Can Youkai Watch Be The Next Pokemon?
Can Youkai Watch Be The Next Pokemon For Nintendo’s Handhelds?
Youkai Watch (Yo-kai Watch) has taken Japan by storm. Since the debut of the original game last year – the franchise’s popularity has exploded with the advent of an animated series. I’ve heard some gamers liken the Youkai Watch (Yo-kai Watch) to the insanely popular Pokemon series, although Level-5’s game – has yet to reach the insane heights of Game Freaks signature IP – but I definitely can see the parallels between the two.
Fortunately, there are strong indicators the Level-5, perhaps in partnership with Nintendo, will be bringing the ghost hunting series to the west. If I were Level-5 or Nintendo – localizing Youkai Watch (Yo-kai Watch) would be my top priority. Why? Because I believe Youkai Watch can be the next Pokemon for Nintendo’s handheld systems.
Nintendo, Ninty Fans and gamers alike – are a tad frightened that the mobile gaming market will eventually take over traditional gaming platforms, beginning with the dedicated handhelds, then into home consoles. I, myself – don’t see a bright future for the mobile gaming market, as the exponential growth and fragile foundation in which the market is built upon is, quite frankly unsustainable (which is a topic I might discuss in the future), just look at the spectacular fall of Zynga and social gaming. However, that does not excuse Nintendo not acting at all against the attack on their business by this market. Nintendo must do something, and the need to do it as soon as possible.
Nintendo needs another break out hit in the same vein as Pokemon to regain the momentum back in their favor. In my opinion, that smash hit could come from an external developer, and not from Ninty themselves – in the form of Youkai Watch (Yo-kai Watch) from Level-5. I would be willing to bet that Youkai Watch can be the next Pokemon if the cards are played right.
The breakthrough success of the game is nothing, but phenomenal. The first game is regularly at the top of the Japanese software charts even though it launched a year ago, reaching the 1 million not too long ago, with the sequel set to smash that. The animated series has simply skyrocketed the franchise into impressive heights. If you ask me this time last year, what Youkai Watch (Yo-kai Watch) was, and whether I was interested in the game, I would outright say “NO”.
However, my opinion of the franchise has changed, especially after the recent broadcasted Youkai Watch 2 direct on Friday. The game looks intriguing and more importantly – fun, almost Pokemon like. If curiosity killed the cat, then this cat is already dead – as I’ve begun watching the anime today. To be honest, the Youkai Watch Anime is an enjoyable watch – it has humor, charm and an appealing concept to build a story around. It’s less preachy than the Pokemon animated series, which is a win in my book. The anime is not overly Japanese eccentric – so it could very well appeal to the western sensibilities. It is important to never underestimate the appeal of collecting your very own monsters, and then using them in battles.
If Youkai Watch breaks through multiple media forms and products in the western market – Level 5 and Nintendo could be seeing the birth of another Pokemon – a game with worldwide mass appeal exclusive to Nintendo’s handheld. By this I mean, if Level-5 (with the help of Nintendo) can adequately market the anime, game and other subsequent products – the popularity of Youkai Watch could very well explode in the west, much like in Japan. According to Kotaku, the animated series was critical to bring the series to the masses in Japan, and I would assume this would be the same in the west.
I have a really good feeling that Youkai Watch can be the next BIG THING. Call it gamers intuition, call it a hunch, ESPN or delusion. I have confidence in Level-5’s game. Perhaps, my motivation to write this piece was to pathetically attempt to convince Level-5 to localize Youkai Watch for the western markets. In that case! Yo Level-5! Please announce Youkai Watch for the west!