News Article

Ever Wonder Why Pokémon Black And White 2 Isn't On The 3DS?

Posted by Damien McFerran

It's all about the numbers, baby

When you're trying to sell as many units as possible of your latest console, you might assume that its simply best practice to ensure that all your strongest games are released for that system. Common sense, right? Not quite.

Take Pokémon Black And White 2, for example. It's coming out on the Nintendo DS and not the Nintendo 3DS - the latter of which is of course Nintendo's current portable hardware.

When asked by The Verge why this is the case, series producer Junichi Masuda replied:

The primary goal is to get as many people as possible able to play the game. With the Nintendo DS, it's the handheld hardware system that the most people in the world have. Those who played Black and White may not have a 3DS, but they definitely played on a regular DS.

Makes sense, really. The DS still has an installed based that dwarfs that of the 3DS, and besides, it's not as if 3DS owners miss out on the monster-catching action - their console is backwards-compatible anyway. Still, it's a shame that the additional power afforded by the newer machine isn't being used to create this latest adventure.

Are you disappointed that Nintendo hasn't used the 3DS for the latest Pokémon installment, or are you more interested in the gameplay? Do let us know.


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User Comments (90)



Tasuki said:

Truthfully IMO it would have been smart of them to release it on both 3DS and DS like alot of the games are doing nowadays. Some examples being a few of the Lego Games, Harvest Moon, The Sims and a few others. That way people have the choice on which system they would rather have it on.



RupeeClock said:

Aside from the fact that the DS has a much larger installed base than the 3DS (and that the 3DS is backwards compatible), Black 2 and White 2 appear to lay down the groundwork that allows for 3DS compliance in DS software.

In other words bridging the way from Black 2/White 2 to the 6th generation of games that may be arriving on the 3DS. If there is anything that should be avoided, it's how 1st and 2nd generation pokémon on the Gameboy could not be brought along to the 3rd generation on the GBA.



Popyman said:

This was never a big secret, their reasons are pretty obvious. I'm cool with it...this time. If the next Pokemon game isn't in the 3DS then we are going to have some problems.



Mk_II said:

Pokemon games are geared towards a younger audience and they usually own an older DS model and not the latest 3DS



Handy_Man said:

I'm fine with it on the DS, but the smarter move would've been GameFreak delaying Pokemon Black and White by a year or so in order for them to be made for the 3DS. This way, Black 2 and White 2 would also be on the 3DS, and Nintendo gets more money from 3DS and 3DS XL sales thanks to the Gen V Pokemon games. Everyone wins!



vdallos said:

I like the fact is on ds. I have a 3ds but my friends dont. And play pokemin alone is plain bad.



XCWarrior said:

Generation 6 better be on 3DS. It's a system seller, it makes no sense not to bring it out on 3DS.



ueI said:

Or maybe they just weren't ready to make an entirely new game, which is what people would expect if it were on the 3DS.



Pokefanmum82 said:

i don't see what the big is about money and the way they can make the most money is to sell it on the DS. But no one should be surprised by this. The sequel has always been on the old hardware anyways. Yellow was on the GB, Crystal was on the GBC, Emerald was on GBA, Platinum was on the DS. Game Freak has been doing it this way since the beginning.

Obviously the 6th generation is going to be on the 3DS...just look at the newest Pokemon game that has been announced. Mystery Dungeon is on the 3DS so obviously it won't be hard for the next generation to be on the 3DS.



therick112 said:

I was always surprised that B&W was not a launch title for the 3DS. They would have had a killer app out of the gate, and would have moved many more units if Pokemon were leading the charge.



Salnax said:

There still should have been a 3DS version, especially with those 3DS appsthey're making alongside the game.



FJOJR said:

I held off on the 5th generation of Pokemon as I expect the big leap forward that I'm looking for in the series will come with the 3DS and Wii U.



Lalivero said:

@mumof2kids82 None of those you mentioned were sequels, more like (mini) deluxe versions; although it still makes sense in general to have those on the same console as the rest of that generation's main games.

@Salnax At least we can probably be assured that the 3DS will get the spotlight next. I kind of agree that having the 3DS app compatible with the (DS) game is an interesting bridge between consoles. On top of that, a new Mystery Dungeon, in full 3D at that, is on its way out; just imagine what they could do with a mainstream game.



Xilef said:

I'm would much rather have the first Pokemon 3DS games to be a new generation, so i'm completely okay with this.



Gridatttack said:

Obviously, they couldn't release it for 3DS. I wonder how the system compatibility would have worked out to work between versions.
The problem B&W 2 got is that it got released at the end of the DS life cycle.



dimi said:

"Masuda explains that the Pokemon franchise is shared between three companies: Game Freak, Creatures, and Nintendo. Masuda says that despite the shared investment, no one forces them to design for a specific console or handheld, so it's up to Game Freak to decide when they want to move to the 3DS. The size of the 3DS user base remains a concern." Good maybe for Gamefreaks money wise, bad for Nintendo, bad for 3ds, bad for the franchise strategically speaking.



Kirk said:

As long as there's a full-on 3D version for the 3DS, still sticking to the same camera viewpoint however, then I have not problem with this at all.



grumblebuzzz said:

I'm not into Pokemon, but even I know how huge the series is. If Nintendo had decided to release both Black and White and Black and White 2 on the 3DS, obviously that would have shifted more 3DS systems, right? Hardcore Pokemon fans would buy a new system to play the new game. Sometimes it seems like simple business logic eludes Nintendo.



Knux said:

I'm obviously not surprised by this. Game Freak would have to put in a lot of work for a 3DS Pokemon game, and why do that now when the DS is still printing money?



Xilef said:

@dimi Nintendo is still making money of the game, and releasing a new game on old hardware has never hurt the franchise before.

This isn't new really. Emerald was releases when the DS was out and Crystal when the GBA was out. New main serier Pokemon games usualy gets released 2-3 years into the new hardwares life cykle. I don't understand why everyone is getting so surprised by this...



AcesHigh said:

I think the key word missing here is, "Yet..." The natural evolution of the handheld will be for DS to go bye bye in a couple years, replaced by 3DS. It's just a natural evolution and will happen. Just like the GBA was not supposed to compete with the GB - but it did. And, naturally, the older model dropped off. It is inevitable that Pokemon will arrive on 3DS eventually. To think otherwise is silly. The question is whether it will come to 3DS sooner rather than later. I think probably in 2013, they will announce the next full version of the game for 3DS - either late 2013 or early 2014. This will give the 3DS a year / year and a half to continue its growth and installed userbase as consumers follow that natural tech evolution and migrate to 3DS. It will happen. Right now, they're right. Pokemon is the DS's biggest franchise. Jumping ship to 3DS right now would just be foolish.



AcesHigh said:

You're exactly right mate. Hit the nail on the head. Pokemon is not Nintendo's sole property. The only way a company like Game Freaks and Creatures would agree to develop a full Pokemon game (or iteration) in 3D at this time (and abandon more development for their core DS market) is if Nintendo subsidized the development. This is because the benefit would really be more for Nintendo to increase it's install-base. Yes, a new 3DS Pokemon would move 3DSs, but there is more potential for straight game sales on DS. So the advantage goes to Nintendo. So they would need to pay for development if this is something Nintendo really wanted. And to be honest, if I were in charge of nintendo's product strategy, I would do the same as they are doing now. 3DS is doing VERY well and there are some very strong apps on the shelf now and coming that will carry them through the holidays. They don't NEED a Pokemon on 3DS this holiday season. If anything, they have the best of both worlds right now for their consumers. If mom and Dad can't afford a new 3DS and games for their kids for Xmas, they have Pokemon. If they CAN afford it, there's the 3DS and Mario 2. In fact, I bet they will come up with a bundle right before Xmas like they did last year to include the 3DSXL and NSMB2. They really have this holiday season nailed. The think about marketing is that you have to have legs. You can't just blow your load in one shot. there needs to be something to kill the holiday season and then the season after that and they holiday season after that, etc. It's a marathon - not a sprint. Nintendo is doing this right, IMHO.



AcesHigh said:

Yes, the DS will not go away in 2 years. But by then, the 3DS will be significantly stronger - if not holding the lion's share of users over the DS by that time. The 3DS is doing very well right now. Continued growth in two years should see it being more dominant than the DS as consumers will have had close to 4 years to upgrade by then. either way, I'm not saying the DS has to be dead for a 3DS Pokemon is developed. Just need more time for the 3DS to have an installed base closer to the DS right now. But I do think they will announce one in 2103 and probably released 2014.



Marakuto said:

Let me put it in a simple way:
Generation 1 - Gameboy
Generation 2 - Gameboy color
Generation 3 - Gameboy Advance
Generation 4 - DS
Generation 5 - DSi enchantments

The next adventure game after BW2 which still remains a 5th Gen game, will be still be a DS game. 6th Generation however I can't really say much, but it is likely it would be on the 3DS as Gamefreak has the developer tools to make it happen.



Xilef said:

@AcesHigh In Japan the games are usally announced in the beginning of the year and releases in the Autumn. If they are planning to follow this tradition it's either an 2013 or 2014 announcment + release.

And waht you are saying makes sense. By the time D/P was released the DS already had a strung user base, brobably the same with R/S on the GBA. Again, this whole scenario is nothing new.



Marakuto said:

Wait until generation 5 is over, they follow the Pattern which a lot of fans know about.



ShadJV said:

Those citing the "pattern"... Gamefreak broke that pattern by have two versions as a direct sequel.

Still, I think there was definitely thought put into this decision. Quite simply, Black and White 2 wouldn't be system sellers. They don't offer enough new features for fans to want to buy a new handheld just for them. These versions cater to fans who have played the first Black or White (being the first direct sequel in the main series), so they most likely still own a DS. And, of course, any that have a 3DS can still play because of backward compatibility.

Assuming there's a Generation Six (which is likely, the series still sells well), it would almost certainly be on the latest handheld. New entries can be system sellers (because all they have to do is make a new region and add in a hundred or so more 'mons, as well as a couple gimmicks for the system's capabilities).



NintenHero said:

Yeah I would prefer it be on the 3DS, as it would of made a lot more sense and would of enhanced the experience. Either way it being for the DS doesn't really matter since the gameplay is the same. Plus Gen 6 will obviously be on 3DS so no need to even think if it will be, but hmmm...I wonder how many Gens they'll have though...

Anyway can't for for BW2 yo!



ouroborous said:

Stupid, if you have a better system and a popular title, everybody knows that you release that title for the newer system so that you can bring along any reluctant buyers to the newer system via that popular title even if there's nothing else they really want it for (backwards compatibility is always a plus).
How many times have we all bought a new system because of a Zelda or a Castlevania (or whatever game series you love) that we just had to play? Lots of times, thats how many. Hello Pikmin 3 on WiiU anybody??? I don't give two squats about the WiiU other than there are a few games coming out that I do really want to play and yes, I would buy a system just to play a new Pikmin and a new Nano Assault and nothing else.
In my case, I might very well give these Pokemon games a toss if they were actual 3DS games, but if they are just DS games, I'll pass. I have a DSLite and a 3DSXL and I don't intend to use the DSLite for anything other than it's occasionally ideal architecture, certainly not for playing "new" games, that's ridiculous.
It's like back when there were still NES and SNES games coming out at the same time. Really, did anyone want to play the NES version of TMNT Tournament Fighters over the SNES version? Um, nope! Not unless your parents were way too cheap to buy you a SNES and then you were stuck with the old NES and played it and cried a whole lot every time. haha.



HawkeyeWii said:

Calm down everyone. The 3DS will %100 for sure have a full fledged original pokemon game within the next two years



Prof_Clayton said:

@HawkeyeWii Not for sure, as it may take a while to transition to the 3d effect, and ride the wake of B&W2. However I'd almost guarantee an announcement/confirmal in 2 years, perhaps a launch date as well.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@AcesHigh That being said Nintendo actually owns Creatures Inc. So it's more like Nintendo owns 2/3 of the rights. Well GameFreak is under contract and not owned by Nintendo so it could be pretty bad if they pissed them off.



Cyrso said:

By this logic launching new consoles have actually no sense since they have no installed base?

By this logic all Wii U games should be on Wii! Certainly numbered sequels like Bayonetta 2, no wait that should be on PS3/Xbox since the original wasn't even on Wii.

Like mentioned money, lazyness and idk...



Lalivero said:

@Xilef Imo, with BW2 out finally in October internationally, I see most of the '13 being pretty quiet, which would draw it closer to 3 years for this gen. Even then, usually the later games(aside from main-main, yes you heard right) don't have to be stuck on the older system just because that was the system of that gen.

@Marakuto Exactly what main adventure is after BW2? Nothing has been mentioned and isn't even necessary really. As has been mentioned before, this so called 'pattern' has already been broken and is something we pretty much have expected by now, it doesn't necessarily mean it'll stay that way forever. I'm not saying this gen is done done, but now BW2 are out/on the way out, I see no reason why others have to be tied to the DS over 3DS.



NintendoMaster said:

Nintendo could have sold so many more 3DS systems if a main Pokemon game was on it. Sure the installed base for 3DS isn't as big, but Pokemon would make it bigger. It was a huge missed opportunity that could have greatly expanded 3DS's installed base. I'm hoping for Ruby and Sapphire remakes in 2013 on the 3DS. Please make it happen!



Lalivero said:

@NintendoMaster I definitely wouldn't be shocked to see that happen...well I would because we don't know how 3DS main pokemon games will look, etc., but I can't wait for such a game, period.



Xilef said:

Just realised something, why are people complaining about the 3DS not selling massive numbers because of the lack of a Pokemon game? It's Nintendo's problem, not ours. Besides, we will get a 3DS Pokemon game and it will sell millions. Wheter it's happening now or later doesn't really mater.



Lalivero said:

@Xilef It's not really that the 3DS is doing poorly without it, it's just that it could have been one of those killer apps to help push it from the near get go(though I still think the price drop was a really smart move anyway). The main games have been proven to be system sellers.



Emaan said:

I'm fine with it being on DS, however it'd be nice if playing DS games on a 3DS wasn't so lame.



Xilef said:

@Chriiis Yes but like i said, the sytem selling poorly isn't really ours problem but Nintendos. Having that killer app on the launch would have been cool yes but now the 3DS is doing fine so it doesn't matter now.



Kyoto said:

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Magnagate and the Infinite Labyrint will make it all up for me when it comes out (hopefully next year)



Lalivero said:

@Xilef I'm not making a point about how poorly/well the system was selling, I was saying that Pokemon isn't necessarily a make or break deal but it obviously would have given it a nice boost. It'd still give a nice boost now, so 'it is doing fine now' doesn't really matter either.



Ichiban said:

If you ask me, both Mario & Pokemon need to jump outta their little safety nets & rock the foundation with a little innovation...



Sonicmon said:

im actually glad its for ds and not 3ds its a better fit on ds untill gen 6th



Grodus said:

I think they should've at least made Pokemon Black & White: 3D Edition, and just gave it 3D and better graphics and price it for like $35. Pay an extra five dollars for 3D and better graphics. Sounds good to me.



Kriedler said:

I'm more bummed that they didn't do what they did with Gold/Silver. Give extra functions etc for anyone using the new hardware. They could have at least given it the new aspect ratio for the top screen or StreetPass (it has a primitive StreetPass, if anyone remembers from the first B/W) if you're on the 3DS.



warvad said:

Of course this is incredibly disappointing. B&W is rendered in 3D anyway, so it's absolutely disgusting that they didn't at least make a 3DS port.



SirSmugleaf said:

Sure, the DS does have a large install base, but you don't know how many of those sold DSs were either sold back, damaged, thrown away, lost or just left at the back of the cupboard, collecting dust.
There actually may be as many people playing their 3DSs today as there are people playing their DSs. I haven't played my DS in about a year and a half!



ajcismo said:

This is not "new" news, and was already discussed way back when B&W2 was announced. However.... We'd be fools to think that some sort of 3DS Pokemon game isn't already in the works.



Zhanglot said:

I was really disappointed to discover that B/W 2 would only be on DS. I felt Generation 5 was a bit too much for the DS to handle. In the original BW, they introduced many things like the kind of "3D on 2D" if you know what I mean ( most pominantly in Castelia. Also, the constantly moving battle animations. It resulted in what I felt as an inferior gaming experience. Coming off of HG/SS which had one of the cleanest graphics styles, B/W really disappointed me. I was hoping they could use the 3DS' much improved power to smooth the edges in terms of graphics.

One last thing that really pisses me off. I don't know how many people have noticed, but when you play DS pokemon games on the 3DS, the picture is blurry. It has something to do with the screen resolution and the way the pokemon games' graphics work (it's like a pixelated art style, the DS Legend of Zelda games don't have this problem on 3DS). 3DS owners' only option is to either play the game in its natural resolution (which is like, a quarter of the 3DS' screen, or to play the game but "expanded" and therefore blurrier on the full 3DS screen. Sorry I don't know the proper terms and whatnot. I'm not a techie. BUT WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT THE GAMING EXPERIENCE IS INFERIOR WHEN PLAYED ON A 3DS.



Linkuini said:

I already know that, and I still don't care. With the wireless C-gear and dozens of options for online play, the latest Pokémon games beg for the benefits of Streetpass and more flexible access to wi-fi. On the DS, most people won't be walking around with a DS and an active game of Pokémon in their pocket, and even if the sign at the hotel or restaurant says "free wi-fi", that probably doesn't mean you'll be able to play Pokémon online.

Thus, many of the most interesting new features of the game will be difficult or impossible to use. Again. This in the name of more players? Well, I won't be one of them.



hillbill26 said:

Since the 3DS is backwards compatible, it really won't matter if it's on 3DS or not. Most people would say "move on with the 3DS, I want 3D Pokemon", and even though i would agree with them, the 3DS still has 2 downloadable games that can help you in the new game. and besides, it's really all about the fun of playing the game, and these are the final 2 pokemon games on the DS system anyway, so i'm really in no rush. I can't wait for these games to come out, and it's gonna be awesome



TheN64Dude said:

I feel the game would be more popular if it were on 3DS and I don't consider this a good reason not to have it on 3DS, though it is SOMEWHAT understandable I GUESS....



Tonnie_gAmEr25 said:

Looking forward to pokemon mystery dungon for the 3ds. Check out the you tube video. Its in japanese, great if you enjoy the game!



Token_Girl said:

It's a pretty nice guy move, seeing as it's a direct sequel to the DS game. Let's not pretend that the number of 3DS systems this game would sell wasn't tempting.



I-U said:

I understood the reason why Black & White 2 would be coming to the DS from the beginning. Releasing a game onto a system that has the bigger userbase means more potential success for the title. Game Freak deserves that success, and it gives Pokemon fans a release to be happy with while they work out a 3DS Pokemon experience which will likely have the longest development time for any Pokemon title to date.



DarkNinja9 said:

its clearly from a sales points of view they wanted more ppl to be able to buy and play the copy since everyone has a DS if they released it for the 3ds not alot of ppl still have one or it wouldnt sell as much so better apportunity for them going the DS route its not like the game doesnt have any ed effect on it either way i already pre ordered my copy along time ago



sr388survivor said:

I'd love a 3DS Pokemon. In fact I'm still not sure if I'm getting B/L2 just because I'm already giving Nintendo so much money this year, but it would have been a no brainer if it was 3DS.

Though I'm sure we'd all agree Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow on VC would more than make up for it



Araknie said:

Nintendo isn't about doing games for power machines.

Sooo...this article could have been shorter.



retro_player_22 said:

Not surprising, I would had said the same thing about Yellow (released when GBC is on the market), Crystal (released when GBA is on the market), and Emerald (released when DS is on the market) too. Why it isn't on 3DS? Simple, the saga still remains in Unova, the new 3DS Pokemon games will have to start at a new region, not the same one.

Each platform represent its own region:

Kanto = Game Boy
Johto = Game Boy Color
Hoenn = Game Boy Advance
Sinnoh = DS
Unova = DSi
???? = 3DS



rjejr said:

Why change a game engine from 2D to 3D for a straight up sequel? It just makes more sense to use what you have to get it out of the door quicker, cheaper and to a larger install base. What's there to even think about?
And you don't know IF B/W 2 would have sold more 3DS consoles but I can guarantee that a 3DS version of B/W 2 would sell less copies than a DS version which can also be played on the 3DS.
I really hope my kids are done w/ Pokemon by the time the next 3DS game comes out - between the games, the shows, and the never ending cards I just can't take it anymore. Well I wouldn't mind them playing the videogame, but the cards are way out of control.



Klinny said:

I'm fine with BW2 being on the DS. I am personally a fan of the graphical and gameplay style used in BW, and so I am not disappointed that the sequel was not upgraded for the more powerful system.

Also as many have mentioned, as BW2 is a direct sequel, it could be seen in bad taste to force fans to upgrade their console in order to play it. I consider BW2 to be similar to Platinum, Crystal, etc. (as although it is more involved than a revision, it is also not a new generation), so for me, it wouldn't make sense to release it for 3DS only.



FluffyNinja said:

I'm fine with it on the DS since it makes sense. But the next one should be on 3ds for sure.



Marioman64 said:

im just peeved that it's not on the 3ds because streetpassing people would've been a lot easier than leaving the game on and closed and pumping the play time up while not actually playing and blocking actual streetpasses because DS games turn off streetpass



rjejr said:

Well as of this morning we have both Black 2 and White 2 on pre-order at Gamestop and nobody in my house owns a DS, but we do have three 3DS. Anybody know if we can use 1 copy of White to up-whatever two copies of 2?



Hetsumani said:

that's just going to make sense if they sell at least half as many copies as there are 3ds'.



iHeartlessHero said:

@RupeeClock It's because they had plans on the remakes and there was a hardware limitation(basically). Unlike the DS/Lite that has 2 slots(capable hardware) it was impractical at the time to basically force people to buy 2 GBA's and a link setup, whereas it was a guarantee that the consumer had to upgrade to a DS in order to play Gen 4.



iHeartlessHero said:

IMO.. It just increases the odds that the Ruby/Sapphire Remakes will be for 3ds and should likely be released Q2/3 2013.. Which then mean Gen 6 is 100% guarantee for Q2/3 2014



Heikaru said:

It seems like a lot of ppl don't have the 3DS... Plus I would be super bummed if they did not have it for normal DS (cuz most 3DS games don't get turned normal DS games)



Xalaru said:

I'd rather they'd release it on the 3DS, but I can see why they didn't. At least us with a 3DS get things like the Dream Radar and Pokédex3DPro. Not to mention that epic looking Mystery Dungeon game (which hopefully will get a UK/EU/AU release).

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