The Pokemon franchise is one of the most popular and successful franchises in Nintendo history. It broke records and was embedded into culture. Pokemon has had substantial successes with creative merchandising and aggressive marketing. However, it was dogged with controversy as well including theft, death, conspiracy, and public endangerment. Amidst all the controversy, Pokemon is still generating profits.
Pokemon was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996 and its first incarnation was a game boy roleplaying video game. As of October 2009, reported sales were over $24 billion, with over half from Japan alone, for various Pokemon merchandise like playing cards, video games, books, TV shows, toys plus various other media. The Pokemon cartoon was the most successful anime cartoon in the west. Nippon Airways operated Pokemon Jets. Mario is the only other video that has been more profitable than Pokemon. Pokemon cards have had a significant importance to overall profits.
As of October 2009, Nintendo reported sales of a total 14 billion Pokemon cards. Even today if you search Pokemon cards trade in Google you will find popular active card trading sites and an economy of its own. The most expensive normal card is the Charizard card which sold for around $125 at the height of the Pokemon craze and is still one of the most sellable cards. The most expensive card ever was the Pikachu Illustrator card. There were only 6 of these holofoil cards produced and are valued at $20,000. Everything seem to be perfect for the Pokemon franchise.
Even though everything looked wonderful for the Pokemon franchise it has been plagued with controversy throughout its history and has infected others with its misfortune. A school lost Pokemon cards confiscated from an 11-year old student. The student asked for $500 for the lost Pokemon cards and the school refused. The boy sued the school successfully for $1500. A 15-year old boy was later accompanied by his mother to report the he had stolen the boys cards. A 14-year old was sentenced to probation and $100 restitution for running over another student with his bike and stealing 150 Pokemon cards. A 13-month old in California suffocated from a Pokemon toy from Burger King. Two children jumped off balconies to their deaths in Turkey thinking they had super powers after watching the Pokemon cartoon. Red and blue flashing caused 12,000 Japanese children experienced various disorienting illnesses with 618 children actually having to go to the hospital for nausea and seizures while watching the final episode of the Pokemon cartoon. Arabs saw a Jewish conspiracy in the Pokemon
Even with all the controversy, Pokemon still has trading sites for their cards and various merchandise spinoffs. Even though the fad has faded, It is still bringing profits for not only Nintendo but for owners of Pokemon cards. Pokemon will have a history that Nintendo will be able to take advantage from a different angle soon.