'Pokemon Trading Card Game' Hits iPad Today

The online version of the popular Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) is now available on the iPad. Since the game integrates both the electronic and physical versions of the game, the app is a must-have for any Pokemon card fan since it's free. The app requires Retina display however, so you will need an iPad mini, iPad 3 or newer, and iOS 7.0 or later to play.

The card game was originally adapted into a video game back in 2011 as a browser-based title, and later into a downloadable release in 2013. Users with accounts on the original are able to port over all of their cards onto the iPad version. Nintendo is also offering an extra incentive for fans of the tabletop game: buying the physical cards will yield a code that you can redeem for their electronic versions.

Pokemon TCG is also designed to appeal to non-fans as well. With a free-to-play model, and a way to earn cards by winning games, casual fans can enjoy the game without having to make an investment. As with most Pokemon games, you can also trade your cards with other players, making the game a very social and interactive experience.

This release marks the continued dominance of the Pokemon franchise in the video game market. Last year's Pokemon X and Y were the fastest 3DS titles to hit 1 million units sold, doing so in just 24 hours. Re-releases of the generation three titles, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, are also expected to do well when they release in November. And judging by the recent success of Hearthstone, a card-based game developed by Blizzard that recently hit 20 million total players, Nintendo has a reasonable chance of growing their audience with the iPad version of TCG.

Omega Ruby Alpha Sapphire

More importantly, Pokemon TCG's release marks an important development for both the Pokemon Company and Nintendo. Pokemon games have always released on Nintendo systems, so this will be the first time the franchise will be available on Apple devices. With the Wii U underperforming, how closely will Nintendo be watching the success of TCG when determining whether or not to consider doing what was previously thought of as unthinkable: releasing major Nintendo franchises like Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong on non-Nintendo hardware?

Earlier this year, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata stated that the company was not ruling out creating games on smart devices. It will be interesting to see whether or not, (or perhaps the question is how quickly), Nintendo will pursue releasing major franchises on alternative consoles in the future.

If you have never played the Pokemon TCG before, will its availability on iPad make you reconsider? Do you think Nintendo should pursue more releases like this one on non-Nintendo platforms?

The Pokemon Trading Card Game is available today for the iPad.

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