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Did you feel that Pokémon’s popularity started waning once we got to Gen 3?

Discussion in 'General Pokémon Discussion' started by SWMegaFan, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. SWMegaFan

    SWMegaFan Well-Known Member

    This question pertains to those in the international community outside of Japan (though I’m focusing in the US here, since I can only talk about my experience in the US, being that I’m US-based):

    I can remember back when Pokemon was 1st introduced outside of Japan and boy did it make a splash. Pokemania was in full swing for the first couple of years; you would see Pokemon-branded stuff everywhere, from Pokemon toys in toy sections to food items like Pokemon-branded cereal, Pokemon-branded soup & even Pokemon-branded Pop Tarts. This went on for quite a few years, even as Gen 2 was in full swing.

    However, once Gen 3 hit, I started noticing a downward trend in Pokémon’s popularity. I saw less Pokemon-branded merchandise in stores and not a whole lot of people talked about Pokémon anymore (it’s as if Pokemania fizzled out). Heck, I was just one of the few from my peers who had a GBA and a copy of Pokemon Ruby, & I was hard-pressed to find anyone else with Gen 3 games whom I can trade and battle with (though I’ll admit I was getting older by this time, final years of high school, & I kinda went to a “rough” school where peers looked at Pokemon as “nerd stuff” overall; it was not seen as “cool” to talk about Pokemon). I don’t know about y’all, but to me it seemed like Pokemon was turning into a fad that was going out of style, which isn’t too surprising for many things (something new comes along the way and old stuff is no longer as relevant). Other factors that could’ve contributed to this feeling would be the fact that Gen 3 games weren’t backwards compatible with Gen 1 & Gen 2 games (couldn’t bring your old Pokemon into the new games), & that Ash, Misty & Brock weren’t together anymore in the anyme by this time (although Brock still stuck around).

    Of course, being that today Pokemon is still very much a popular franchise & still makes a lot of money (the video game portion is the 2nd all-time highest successful after all, behind the Mario franchise) , many thanks to the dedicated fanbase it has cultivated over the years, I am glad that I was wrong on my presumption on the dip of Pokémon’s popularity.

    That said, I’m curious to hear from others on their thoughts on this. What was your experience with the Pokemon franchise around this time? Did you feel this way as well once we got into Gen 3? I heard from one Poketuber that this particular era was a really tough & challenging time for the franchise. Did you feel this way as well? Curious to hear from others if they felt that Pokemon became a fad that was going out of style, at least in mainstream culture.
  2. Rational Rayquaza

    Rational Rayquaza Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, I was not old enough to remember Pokémon when it was a major fad upon release in the US or even much of early Generation III. That being said, I have always treated Pokémon's apparent dip in popularity in Generation III as a stabilization of sorts. Pokémon burst on to the scene, but after a few years, the series suffered from franchise fatigue. Pokémon was new and exciting from 1998-2001, but then Pikachu became a household name and Pokémon got boring. Generation II brought 100 new Pokémon and another pair of games followed by a third version. Upon announcement of Generation III, it was likely becoming apparent that Pokémon was becoming formulaic. Things like the fact that Misty was replaced by May and that Generation II and III games were unable to trade likely contributed little to the downward trend of the popularity of Pokémon. What most likely happened besides the franchise fatigue was that people were growing out of Pokémon. The next generation of potential Pokémon fans were watching new shows like Yu-Gi-Oh! or wanted to disassociate from that which their older siblings once enjoyed.

    Despite the apparent dip in popularity, Pokémon was still massively popular as it has enjoyed success which few other franchises can claim to have had. From my personal experience during the later Generation III and Generation IV was that Pokémon was still immensely popular. People would bring their Pokémon cards to school or talk about Pokémon Fire Red, Emerald, and Diamond/Pearl. At the time, I never doubted that Pokémon was popular and the sales of GBA Pokémon games prove it. It isn't especially fair when you consider how soon the Nintendo DS was released after GBA, meaning that the Generation III series Pokémon games would have likely have sold much better had the GBA stayed relevant for longer. I remember going into stores and still seeing, relatively speaking, a lot of Pokémon merchandise and cards. I can not imagine what it was like when Pokémon was first released in the US however.
    Scammel likes this.
  3. BCVM22

    BCVM22 Well-Known Member

    Of course it did. The popularity the franchise enjoyed internationally from 1998-2001(ish) was never going to endure forever, and anyone could have predicted that. That's the fate of all properties. The key is to find a way to sustain a consistent and enduring presence and profitability after that fade, and Pokémon has more than done that. Among other reasons, Pokémon has the benefit of refreshing itself every three to four years and introducing a new region with new monsters that every new group of young fans gets to claim as their first game. That goes a long way, and for as long as kids in the target demographic (ages 6-11) exist, there will be consumers buying the games. Case in point - you experienced a fade during Generation III, but there are any number of fans whose first exposure to the franchise was Hoenn.

    Don't listen to anyone who says "but I don't like it now!" or "the franchise is dying!", not for a second. Nothing but noise. The franchise remains strong, healthy, and a consistent chart-topping producer of revenue and is poised to continue doing so for years to come.
    Ariki, Mr. Reloaded and shoz999 like this.
  4. pikanewb

    pikanewb WiteMic

    By Gen 3, it's core fan base was grown up. We had to start being adults. Bills became a thing. They had to restart from nothing to gain fans and a following again. Luckily our generation said F it and gaming and all that "nerdy" stuff everyone thought was childish became the norm and popular. I always loved Pokémon but at some point I had no time to even think about games. Luckily Platinum came out and grabbed me.
    Ariki likes this.
  5. shoz999

    shoz999 ... Don't laugh.

    Declining? No not really. Was it no longer as popular as the RG/GS days? That is true. Pokemon was still insanely popular in the Gen 3 days, it was just diminishing at a slower rate. The kids at my elementary school always talked about Pokemon... through the games though. At my store there was tons and tons of Gen 3 merch on a constant basis. Toys, cards, e-reader devices, news about Pokemon coming to the gamecube. The anime declined in popularity though, the games resuming the role as the main lifeblood of the series. Now that I think about it much of the merch I saw was more focused towards the games. I've never seen any merch made for the anime during Gen 3.

    I suppose I best describe the Gen 3 days as Pokemon still being insanely popular, just not as popular as previously. It's weird and difficult trying to evaluate Pokemon's popularity, it's a franchise more recognizable than Star Wars or Harry Potter after all.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  6. Mr. Reloaded

    Mr. Reloaded Ask me anything

    @BCVM22 said it perfectly, fads do not last very long at all. And Pokémon was unfortunately one of the biggest example's of it. By 2003 most of those kids were already in High School, by that point those who still played games moved Final Fantasy and Halo and the like.

    It's great the franchise lives on albeit not as strong as the 90's, but it's doing good.
  7. Scammel

    Scammel Well-Known Member

    Popularity as a raw product, so to speak? Yeah, I don't foresee the series hitting that initial peak on the same scale ever again. I really enjoyed SM and BW certainly performed very well off the top of my head in terms of sales figures, but the multi-media perfect storm of games, cards and show was lightning that won't strike twice.

    As a brand? I swear I see more emblazoned t-shirts, backpacks and mugs with every passing day. Pikachu is as ubiquitous as Mario and is probably Japan's strongest cultural ambassador.

    It's faintly reminiscent of the Simpsons, where the merchandising has far outstripped the reach of the show itself - except Pokémon's core product hasn't creatively died in a ditch.
  8. shoz999

    shoz999 ... Don't laugh.

    Now that I think about it, I think it's really just the anime that took a huge hit in decline. The games were still hitting vast huge numbers and the TCG still, and to this day, literally dominates much of the TCG market.
    SubtleVVeirdoh likes this.
  9. McKnight

    McKnight Active Member

    Among my own peers, Pokemon was popular for a year, when I was in 7th grade (12-13yo), and then started waning just days after I started 8th, halfway through Gen I. That was the time I myself got into it, and I remember only two classmates of mine who were still into it, talking about the anime and such.
  10. Jersey Jimmy

    Jersey Jimmy WORST PERSON EVER

    Of course it did. As incredible as it may be to think about, Pokemon was a fad. Like Pogs. Or MySpace. Hell, with Go, it was a fad twice over.

    I think it comes down to it having the backing of Nintendo, ultimately. There's a dedicated player base built in there (not to mention pockets deeper than the Marianas Trench), and the fact that Game Freak has been treating 10 million copies sold as the ground floor since pretty much the beginning says a lot about that. I don't think Pokemon is ever going to be "unpopular."

    I will say, however, that this level of popularity has sort of let GF become complacent. But that's a topic for another time.
  11. In my experience, it was a bit earlier here. Probably because of basically all schools banning pokemon cards and the lot (they seem to be paranoid about any and all fads), the craze started fading shortly after gen 2 came out here.

    But that's natural, a craze doesn't continue on for many years, people get over it cause something new comes their way and the previous craze is old news. The pokemon games kept staying immensely popular (although not as popular as during the late 90's), but as far as I know the other pokemon media (anime, tcg etc) decreased a lot more in popularity compared to their early days. I also stopped watching the anime after gen 2.

    This isn't the fault of gamefreak or nintendo or anything. It's human nature to want new things. However pokémon did surpass that as it remains one of the best selling game series Nintendo has till this day.
  12. Leonhart

    Leonhart Disney fanatic

    Gen II seemed to be when the franchise's popularity began to decline, but I did notice that Gen III was when many of my friends quit playing the games, mainly because they grew out of it.

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