Since the franchise’s beginning, one of defining features of the Pokémon series has been the policy of releasing two “different but equal” versions.
However, it seems that in Russia, some creatures are more equal than others. Local Nintendo fans have noticed that, while they could easily pre-order a Nintendo Switch console with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, many retailers decided to not open one for the Eevee bundle.
Some Russian stores have oddly decided to let people pre-purchase the Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! with no guarantee they’ll get the version they want. One of them, 1C Interes, has confirmed to the local media there are indeed going to be more Nintendo Switch bundles featuring 'a more popular' Pokémon. We've heard this situation also applies to the bundles which include the Poké Ball Plus accessory.
The other one, Videoigr.net, have said the Eevee version will be imported to Russia "in tiny quantities," adding:
We’ll call that a mis-prediction of [Nintendo’s] regional product manager, who had decided Russians don’t recognise any other Pokémon but Pikachu.
Incidentally, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee is more popular amongst Russians choosing to pre-purchase digitally. At the time of writing, it sits three points higher on the local Nintendo eShop top-sellers list than the Pikachu version.
Nintendo RU’s PR could not be reached for comment by the outlet reporting on the oddity.
In Russia, Nintendo has a harder time marketing many of its games and franchises, as it cannot rely on a nostalgia as much as in other countries. However, the Pokémon phenomenon was always an exception to Nintendo’s struggles with the Russian market, with many residents being familiar with the world and characters after watching the anime.
While Pikachu may be the one everyone knows, the behaviour of Nintendo’s Russian branch in relation to Eevee fans is a real head-scratcher.