Nintendo sees a money mine in Yo-Kai Watch, a Japanese centric ghost capture/battle game for the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS. The game has already managed to sell more than 8 million copies in Japan since release and Nintendo has decided to bundle the popular game in with the 2DS for only $99.
The news went up over on the Business Wire where Nintendo released a matter-of-fact press release to let gamers know that the Nintendo 2DS was getting a brand new bundle pack that's bound to be a hot item this holiday season.
The Yo-Kai Watch bundle won't be available for $99 until November 6th. Nintendo wants to cash in on the pre-Black Friday shopping frenzy before it gets hot and heavy later in the month.
It's interesting that they've already begun discounting and bundling in games with the Nintendo 2DS but they have been reticent when it comes to Wii U bundles. Maybe we'll see something closer to the end of November pop up for the console?
Anyway, Yo-Kai Watch has been a massive success in Japan. Selling nearly 10 million units is no laughing matter and it's the sort of thing that Nintendo probably wishes was a game series selling those kind of numbers on the Wii U. Nevertheless, they want the game to obviously hit the ground running in North America. This could be the company's new golden calf, just like Pokemon has been for them for the past 20 years.
Yo-Kai Watch is actually very similar to Pokemon, insofar that players will have a watch that they will use to hunt down Yo-Kai, invisible creatures that can affect people and creatures within an area, for better or for worse. It's a little like a mix of Pokemon, Digimon and Ghostbusters.
Using the watch players will attempt to find hidden Yo-Kai and then expose them. The game gets kind of meta because it's almost like Pokemon GO but a game based around the augmented reality concept. I know, it's confusing but that's probably the best way to describe it.
The actual gameplay is basically just running around, finding Yo-Kai and battling them in turn-based fights. The combat is nothing like Pokemon or Digimon, though. The game is a little like Earthbound with the combat but players can cycle through their Yo-Kai to unleash moves against opponents. As the fight progresses players can build up a gauge to unleash a devastating attack against enemies.
It's certainly a more complex game than the Pokemon series, given that there are more combat mechanics and skills to master and the rock, paper, scissors combat from the Pokemon series is replaced with something more tactical and strategically deep.
I'm curious if the game will find as large an audience in North America as it has in Japan? Nintendo has a knack for finding multi-million selling gems in very unlikely properties, so we'll see if they hit platinum status in North America they way they have with the launch of the game in Japan. Yo-Kai Watch and the Nintendo 2DS bundle will be available next month, starting November 6th.