Watch your mouth

This year sees the Western launch of Level 5's Yo-Kai Watch, a game which has already proven itself to be a smash-hit in its native Japan. Nintendo is publishing the game in the West and there are hopes that it will turn into the kind of cash-cow that Pokémon has been for the firm.

Speaking to IGN, Nintendo of American boss Reggie Fils-Aime explained how deeply involved Nintendo has been with the genesis of this new brand:

Nintendo is quite involved. This is a game that literally sold millions in Japan, and it helped drive a lot of hardware especially with younger kids. So we view this as a very strategic title for us. The team at Level 5 is driving a lot of the localization. We're playing a bit of a consultation role, but we've had a lot of deep conversations around the need for the anime to be out in the marketplace, and to establish the importance of key partnerships in the toy space.

We believe this game could be a very strong hardware driver for us, especially with younger consumers. We think the pairing of this game, especially with our 2DS business, can be quite strong. And we're very excited about it coming this holiday.

A valid point was raised about the exclusivity of the franchise - something that many will wonder about, given that Level 5 has recently announced that Fantasy Life 2 will be skipping the 3DS in favour of smartphones. Is there any danger that Yo-Kai Watch could do the same in the long run? Reggie doesn't believe so:

The partnership is very strong with Level 5. I think the Level 5 team has seen how Nintendo creates the handhelds of choice, especially for younger consumers. I think for both companies there's a clear belief that this has the potential to be a strong, long-term relationship much like we've done with Pokemon.

Here's the reality: There's not a lot of five to seven year-olds walking around with smartphones. Even in the tablet space, mom and dad might hand over their tablet for short periods of time. But with this game, much like with any battle-trade-share type of game, the kid consumer is going to spend a lot of hours. The benefit of doing that on a dedicated device is very strong.

Do you think Yo-Kai Watch can be as big as Pokémon, or do you feel that it's a franchise that will only sell well in its homeland? Let us know by posting a comment.