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Pokémon Home is exactly what Nintendo 3DS players feared

The latest details suggest it's going to be a subscription service mess.

Pokémon Home game on a Nintendo 3DS
Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pokémon Home, the cloud-based pocket monster storage system that will let players and fans manage their Pokémon across multiple platforms and games, is set for launch in February. Based on new details announced by the Pokémon Company Tuesday, the pricing options and timing might infuriate anyone who still plays Pokémon on the Nintendo 3DS.

Pokémon Home will have two different plans when it launches in February 2020: Basic and Premium.

Basic is totally free but only lets gamers deposit 30 Pokémon total, while Premium has space for 6,000 and a few other trading features but it’ll cost: $2.99 for a month, $4.99 for three months, or $15.99 for a year. That’s about as much as buying extra Google Drive storage. Diehard Nintendo 3DS fans will need to pay two subscription fees if they want to keep playing Pokémon games on the 2011 handheld.

Currently, the eight Pokémon 3DS titles have their own storage system, Pokémon Bank, that costs $5 a year. The service exclusively works on the handheld device and will be required to get 3DS Pokémon onto Home. The Pokémon Company announced in a statement that it will make Bank free for one month after the release of Home, but will continue charging its annual fee afterward.

We're talking more than $20 a year just for the freedom to transfer your Pokémon between all your games.

The service will only let users transfer Pokémon into Sword & Shield. So it won’t let you transfer a Weedle you caught on Pokémon GO to Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu, for example.

The Pokémon Company

"To celebrate the release of Pokémon HOME, Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter will be available at no cost for a one-month period after Pokémon Home is released,” the press release reads.

That’s essentially useless for anyone who has already purchased a year of Bank, and the cost of the 3DS service will remain the same moving forward. It’s unclear if Nintendo wants to eventually phase out Bank, but as it stands, the only way to get Pokémon from a 3DS game to Home and into new titles is through Bank. That means if gamers want to keep playing games like Pokémon X & Y and store their pocket monsters on Home, they’ll need to pay for both services individually.

This is exactly what fans were afraid might happen.

When Home was announced in early 2019 with little context as to how it would function with Bank, 3DS gamers speculated on Reddit that while the upgrade might benefit anyone who focuses on the newest generation of games, it might neglect some Pokémon trainers

“I hope it's not a separate subscription from Bank," wrote Capsule3x. "I'd hate to have to pay for two separate Pokémon services."

For the tens of millions of 3DS users around the world, that is exactly what's about to happen.

The Pokémon Company

Nintendo announced in September 2019 that it had sold 75.45 million Nintendo 3DS units to date. Plus, company president Shuntaro Furukawa stated during a March Q&A session that the company plans to continue selling the 3DS alongside the Switch because of how popular it is among younger gamers.

“Demand still remains from parents looking to purchase a first game system for their children,” he said. “That is why our basic policy is to proceed with both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS in our dedicated video game platform business.”

The confusing launch of Pokémon Home seems primed to only upset some of the franchise’s long-term fans as people realize there's no way to move 3DS Pokémon into Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield without paying for the cost of Premium.

The best thing for any Poké-fan to do then when Pokémon Home launches in February is to pay $2.99 for a monthly subscription and take advantage of the free month of Bank so they can transfer all of their 3DS Pokémon over to Sword and Shield.

Pokémon Home launches in February 2020.

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