The Pokemon franchise celebrates its 20th anniversary this year--and The Pokemon Company is going all-out to mark the milestone. To start things off, a new advertisement for Pokemon will run during February's Super Bowl 50 broadcast on GameSpot sister network CBS. According to a recent report, 30-second ad space for the big game on February 7 costs a whopping $5 million, up 11 percent compared to last year.
This video "will encourage fans to Train On," The Pokemon Company said in a statement, though no further details about the advertisement are available at this time.
Then on February 27, the Pokemon franchise's exact 20th birthday, "special events" will be held at retailers across the United States (keep reading to learn more). Also on this date, Nintendo will restock some of the best-selling Pokemon Amiibo toys, including Charizard, Jigglypuff, Greninja, and Lucario.
The Pokemon Company made a number of other announcements today about how it plans to celebrate the Pokemon franchise's birthday across video games, the card game, animation, and more.
First up, the company reiterated that Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow will launch through the eShop on February 27. In addition, Pokemon Red and Blue will be included with a New 3DShardware bundle that comes with a pre-installed copy of each game, two cover plates with art from the games, and the Pokemon 20th anniversary logo. Also included is a code to download a 3DS Pokemon home menu theme.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game is also getting a new release to mark the anniversary. The "Generations" expansion "covers every stage of a Trainer's journey, from the choice of a first partner Pokemon to the most elite of Trainer battles." It comes with Pikachu, Snorlax, Ninetales-EX, Jolteon-EX, Mega Charizard-EX, Mega Blastoise-EX, and Mega Venusaur-EX. The Generations expansion debuts in February.
Generations booster packs are also coming this year, featured in specially marked Pokemon Trading Card Game products. The first of these is the Mythical Pokemon Collection, which launches in February; 11 additional collections will launch in 2016, each of which comes with two Generations booster packs. On top of those, Pokemon Trading Card Game Red and Blue collections, featuring cards for the most famous Pokemon creatures, will also debut in 2016, The Pokemon Company said.
Another element of The Pokemon Company's plans to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary is through special events at retailers. Throughout 2016, fans can visit GameStop locations to download Mew, Darkrai, Arceus, and Genesect for Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon X/Y.
Toys R Us, meanwhile, will offer special foil Pokemon Trading Card Game cards featuring Pikachu and Magikarp on Pokemon Day, February 27. Shoppers can also pick up a Pokemon activity book and a poster featuring the original 151 Pokemon.
On the animation side of things, The Pokemon Company will release 12 feature-length Pokemon movies on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon this year beginning later this month. Some of the movies will include "remastered" versions of Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon the Movie 2000.
Finally, the Pokemon merchandise website,PokemonCenter.com, has been updated with new things to buy. Among the new additions are a Pokemon 20th anniversary baseball cap from New Era and a line of 20th anniversary figures and plush items.
You can learn more about the festivities here on the Pokemon 20 website.
The Pokemon franchise debuted in Japan in 1996 with Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green for GameBoy. Since then, the franchise has exploded in popularity around the world, with more than 275 million games sold. The card game has proven tremendously successful, too, shipping 21.5 billion cards to 74 countries.
We recently learned that the late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata played a major role in bringing Pokemon to America.