Pokemon Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Worldwide

Feb 13th 2006
Pokémon Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Worldwide
Monday February 13, 6:00 am ET
Chart-Topping Children's Property Announces Pokémon Journey Across America and Other Fan-Focused Initiatives

NEW YORK, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Pokémon®, the children's entertainment staple, kicked-off its 10th worldwide anniversary today at the American International Toy Fair with the announcement of the Pokémon Journey Across America, an action-packed 24-city national mall tour that will culminate in August at the first-ever Pokémon National Video Game Championships. With more than $25 billion in worldwide retail sales, Pokémon, the collective name for more than 380 characters that one can find, catch, train, trade, collect, and use in battle against rivals in the quest to become a Pokémon Master, is a global pop culture phenomenon credited with making Japanese animation mainstream in the U.S.

"We are immensely proud of the success Pokémon has achieved in its 10 year history -- we've become a children's entertainment powerhouse both in the U.S. and globally," said Akira Chiba, president, Pokemon USA, Inc. "This year promises to be one of the most exciting ever for the brand as we celebrate this significant milestone and chart our path for the future."

Pokémon is celebrating its 10th anniversary year with its fans in a big way through numerous events, exclusive anniversary products, and more. Kicking off February 25 and traveling to top markets across the country through July 22, the Pokémon Journey Across America tour will allow thousands of fans to compete for a chance to qualify for the Pokémon National Video Game Championships. Winners will be flown to New York City in August to compete for the championship title at the Pokémon National Video Game Championships which will include an anniversary bash open to the public.

The Pokémon Journey Across America tour includes many exciting on-site activities, including live costume characters, arts and crafts stations, a Pokémon Trading Card Game play area, exclusive character downloads for Pokémon video games, and a 10th anniversary lounge to offer fans a look back at Pokémon through the years as well as a peek at upcoming product launches and anniversary initiatives. Fans can compete in two age groups -- 12 and under and 13 and up-to make it into the finals at the Pokémon Video Game National Championships. Players must pre-qualify in order to compete in the local mall tournaments. For additional information and to pre-qualify, go to http://www.Pokémon.com.

Year-Long Celebration Continues

Throughout 2006, Pokémon is providing its fans with a variety of different Pokémon initiatives ranging from new ways of interacting with favorite characters to exciting new animation specials to challenging new video games. Making its debut at Toy Fair, Pokémon Mobile offers the first ever official Pokémon cell phone content, including wallpapers, ring tones, and short videos. On the video game front, Pokémon Trozei, a puzzle game for the Nintendo DS® will launch in March and other Pokémon video games will be released throughout the year.

In April, a one-hour TV special entitled "The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon" will debut on Kids WB and bring together everyone's favorite Pokémon characters to solve the unusual mystery of the Mirage Pokémon. Later in the year, the eighth Pokémon movie, "Lucario and the Mystery of Mew" is set for release and will feature never-before-seen Pokémon and the legend of the Aura Guardian. Join Ash and his friends on both of these adventures! Also, be sure to watch for the brand new Pokémon 10th Anniversary song and video, "Pokémon Go," which is sure to be the ultimate nostalgic tune for Pokémon fans everywhere.

Pokémon Staying Power

Pokémon was first created in Japan as a video game for the Nintendo Game Boy® system. A non-violent game that teaches children strategy, sportsmanship and team work, Pokémon has captured the imagination of a generation of children and adults. And this property has major staying power, as a market leader across multiple categories, including:

-- Pokémon Video Games - Since its launch in 1996, Pokémon has released 25
video game titles and has sold more than 140 million video games
worldwide. Pokémon video game titles have consistently been ranked
among the top 10 selling video games according to NPD. Four new titles
are scheduled for release in 2006.

-- The Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) - With more than 14 billion Pokémon
Trading Card Game cards in circulation, the TCG craze, which started
stateside in 1998, continues to be as popular as ever. For the past six
years, Pokémon TCG has ranked among the top three selling trading card
game series.

-- Pokémon Animated TV Series - Now in its eighth season on Kids WB, the
program is consistently ranked among the top three shows for Kids 2-11.
The animated TV series follows the adventures of a Trainer named Ash
Ketchum as he travels across the Pokémon world making new friends and
striving to become a Pokémon Master. For the most recent sweeps period
in November 2005, "Pokémon - Advanced Battle" captured the #1 spot among
the Saturday morning competition for Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11, and Boys
6-11.

-- Pokémon Movies - Pokémon is no stranger to Hollywood. Following the
1999 debut of its first feature film, "Pokemon: The First Movie," which
topped the charts with the highest box office opening for an animated
movie at that time, Pokémon has continued to release kid-favorite
movies with a new direct-to-video title scheduled to launch in spring
2006.

-- Consumer Products - The world of Pokémon has continued to expand into
toys, apparel, board games, party goods and more through
http://www.pokemoncenter.com, an online retail site which features new
and exclusive merchandise. Pokémon develops innovative products with
more than 40 major licensees. In celebration of the 10th anniversary,
Hasbro invited Pokémon fans to choose their top 10 favorite Pokémon
characters by voting at http://www.Pokémon.com. These special edition
figures will be released as an exclusive anniversary set during summer
2006.

"The launch of Pokémon in the U.S. was truly an unprecedented phenomenon," said Nancy Lombardi, editor-in-chief of Toys & Family Entertainment. "There is something to be said for a brand that remains as popular today as it was when it launched. Pokémon has constantly innovated to give its fans new and exciting content through the years."

History of Pokémon

Pokémon started with Japanese game developer Satoshi Tajiri and his interest in video games and, in particular, the communicative properties of the Nintendo Game Boy® system. After six years of development, Tajiri and his company, GAME FREAK, turned his "interest" into the first-ever Pokémon video game.

In October of 1996, the Pokémon Trading Card Game was introduced in Japan as a seamless extension of the Pokémon world. Tsunekazu Ishihara, producer of Pokémon, developed the Pokémon Trading Card Game with his company, Creatures.

After becoming a phenomenal success in 1996 in Japan, Pokémon launched to immediate star status in the U.S. in 1998.

About Pokémon USA

Pokemon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of The Pokemon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia which includes licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, an animated TV series, home entertainment, the official Pokémon website, and online retail center http://www.pokemoncenter.com. Celebrating its 10th worldwide anniversary in 2006, Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 for play on Nintendo's Game Boy® and has since evolved into a global cultural phenomenon. Pokémon was introduced in North America in September 1998 and today is one of the most popular toy and entertainment properties in the world. For more information, visit http://www.Pokémon.com.

bookmark/share with:

Press Release homepage / archives

Around The Web