The Pokémon Company and Nintendo have announced more details on the new Pokémon HOME app which enables trainers to manage their Pokémon from one game to another. The new cloud service app is set to launch this February for iOS and Android mobile platforms, as well as on the Nintendo Switch itself.
Pokémon HOME allows aspiring Pokémon masters to gather their pocket monsters in a centralized location, pooling them from any of these compatible Pokémon games: Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield, Pokémon: Lets Go, Pikachu!, and Pokémon: Lets Go, Eevee! with additional support for the Nintendo 3DS’ Pokémon Bank and Pokémon GO, the breakout mobile location-based game.
Trainers will be able to deposit Pokémon into Pokémon Boxes in the cloud or move them around to linked compatible games, and by linking the same Nintendo Account to both the Nintendo Switch and the mobile app, fans will be able to access the same Pokémon Boxes from both platforms.
There are some specifications on how trading Pokémon back-and-forth will work. Specifically, there are four ways to trade Pokémon using Pokémon HOME on a mobile device:
- Pokémon placed in the Wonder Box can be traded with people around the world. Pokémon placed in the Wonder Box will be traded even when Pokémon HOME is not being used.
- With the Global Trade System (GTS), fans can specify which Pokémon they want to trade and which Pokémon they want to receive. They will then be matched with a trainer if both meet each other’s criteria.
- Room Trade lets trainers create a room and trade Pokémon among the people who join. Each room can hold up to 20 people. Trading in rooms has no cost, but users will only be able to create rooms when enrolled in a Premium Plan (e.g. a paid subscription plan; but more on that in a minute).
- Friend Trade allows trainers to trade their Pokémon with nearby users who they have become friends with in Pokémon HOME. Trainers can add friends using the Add Friend feature in Pokémon HOME.
Trainers will get to build a Pokédex using the their accumulated collection of Pokémon from multiple games. Pokémon deposited into a Pokémon Box will be registered to the National Pokédex. If you deposit a Pokémon that can Mega Evolve or Gigantamax, then those forms will also be registered to the dex. With the mobile device version of Pokémon HOME, trainers will also be able to search by Pokémon’s abilities or moves for easier navigation. (This could be a very useful tool in strategizing and planning for competitive Pokémon battles!)
Trainers can also receive Mystery Gifts for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield as well as gifts specifically for Pokémon HOME in the mobile device version of the HOME app. Pokémon received in Pokémon HOME can be directly deposited in a Box in Pokémon HOME. Trainers can also receive some gifts, such as items for Pokémon, by receiving a code for a Mystery Gift in Pokémon HOME and then using that code in Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield.
Not all Pokémon HOME users will have access to the same exact features. One reason for this is the new cloud service has both free and paid subscriptions. (they use the word “service” often in their press release–as opposed to being merely an “app”). If a trainer has enrolled in a premium subscription, they will have access to features and functions not available to non-premium users.
We mentioned above only premium subscribers can create trading rooms. Another subscriber-only feature is the Judge function, which allows them to check how strong their Pokémon are.
In the Your Room section, trainers will be able to see all sorts of information about events or the games they’ve connected to Pokémon HOME. They’ll also be able to edit their profile using stickers. They can obtain stickers in Pokémon HOME when they meet certain conditions or perform certain tasks known as Challenges.
In the mobile device version of Pokémon HOME, users can check out how ranked battles and various online competitions in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are going, as well as the rankings of the Pokémon being used in them. By going to Battle Data, they’ll be able to see the battle records of each trainer as well as information about what moves are popular among the Pokémon in the competitions.
From the mobile app, trainers will also be able to receive news about Pokémon being distributed as gifts and information about online competitions for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
Pokémon HOME Points are points that accumulate in Pokémon HOME as trainers deposit more Pokémon. When using the Nintendo Switch version of Pokémon HOME, trainers will be able to exchange their Pokémon HOME Points for BP (Battle Points) to be used in core Pokémon series games.
The Premium Plan has a few different subscription options. The prices here are subject to change (per the press release). USD prices are raw conversions from the stated GBP prices and may not reflect actual U.S. pricing structure upon release.
Nintendo eShop pricing structure:
|Subscription length||Price (including tax)|
|1 month (30 days)||£2.69 | $3.50|
|3 months (90 days)||£4.49 | $5.85|
|12 months (365 days)||£14.39 | $18.75|
iOS and Android device pricing structure:
|Subscription length||Price (including tax)|
|1 month (30 days)||£2.99 | $3.89|
|3 months (90 days)||£4.99 | $6.50|
|12 months (365 days)||£15.99 | $20.85|
Pokémon HOME will undoubtedly be a useful feature for Pokémon enthusiasts, much as Pokémon Bank was in the previous generation of handheld Pokémon games, but we question how many casual players are going to fork over their hard earned money for the stated premium features announced thus far.
Further, as the infographic at the top of the page suggests, trading is not unlimited in terms of directionality. It seems clear that, once traded into Pokémon HOME, your Pokémon may well be stuck there permanently. Specifically, the isolation of the Pokémon GO app completely removed from the Venn diagram, insinuates that compatibility with the breakout location-based mobile game will be extremely limited.
With Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield marking the beginning of a new era of Pokémon expansion passes, rather than all-new Pokémon entries, it will likely be quite a while before we see any new games that are compatible with Pokémon HOME–further limiting its use-cases. Still, for diehard Pokémon Masters, the new Pokémon HOME service will be a worthy boon.