Well, not exactly entirely Nintendo. Pokemon Unite was developed by TiMi Studio Group (a Chinese game developer and a subsidiary group of Tencent), published by The Pokemon Company (which is made up of the rights holders for Pokemon: Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures), and released last week on the 24th for the Switch. It is making plenty of waves as people are realizing just how many Pay To Win micro-transactions are inside of it, and just how disgusting it is as a product. To make things worse in September it will be released everywhere on Mobile.
As a MOBA, it is not really even all that good. You run around the arena, fighting wild Pokemon and enemies on your team, and return points back to your home base. The main draw isn’t the game-play however, but the fact that it is free, and that it is a Pokemon game. It is obviously targeted towards children by being so, especially with the graphics and simple game-play, and that is extremely problematic because it has several different kinds of currency (that can be earned in game, and with real money), including a premium one, which can only be bought with real money.
The premium currency in the game is gems, range from $0.99 to $99.00, and the first purchase gets you double gems, a way to get you to buy it and get hooked. It also includes a battle pass (which you need to pay for every season) which helps you with the time limit on the season, which creates a sense of false urgency and a need to buy. You can buy new Pokemon, new clothing for those Pokemon, and clothing for your trainer, and while it is reprehensible to prey upon children, the neural-divergent, and those who have gambling problems/problems with holding onto or spending money (because, of course, there are loot boxes in the game), the real kicker is that this game is also Pay To Win.
How is it Pay To Win? You can pay real money to boost and strengthen in-game items. You can deal extra damage, regain more health, give yourself a shield, increase your speed, and gain extra experience towards a level up, all only with money. If that isn’t Pay To Win, I don’t know what is.
The loot boxes don’t even use the premium gem currency, they use a different kind of currency called energy. So even if you buy gems, they are worthless if you have a surplus and want to buy loot-boxes, as you need to then buy and spend energy. This is an absolutely disgusting practice, and only compounds upon and worsens the already harmful and negative effects that come with loot boxes and micro-transactions. They are literally evolving their methods on how to wring as much money out of people as they can.
The fact that this is being supported and defend by some people, and that this sort of thing is almost normal now, is really quite depressing.