After months of speculation of what exactly it would be, The Pokemon Company’s latest service, Pokemon Home, is set to officially launch this February.

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Pokemon continues to make waves with its journey into a mainline home console with its titles on the Nintendo Switch. Dipping its toe in the water with the Let’s Go series in November of 2018, the latest mainline titles, Sword and Shield, just announced a major break from form for Pokemon with the introduction of expansion passes. Typically, the formula for Pokemon has been an initial release of a new generation, and then a slightly revamped third edition from the game. In the first generation, yellow version succeeded red and blue, crystal succeeded gen two’s gold and silver, emerald would succeed the third generation’s ruby and sapphire, and the pattern continued (with the notable exception of gen 6’s X and Y getting no love with a Z version). While this is an exciting announcement, and extends the shelf life of the current eight generation of Pokemon, news broke this week about the service somewhat shrouded in mystery, Pokemon Home.

Pokemon Home is the successor to the Pokemon Bank, a service that was available on the Nintendo DS, costing $4.99 a year. Essentially, Pokemon Bank allowed players to transfer their Pokemon from virtually any generation to the Bank, and then access those Pokemon in another generation. It made transferring Pokemon from previous generations much more straightforward.

Pokemon Sword & Shield gameplay

Players were assured that, though Pokemon Home would be replacing Pokemon Bank, this type of compatibility would still be accessible, and that certainly seems to be the primary purpose of Pokemon Home. Interestingly, there’s been a lot of buzz about the price tag of Pokemon Home. For the premium version, a yearly subscription runs $15.99, which is a hefty increase of Pokemon Bank. Pokemon Home does, however, come with a free option that really seems like more than enough.

The biggest drawback to the free version is players will not have access to their Pokemon in the Pokemon Bank. This has players outraged. Now, I am a longtime fan of Pokemon. I think the games, despite mostly having the same formula, are a wickedly fun escape. Players complaining about not being able to transfer their old Pokemon need to go outside and breathe in some real air. Get some sunshine, and relax. In every Pokemon game, you can build a team of six pocket monsters. Six. They’re not hard to find. They’re not hard to acquire, especially with trading via the internet. If you’re really having trouble finding something, go on a trading form on Reddit, and someone will be able to hook you up. The only real rarity in Pokemon is finding a shiny. Everything else that you care about can pretty easily be achieved with a little bit of work in a new game.

Or, if it is that important to you, pay for a subscription. It’s really not that much money. In the grand scheme of things, having to shell out a few dollars to transfer data from outdated technology to the fresh Nintendo Switch is not anything to go on the internet and complain about.

To break down the differences between the free basic plan and the paid premium plan, I’m inserting a listicle into my article:

  1. If you care about transferring Pokemon from Pokemon Bank, you have to pay for that premium content. Treat yourself, I guess.
  2. In the free version, you can deposit 30 pokemon. The premium version allows you to deposit 6000. If depositing 6000 is a feature that you think you need, please, go do anything but playing Pokemon. You’ve played all the Pokemon. There’s no more Pokemon for you.
  3. There’s something called a Wonder Box. You place Pokemon in it, and then it randomly swaps them for other Pokemon. With the basic plan, you can put three Pokemon into the wonder box at a time. For the premium plan, you can put 10.
  4. The Global Trade System is back! This is a neat feature that allows you to specify what type of Pokemon you’re looking for, and you can even specify gender. For example, you can offer up a Galarian Corsola for a Chikorita, and if someone wants a Galarian Corsola, they can trade up their Chikorita, and now everyone is happy. You can put one pokemon on the GTS with the free plan, 3 at a time with the premium plan.
  5. There’s something called room trading that you can participate in with a free plan, but to host, you guessed it, you need that premium.
  6. The judge function, which is freely unlockable in basically every game, requires the premium plan on Pokemon Home.

So there you have it. One thing worth noting, is if you have the Let’s Go Series, once you transfer Pokemon out of Let’s Go, and bring them into Galar, they can never go back to Let’s Go, ever. Seems kind of weird, but I’m just stoked I can transfer my shiny vulpix from Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee to my Galar Champion’s team.

Happy homing!

By: Dan Burkett
@DanielBurkett

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