Pokemon TCG Pocket is coming, what is it and is it replacing Live?

pokemon tcg pocket

The Pokemon TCG is moving to gamers’ phones once again with Pokemon TCG Pocket, but how will this impact Pokemon TCG Live?

Game Freak just celebrated Pokemon Day with a Pokemon Presents event. Although it was quite short, just shy of 13 minutes, there were still exciting reveals including the reveal of Pokemon Legends Z-A. Alongside this were the reveals of small updates for various other spin-off titles such as Pokemon Cafe Mix, GO, and Unite. 

Pokemon has historically struggled to adapt its trading card game to the mobile space despite having one of the most successful TCG games on a handheld gaming system. Despite the success of other digital card games like Magic: The Gathering Arena and Hearthstone, Pokemon TCG Online and Pokemon TCG Live faced numerous issues on launch and haven’t caught on generally despite the surge of interest in the game that began in 2020.

Still, there was no doubt the game would draw in thousands of players. Now, the iconic TCG takes another shot at adapting itself to the small screen.

What is Pokemon TCG Pocket?

Pokemon TCG Pocket adapts the Pokemon TCG to the digital screen. It is being developed as a joint project between The Pokemon Company, DeNA, and Creatures Inc.

DeNA notably created Pokemon Masters EX, which has players collect and battle trainers from the mainline games. Pokemon TCG Pocket’s primary draw is the card collection and ability to trade. It was shown that players are able to receive two free packs daily and have the ability to trade cards with friends.

Creatures Inc CEO Yuji Kitano focused primarily on the aesthetics of the digital cards. He emphasized the importance of pleasing players with every card’s design, from paper to color choice. This is conspicuously different from Pokemon TCG Live, which has been criticized for the lack of a trading or marketplace element as well as its graphics and presentation.

The digital medium provides players with new experiences impossible for physical releases. Immersive cards for the mobile game feature animated illustrations instead of the typically static card art. 

Will Pokemon TCG Pocket replace Pokemon TCG Live or is it different?

Pokemon TCG Pocket features a streamlined ruleset suited for quick play and will seemingly be quite different from TCG Live.

Details about Pokemon TCG Pocket’s gameplay are sparse, especially since the presentation only dedicates a few seconds to it. Pokemon TCG Pocket is positioned to be a simpler alternative to Pokemon TCG Live, with a more limited ruleset and a greater emphasis on community features. Pokemon TCG Live is a faithful adaptation of the real-life Pokemon TCG. More details will likely be revealed in the coming months. 

This also means support for Pokemon TCG Live will likely continue unimpeded. It’s worth noting many preferred Pokemon TCG Online, the first digital adaptation of the card game. Fans criticized TCG Live heavily for its bugs and lack of popular formats such as Theme and Legacy. Since Pokemon TCG Pocket is intended for more casual players, it likely won’t face the same scrutiny.

Pokemon TCG Pocket has a release date of 2024 and will arrive on iOS and Android devices, but will not be arriving on the Nintendo Switch.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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