For the decades that Pokémon has been around, it has grown immensely popular. The simple company one person created in Japan in the early ’90s has become a household name worldwide. From trading cards to apparel, Pokémon is everywhere and in every store. You may find yourself wondering who owns Pokémon.
As a whole, Nintendo owns a percentage of the Pokemon brand. The "Pokémon Company" is the official owner and operator of the Pokémon brand and license. It consists of three organizations: Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak. Each of them is responsible for a different part of The Pokémon Company.
It is a common misconception that Pokémon is owned solely by Nintendo.
For a while, Pokémon games could only be on Nintendo gaming devices.
While it is partially true that Nintendo doesn’t fully own the company, there is more to The Pokémon Company than one may believe.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the owners of the famous brand, Pokémon.
Different Name, Same Hands
As mentioned above, Nintendo is not the sole owner of Pokémon. In 1998 Nintendo and its subsidiary companies came together to form The Pokémon Center Company. At first, it was created to be able to handle/manage all of the stores overseas.
The Pokémon Center Company later turned into what is known as The Pokémon Company and expanded what they handled. While they still manage all the stores worldwide, they also handle everything Pokémon-related. Let’s look at just what the company and its subsidiary companies do.
In The Beginning
After Satoshi Tajiri created Pocket Monsters (the original name of Pokémon), he tried to go to Nintendo with the idea but was turned down. After a few changes and allowing Shigeru Miyamoto (who Created Super Mario & Zelda) to pitch the idea, they tried again.
Nintendo finally agreed to take on what would later be known as Pokémon, and it was a great decision. Pokémon is one of the largest grossing video game franchises out there. The video game is valued at roughly ninety billion dollars.
The card game was created for Pokémon around in the late ’90s. Simultaneously, the cards themselves had already been created but were made for the actual game then. After that, the game took off both via the card and video platforms.
The Pokémon Company –Companies That Make It Up
The three organizations that make up The Pokémon Company each handle different aspects of the company. In the early 2000s, The Pokémon Company was formed and made up of Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak. It is surprising for most to hear Nintendo is not the sole owner of Pokémon.
The Pokémon Company manages the brand, the license, and publishes games. They also operate all the stores that produce the merchandise you know and love.
They may have rights over the Pokémon line, but the companies that make up The Pokémon Company are said to be split evenly. It is hard to find the exact stock each has in the company. It is said that each organization owns 33% of The Pokémon Company. Nintendo owns part of creatures, so it is conceivable that their technology piece could give them majority ownership.
There are so many different products that The Pokémon Company produces:
- Card trading game
- Home décor (Bedroom décor, lights, rugs, and more)
- Kitchen accessories
- Stuffed animals
- Video games
- And so much more
Let’s start with the not as well-known organization that makes up The Pokémon Company, Creatures. Formerly Ape Nintendo Inc., Creatures was formed in late 1995. Creatures is a game developer that creates some of the Pokémon video games. They also handle the card games and merchandise for The Pokémon Company.
Creatures have developed many different games for the Pokémon brand. They also have:
- Created 3D computer graphics, logo design, and packaging
- Designed and developed Pokémon merchandise and toys
- Planned and designed the Pokémon trading cards
- Produced magazines and books
- And a few other non-Pokémon related games
They develop and co-develop some Pokémon-related games they do far for the Pokémon brand compared to video games. They help with trading card games and do much more than develop games.
Even though it is a lesser-known company, Game Freak has been around since the late ’80s and was founded by Satoshi Tajiri (the man behind Pokémon mentioned above). They are a game developer that is behind many popular games; over 50 have been developed just by them. They are behind Yoshi, Drill Dozer, and many Pokémon games. Their games are found across many platforms such as:
- Nintendo Switch
- PlayStation 4
- XBOX ONE
Game Freak develops and co-develops every entry into the Pokémon game series. They are compatible with Nintendo in developing almost everything Pokémon game-related. From planning, development, and sales of the game software.
Fun facts about the creator:
- The Japanese Pokémon series main character is named Satoshi.
- The version you are more familiar with that stars Ash is mainly found outside of Japan and North America.
- Game Freak used to be a magazine run by Satoshi before forming it into the game developing company.
Last and not least let’s look at the most popular and well-known company. They not only are partial owners of Pokémon but have a whole line of games that they own. Most commonly, they were behind many other organizations and game systems such as:
- Mario Club Company
- 1-Up Studio Inc.
- Monolith Software Inc.
- Nintendo Sales
- Many Sega Games
- Super Nintendo
- Game Cube
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo switch
Most on the list are common knowledge, but there are far more companies, organizations, game systems, and series behind the Nintendo name. After being founded in 1889 in Japan over a century of producing quality games, the list is sure to continue to grow.
Nintendo is said to own stocks in Creatures and Game Freaks. Since Nintendo is part of The Pokémon Company and is said to own stocks in each of its partner companies, this without a doubt would give them a majority say on anything that would come up. It is hard to find precisely how much stock Nintendo owns of each company online.
How Do Other Companies Produce Pokémon Products?
Like with many huge brands, you can buy the rights to licenses the product. For instance, Disney allows companies and even individuals to buy rights to use the name, movies, quotes, and everything in between. Pokémon is no different.
Different parts of the brand, Pokémon, are run and managed by other companies who buy the license rights to do so. The Pokémon Company does not own Pokémon Go, for instance. Niantic is the owner behind Pokémon Go. However, Nintendo does, own a small percentage of the company Niantic.
Some companies produce Pokémon lookalikes. They do not own or buy any rights to the license but instead created products similar to Pokémon. Bakugan and Yu-Gi-OH are relatively similar to Pokémon without violating any licensing rules.
Like any well-known game or product, everyone sees a good idea and wants a piece of it. For decades companies have developed products as close as they can to a product that has done very well for itself.
Nintendo made an incredibly wise choice decades ago to take on “Pocket Monsters” that would eventually turn into the Pokémon the world knows and loves. Nintendo, Creatures, and Game Freak bring all their best qualities together to create The Pokémon Company. While Nintendo is not the primary owner of Pokémon, they still have a lot of say, and together the trio will continue to keep the franchise alive.
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