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Looking Back On Pokemon's 25th Anniversary: Trading Cards, Video Games And Happy Meals

Looking Back On Pokemon's 25th Anniversary: Trading Cards, Video Games And Happy Meals

Over the weekend, Pokemon celebrated its 25th anniversary. The idea of “pocket monsters” has led the Japanese franchise into successful trading card games, video games, television shows, movies and licensing opportunities.

Pokemon-licensed items accounted for $4.2 billion in retail sales in 2019, according to data from License Global. That figure may have increased in 2020 and 2021 with new items and license partners jumping on board for the 25th anniversary.

The anniversary for Pokemon included a virtual concert with Post Malone and the unveiling of several new items from the company.

Here is a look back at the success of Pokemon and what’s to come.

Investing In Success of Pokemon: The Pokemon Company is jointly owned by video game companies Creatures, Game Freak and Nintendo Co (OTC: NTDOY).

Investors only have the option of stock from Nintendo Co., which owns around 33% of The Pokemon Company. Along with its ownership in the Pokemon company and brand, Nintendo benefits from being the exclusive home to Pokemon video games on the Nintendo Switch. 

Trading Cards Rise In Popularity: One of the trends that happened with Pokemon in 2020 was investors flocking to old unopened boxes of Pokemon cards. Over the weekend, over 2.5 million people watched Logan Paul in partnership with Goldin Auctions for a box break on YouTube.

The box was valued at over $1 million with an auction of the unopened packs taking place before the unboxing. Two first edition Holo Charizard cards were opened in the box. This card is considered one of the holy grails in trading card gaming.

Wizards of the Coast, which is now owned by Hasbro Inc (NASDAQ: HAS), gained the rights to make Pokemon cards in the late 1990s. The company released the first Pokemon TCG cards in the U.S. in 1999. The cards sold over 400,000 units in the first six weeks, which was 10 times more than the company projected.

In 2003, Nintendo established an American division to make Pokemon TCG cards with Wizards of the Coast's contract ending. Wizards of the Coast sued Nintendo and reached a resolution out of court over releasing cards at the same time and luring executives away to the new card division.

In Japan, Pokemon TCG cards sold over 1 billion cards in their first three years.

Related Link: Exclusive: $375K 1st Edition Pokemon Card Box Record Set By Trader Chris Camillo

Pokemon Video Games: Pokemon has been of the most popular video game franchises, dating back to the release of "Pokemon Red" and "Pokemon Blue" on the Game Boy.

It was announced last week that “Pokemon Brilliant Diamond” and “Pokemon Shining Pearl” will launch exclusively on the Nintendo Switch in late 2021. A third new Pokemon game called “Pokemon Legends: Arceus” will launch on the Switch in 2022.

The first two games are remakes of the iconic “Pokemon Diamond” and “Pokemon Pearl” games that were released on the Nintendo DS and sold over 17.7 million copies.

“Pokemon Sword” and “Pokemon Shield” sold over 20.35 million units on the Nintendo Switch as of December 31, making them the fifth bestselling games on the console.

Pokemon Go: In 2016, “Pokemon Go” became one of the most successful mobile phone game launches ever. The launch helped boost Nintendo shares and led to a surge in popularity for the brand again.

“Pokemon Go” had revenue of $832 million 2016. The following year, revenue dipped 29% to $589 million. The dip was short-lived though, as revenue for “Pokemon Go” has gone up every year since. In 2019, revenue for “Pokemon Go” was $902 million.

Last year, “Pokemon Go” had its best year ever with revenue of $1.92 billion, a year-over-year increase of 39%, according to data from Super Data.

McDonald’s Joins The Fun: One of the key partners with Pokemon for the 25h anniversary is McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD). The restaurant chain is currently offering four card packs of Pokemon in its Happy Meals.

Fans have been buying as many Happy Meals as they can, leading to premiums for resellers listing the cards and unopened packs on eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).

“With the significant demand for our promotional Pokemon TCG cards, and some fans even going to extreme lengths to get them, we’re working quickly to address shortages and also strongly encouraging restaurants to set a reasonable limit on Happy Melas sold per customer,” McDonald’s said in a statement to Polygon.

Pokemon Television And Movies: There are dozens of Pokemon movies and several television series, many which can be found by subscribers of Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX).

A new movie called “Detective Pikachu” was released in 2019 with Warner Brothers, an AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) company. The movie grossed $144.1 million domestically and $433 million worldwide. A sequel has been rumored but not confirmed by the parties involved.

Some investors may remember how the success of the original Pokemon television series boosted the value of 4Kids Entertainment, which traded on the NYSE. The company held the rights to license Pokemon outside of Asia.

Shares of 4Kids Entertainment went up 10-fold in price and had two stock splits. The company was valued at over $1 billion before declaring bankruptcy and being delisted.

Photo credit: Jarek Tuszyński, via Wikimedia Commons


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Posted-In: Goldin Auctions Logan Paul Nintendo Switch Pokemon Pokemon Cards Pokemon GoNews Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

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