?
You probably suspect it, but it is always good to remember it: Pokéclicker is obviously a fan project that was done without the owners of the Pokémon franchise having been consulted.. Inevitably, this can pose a problem from a legal point of view in terms of intellectual property, since at any time, it is possible that the rights holders sue the creators of the project. And facing the lawyers of the most profitable license of all time, not sure that the developers of this fan-game really have the means to go to court, just from a financial point of view.
Unfortunately, this hypothesis has something to be 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 published on Game Boy in 1992, the project was quickly blocked by Nintendo which asserted its rights in 2016, just after its release. A decision surely motivated by the launch the following year of Metroid: Samus Returns on 3DS which was also an up-to-date 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 about the line that we don’t cross, and from our perspective, that line is when a tribute becomes something that monetizes our license. We allow tributes in many ways. And being a fan myself before being in management, I understand the attraction that you can have for our franchises. But when it comes to monetize, sell, profit, when it crosses the line, we have to assert our rights.
(…) We discuss with entities that were fans and became working partners. These conversations happen all the time, but again, when something becomes a commercial product…and that was the case with AM2R – it was priceless, but it was a commercial product.
However, these justifications are far from sufficient since AM2R was a game distributed free of charge, as the former president of Nintendo of America points out (it was priceless), then difficult to understand how it is a commercial product. Given this vague justification, there is therefore a probability that Pokéclicker will also be blocked by Nintendo, especially since the project shares a common trajectory with AM2R. Indeed, because of the enthusiasm surrounding these two projects, they have gained so much visibility that they have ended up being spotted by Nintendo, which can decide at any time to have them canceled thanks to legal levers. A sadly ironic paradox that might need this kind of fan game to be 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 particular license “from” Nintendo
Since all the games in the franchise have been released on the Japanese manufacturer’s consoles, the general public tends to naturally associate Pokémon with Nintendo, thinking that it is one of its many image licenses. from The Legend of Zelda, Mario or Animal Crossing. In reality, things are much more complicated for Pokémon since it is The Pokémon Company, founded in 1998, which manages the brand with the aim of developing it. However, the capital of this company is divided equally between three different players : Nintendo, Game Freaks, the studio behind the video games, and Creatures Inc. which deals with card games and the modeling of Pokémons.
Thus, Nintendo cannot make unilateral decisions regarding the Pokémon franchise, and it shows given the number of fan games that abound on the web. Pokemon Insurgence, Pokemon Shodown, PokeMMO… there are tons of hack ROMs or MMO version easily accessible on the net. If we could believe that the rights holders are quite lax, we must not forget that some projects have nevertheless been stopped., like Pokémon Uranium, one of the most popular hack ROMs of the fourth generation. Even more recently, we also remember the FPS developed by a fan in which you had to shoot Pokémons, which did not please Nintendo at all, which had all the posts relating to the game deleted. In this case , we can understand the reasons that led the manufacturer to take this decision given the violent nature of the project, in total opposition to the childish image of Pokémon.
Faced with these different fan game treatments, it is difficult to know what can happen to Pokéclicker. But on the other hand, it is possible that the title will attract the wrath of the rights holders of Pokémon because the latter could overshadow the flagship application of the license on mobiles, Pokémon GO. The comparison isn’t all that surprising since both games focus on the collecting 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, basically very different, displeases The Pokémon Company, to the point of pushing the company to take measures.
In the past, Nintendo has still not been kind to the fangames around its licenses as proven by the AM2R affair. However, Pokémon is a particular franchise for the Japanese manufacturer since it is not the only beneficiary. Maybe that’s why ROM Hacks and other hobbyist projects around Pokémon have been popping up for years, with no fear of being bothered. Still, some fan-favorite titles still had to be shut down for legal reasons, which means The Pokémon Company isn’t letting just 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!
Summary of the complete Pokéclicker guide