A press release we just received from TPCi has announced that Black and White will premiere on Cartoon Network Saturday, February 12th at 9:00 AM. The first two episodes of the series will be shown, featuring Ash and Pikachu’s arrival in Unova and their encounter with the mysterious Deep Black Pokemon. This is quite an early start for the new series considering the games do not come out until three weeks later (meaning five episodes into the show if they show one new episode per week after the premiere).
The press release also announced that the next TCG set will be named Black & White, which was to be expected. What is not expected, however, is that the set will be released in April rather than May. Since Nintendo took over the TCG, sets have always been released every three months – February, May, August, and November. They probably decided to release the set earlier so that it would be closer to the release of the games, but are they going to shift the whole three-month schedule a month earlier or is there going to be a four-month gap between this April set and the potential August set? We’ll find out soon! It might be the latter since Call of Legends is mainly a reprint set anyway.
POKÉMON PLANS BLOCKBUSTER YEAR WITH EXTENSIVE OFFERINGS TIED TO RELEASE OF POKÉMON BLACK VERSION AND POKÉMON WHITE VERSION VIDEO GAMES
National Mall Tour, New Animated Series, Feature-Length Film, Trading Card Game Expansion, and Toy Line, Competitive Gaming Tournaments and an All-Encompassing Marketing Program Highlight Landmark Year for Entertainment Franchise
BELLEVUE, WA – January 24th, 2011 – Pokémon™, one of the most successful entertainment properties in the world and the second-largest video game franchise of all-time, is celebrating a blockbuster year in 2011. Led by the release of the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video games for the Nintendo DS™family of systems, The Pokémon Company International will roll out an all-new animated television series and feature-length film. A brand-new trading card game (TCG) expansion, Pokémon TCG: Black & White, and merchandise, including an innovative new toy line, round out an exciting year of offerings from the company. A comprehensive, multi-million dollar marketing campaign supports the brand’s initiatives, in addition to video game marketing from Nintendo of America Inc. This multi-pronged strategy will thrust Pokémon into the spotlight across its many entertainment offerings.
Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version launches in the U.S. on March 6th as one of the most anticipated video game releases of the year, introducing players to a brand-new world with more than 150 never-before-seen Pokémon featured in an all new adventure. The games’ release in Japan last September shattered all existing sales records in that country, making them the fastest-selling Nintendo DS games in history with 5 million units sold (Famitsu, Jan. 2011).
“The release of Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version gives us the opportunity to launch brand-new entertainment that our existing and new fans will love,” said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing for The Pokémon Company International. “Every major pillar of the brand-including video games, TV animation, feature films, andthe Pokémon Trading Card Game-will see exciting changes throughout the year.”
Pokémon kicks off the year with a new animated series and full-length feature film set to air on Cartoon Network, Pokémon’s national broadcast partner. The year’s animation entertainment begins with the film debut of Pokémon-Zoroark: Master of Illusions on February 5th at 7:00 p.m., to be followed just one week later by the special premiere of two episodes of the new animated series-Pokémon: Black and White-on February 12th beginning at 9:00 a.m., starring an entirely new cast of Pokémon characters who join Ash and Pikachu on their continuing adventures.
In April, Pokémon will launch the Pokémon Trading Card Game: Black & White expansion, an all-new set of Pokémon TCG cards featuring new Pokémon, Trainers, and environments inspired by the video games. Pokémon TCG collectors and players will discover new expansions of Pokémon TCG: Black & White throughout the year. This latest installment of the TCG will add to a franchise that boasts more than 15 billion cards sold in over 60 countries.
The franchise’s year will be kick-started by an extensive, multi-million dollar marketing campaign beginning with the nationwide Pokémon Black Version & White Version Tour, arriving at major malls beginning February 5th. The tour will hit 14 key markets over a seven-week schedule offering fans a first-look at the new video games and a slate of activities designed to heighten awareness and create a groundswell of anticipation around the franchise. The itinerary will include immersive Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video game demonstrations, free screenings of the new Pokémon movie, Pokémon-Zoroark: Master of Illusions, photo opportunities with Pokémon characters, and various games and prize-winning opportunities for fans. A Pokémon Center store offering a variety of merchandise will also be on-site.
The Pokémon Company International will extend its grassroots marketing strategy with special character distributions throughout the year for the Pokémon video games at select retailers across the country. These character distributions offer Pokémon video game players the chance to receive, via Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection, specific Pokémon that will not be available through regular gameplay.
Pokémon fans interested in playing the new video games and trading card game competitively can do so through Play! Pokémon events. These gaming tournaments, held throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, culminate in the highly anticipated Pokémon World Championships in San Diego, California in August 2011, which hosts thousands of Pokémon players from around the world.
At retail, all-new Pokémon licensed merchandise is slated to roll-out throughout 2011, including a full line-up of toys from JAKKS Pacific. JAKKS plans to launch an all new Skill & Action line of toys for older kids which allows them to “Catch,” “Train,” & “Battle” their Pokémon in unique, interactive and competitive toy-based experiences. JAKKS will also launch new collectible figures and plush featuring all-new Pokémon characters, playsets that emulate the new region, and “Trainer” role play items inspired by the TV animation series.