2020 was a rough year for just about everyone. This was no different for gaming companies, even one as prestigious as the Pokémon Company. The pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for both Pokémon and fans of the franchise.
Now that the year is coming to a close, we can look back on it and reflect. Pokémon had some major content releases this year in Pokémon Sword and Shield, they managed to find ways to move their competitions online, and they even found ways to keep Pokémon GO enjoyable while staying safe.
Pokémon’s first DLC
2020 marked an important milestone for the franchise. It was the first time a Pokémon game ever got downloadable content (DLC). This came in the form of The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, the two expansions for Pokémon Sword and Shield.
While the expansions were somewhat short, they still provided fans with new features and new experiences. It was also a change from the traditional method of releasing a slightly different game in the same region, like Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon in generation seven.
The introduction of Pokémon Home
Pokémon Home, an app to move Pokémon from the 3DS and Mobile to the Nintendo Switch came out earlier in 2020. This app allows players to move their Pokémon into Pokémon Sword and Shield. It also lets players trade using the Global Trade System (GTS).
The app gives players rewards for completing certain tasks as well. For example, moving a Pokémon from Pokémon GO to Pokémon Home awards a special Melmetal that can Gigantamax. The app is bound to have new rewards in the future as well.
Competitions had to move to an online format
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of 2020 for Pokémon was managing official competitions. The pandemic made big gatherings impossible, so tournaments had to move to an online format. This brought the Pokémon Players Cup to life.
The Pokémon Players Cup allows players from Pokémon Sword and Shield, The Pokémon Trading Card Game, and Pokkén Tournament DX to compete for a chance to appear at a future live event. There have now been two Players Cups and a third is coming up in January.
Pokémon GO made serious changes
Pokémon GO is a game entirely based on getting out and playing with other people. When the pandemic made this unsafe, the game had to find ways to adapt. Niantic introduced Remote Raid Passes and made it possible to get gifts from Pokéstops without actually visiting them. These changes, along with several others, made it possible to play from home.
Overall, The Pokémon Company handled the challenges 2020 had to offer well. They made their games playable and accessible to both casual and competitive players. With 2021 being the 25th anniversary of the franchise, we can expect to get some new exciting news soon.