Nintendo has never released a Pokémon game in Chinese.
This is a bit of a surprise because Pokémon is Nintendo’s second-most lucrative franchise after Mario, has been around for almost 20 years now.
It’s even more surprising since Nintendo doesn’t ignore the Chinese market. According to the South China Morning Post (via Kotaku’s Brian Ashcroft), Nintendo has released China-specific DS and 3DS handheld consoles in the country, under the company’s “iQue” brand, but the Kyoto, Japan-based company has never offered Chinese language support in any of its Pokémon games.
Fans are looking to change that.
“We understand the fact that there were difficulties in localizing the Pokémon video games into Chinese over the years,” the petition said. “However, as time goes by, most obstacles melt away and it is the ideal opportunity for developing the full potential of the Greater China region.”
The petition cites three main reasons for why Nintendo should consider a full Chinese version of its Pokemon games, including the increase of piracy threats that would almost certainly allow in-game Chinese support, the loosening policy restrictions for video game sales in China that can “enhance the franchise’s existence” in that region, and the low costs of translating a game into Chinese.
“Pokémon is a miracle in our lives,” the petition reads. “We Pokémon fans worldwide share our adventures, discoveries and dreams together. We catch, raise, battle and trade our Pokémon with love. I believe we would create an even better world together, when the language spoken by one fifth of this world’s population comes into the games.”
Adding Chinese language support sounds like a simple way for Nintendo to drive revenue for its game business, which has been struggling in recent years, mostly due to sluggish Wii U sales. But the 3DS is Nintendo’s best selling console, and Pokemon is one of its best all-time franchises. According to game database VGChartz, Nintendo has sold 228.29 million units of 42 different Pokemon games since 1996. It would make a great deal of sense for Nintendo to address its Chinese fans with one of its most popular games, now that the country recently lifted its 13-year ban on video game consoles.
“We dream one day, we can bring our children to a Pokémon World Championships hosted at our homeland,” the petition said. “We are full of appreciation and anticipation.”
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