Pokémon TCG Online – Why should we play?

marriedtothesea.com“To play or not to play? That is the question.” – A line I will borrow (and slightly edit) from our good friend William Shakespeare. Being a longtime Magic The Gathering player, I wondered if it would be worth it to ditch the physical card game and give it a go online. So, what was stopping me? The answer was a very easy one: Spending money.

It wasn’t the fact that I was spending money, but that I would be spending it on a virtual product. It would essentially be a deck of cards that doesn’t even exist. It’s hard to justify spending money on something that isn’t physically in your hands. But of course, my Magic crazed brain got the best of me.

That tough decision was made easy after taking a look at the model that Magic Online created. What MTGO provided was a key element to influence anyone to actively participate in a game: INCENTIVE. The “I” word has long been a part of what drives us as human beings, and it directly influences the daily decisions that we make. Why pump my precious paychecks into a game, when the return I’m getting is just “having fun”. It’s like playing poker without money. I’m not looking to just have fun (even though fun is an important aspect of any game). I’m a competitor. I want to win, and I want to win prizes if I’m going to spend money.

MTGO, in my opinion, provided me with the incentive to invest money into a “virtual” product. How did they do this you ask? The answer is tournaments! When participating in MTGO tournaments, a meager 2-person tournament victory awarded the victor 2 or 3 booster packs! Increase the tournament size and that number of booster packs increases! It was a challenge that I could not refuse.

But wait, there’s more. Check out the kinds of prizes MTGO is offering for the Magic Online Championship:

2011 Magic Online Championship

1st Place – $25,000 USD, one complete digital premium foil set, and one complete digital standard set

2nd Place – $17,000 USD, one complete digital premium foil set, and one complete digital standard set

3rd-4th Place – $9,000 and one complete digital standard set
5th-8th Place – $6,000 and one complete digital standard set
9-12th Place – $4,000 and one complete digital standard set

This may be a huge online championship tournament, but talk about the incentive!

Contrary to Magic’s prize pools (online and physical), national tournaments for the Pokémon Trading Game award scholarships to its winners. I will not argue that this prize is necessarily a bad one. With that said, I would like to point out that I believe this effectively pigeon holes the Pokémon Card Game because it explicitly targets a certain player age demographic (younger players).

Most players in their early – to late twenties (or older) will find investing into a deck, practicing their game play, and traveling to tournaments not simply worth it due to fact that the game will be awarding them prizes that are not of monetary value to them. But this does not hold them back and it is rather unfortunate for the players. This is because Pokémon doesn’t invest in these players or appreciate their contribution to the game.


Now, I’ve been playing the PTCGO since it was created. I’ve been through Closed Beta, I’m currently going through Open Beta, and you know what catches my eye the most? That little button on the screen that reads “Coming Soon – Tournaments”. That’s right…Tournaments (Incentive!).

It’d be unfair to compare MTGO to PTCGO at this point, but Magic certainly provides Pokémon with a model to follow. What I will say is this: Magic, both in the Online and physical games, provides the incentive that leads to (1) a greater number of players and (2) older players (let’s say above the age of 20). A trend I’ve been noticing lately is that older Pokémon TCG players are making the seemingly natural progression from Pokémon to Magic.

Certainly, some may argue that Magic involves a higher level of skill that these players may crave. However, at the same time, the incentive Magic provides compared to Pokémon, at this point in time, is much greater to an older player demographic.

Question: Do I want to win thousands of dollars (Magic) or do I want to win a scholarship that I can’t use because I’m not in college anymore Pokémon?

The answer is an easy one to me, Magic. But (for better or worse) my heart will always remain with Pokémon.

That is why it is imperative that PCTGO offers the right amount of incentive to encourage players of all ages to keep playing. The key lies in PTCGO s ability to create a tournament format online that emulates the physical game. An online format which features a series of tournaments throughout the year that will culminate with the epic “PTCGO Championships” with the winner being awarded a sizeable cash prize.


Note: I’m not trying to take away that glorious feeling of winning a tournament or simply having fun. But let’s face it, we would prefer that there are some nice prizes involved, and Pokémon has been long overdue to increase us old and new players’ incentive to stay in the game. With PTCGO, the goal should be to attract as many players as possible, and I think some great prizes would do just that.

That fact of the matter is that PTCGO has an incredible opportunity to capture a huge market of Pokémon card players and at the moment it doesn’t seem like they’re doing a good job. Interest has waned and prices of code cards have plummeted from over $1 to a mere 50 cents. The only way to influence people to invest their money and interest into a virtual product is with incentive! You show me the prizes (not to mention lack of bugs in the game would help too), and I’ll show you an investment in PTCGO. Let’s hope that they get it right! Thanks for reading!

Reader Interactions

57 replies

  1. Anonymous

    What I see: a 1000 word text.
    What I read: “I want tournaments and money.”

    • David Griggs  → Anonymous

      And that’s why people go to Magic instead of Pokemon.

      I just spent several hundred dollars going to the Georgia Marathon and only got 2 Championship points and some packs out of it. But I had an amazing time and met some awesome people. Just because it wasn’t financially beneficial to me doesn’t mean I’m not going to do something.

  2. CarlosPero

    As a brand, Pokémon is aimed at kids, and it’s much more than just the card game (unlike Magic). As such, any monetary rewards will be in the form of scholarships, and they will only be token amounts, not huge windfalls like the dollars being offered in Magic. Otherwise the game will become more cutthroat.

    It’s probably safe to say most people play Pokémon TCG in-person or online for the fun of it. Adding a monetary incentive to something doesn’t always make it better.

  3. Bradley Webb

    I am probably one of the few players who does not play Pokemon with cards, but only online. I am a time poor professional who enjoys the challenges of a CCG (played pokemon when it first came out in the 90’s, as well as MTG, VTS etc etc). For me, the online game is a PERFECT platform.

    As for costs, well, I dont buy physical packs. I buy codes from ebay for around $0.60 each, meaning that this is the cheapest form of CCG I have ever played. A “box” of cards is $20, which is a steal.

    Plus, I can always go online and start a game any time I want and have only a 45sec queue, maximum. This is great!

    The drawback is that some games take a bit of time, especially when your opponent goes AFK. But even then, I can go afk too and alt tab back, play my turn etc.

    The online version is fantastic. I would fully reccomend to anyone.

  4. stephen shirley

    i would prefer it to be not scholarships for prizes in pokemon but cash

    also i don’t like the online you have to pay for the cards while on play tcg you don’t and you have to get them in packs

    • Matt Tedrick  → stephen

      In response to baby mario’s: “I don’t know if they ever intended PTCGO to be anything other than another way to have fun doing”

      …a company that has been in business for as long as pokemon has doesn’t do anything just “for fun”. At they end of the day, they are a business and are trying to turn a profit. Let’s not forget that. I’m all for PTCGO being successful and I’m saying that providing incentive (which they obviously plan on doing) is the only way it can do that.

      As for the code cards being discontinued in packs, yes it is just speculation, but from a business perspective it makes sense for them to discontinue the code cards in packs. Again, pokemon is trying to make money, maybe not at the moment, but eventually. They provide free codes initially to get people interested and it definitely has. I respect your opinions mario and appreciate that can respect mine.

      As for the point from LavenderAkane that it’s unfair to compare PTCGO Beta to magic I refer to a quote from the article itself:

      “It’d be unfair to compare MTGO to PTCGO at this point, but Magic certainly provides Pokemon with a model to follow”

      • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Matt

        In my opinion, the codes are part of marketing for the TCG. They are there to give another incentive to buy packs, and expand awareness of the TCG/Pokemon brand. That’s the business sense angle.

        If they don’t think it works, they’ll likely drop it, rather than turn it into something that tries to generate profits. I honestly don’t think there is a market for that in Pokemon. The customer base is very different from MTG, with a lot of their sales going to kids who don’t really play, but just want nice Pokemon stuff.

        • Matt Tedrick  → Jak

          Exactly! They are kind of at a crossroads here. With two options: 1. Provide incentive, shift the demographic towards older players or 2. Drop the game just as you said. There is certainly a muddled middle between these two extremes and I’m merely stating that it will be very interesting to see which direction pokemon decides to go. It’s also fun to provide an article that is somewhat controversial to spark the interest and opinions of the sixprizes community!

        • Chad DragonLord  → Jak

          I am a parent of two pokemon playing Seniors and I am absolutely buying virtual packs! I love PTCGO. Way more than PlayTCG. The interface is beautiful and easier to use. I can find opponents at any time of day and can quickly play a game and be done in under 20 minutes. PlayTCG is too clunky for me. I tried it and didn’t really like it. The only selling point for PlayTCG is the cards are free. That I can’t deny but in the long run PTCGO will be the wave of the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if the makers of Pokemon come down on sites like PlayTCG that are using their images. Are they getting compensated for using their card images on PlayTCG? It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities for them to eventually take legal action if they continue doing so. PlayTCG competes directly with what PTCGO is trying to do, so I can easily see that happening. All speculation on my part. But anyway, my main point is this – PTCGO is so much better, the visual appeal is what drew me into the game and if one knows the right web sites to visit you can get online packs for as little as 20 cents each! My virtual collection is 100x larger than my real collection and I do all of my playing there. My kids don’t actually. They’d rather play video games. But for a Dad, I like going to PTCGO and play a couple of games each night because it is quick and easy. Much easier than doing so on PLayTCG. It is easier to build and manage decks. Trading is awesome and you can build up a competitive collection fairly easily. I love it. PTCGO is definitely the way to go, and if they add tournaments it will only get better.

      • Akane Satou  → Matt

        I addressed that in my comment.
        You (I’m assuming you’re the article author?) said that, yet you still compared them in the article.

        • Matt Tedrick  → Akane

          Yes, the comparison was simply necessary to show where PTCGO should be headed in the future. I was merely stating that magic provides a great model and that pokemon should follow that model if they hope to be successful. That is how they should do it or PTCGO will tank imo. No one assumes that this will happen overnight, it took magic almost a decade to get it right. It is going to be a long and drawn out process. I’m pushing the article a year or two before it’s time, because I want PTCGO to be around and highly successful for both pokemon and their consumers in a year or two.

        • Lynx Meche  → Matt

          Man, so much more of this could have been cleared up when we read it. I mean, you do at least see where we’re coming from, right? You’ve left out some crucial details and you can’t pick up tone over the internet unless you really mess with it. Because it really sounded like you wanted PTCGO to bomb right this moment in the article alone.

          I do agree that they do need something more than random matchup to be successful long term, but we’re talking about beta. I kinda doubt they’ll do prizes beyond virtual boosters for a long time, but that’s part of trying a program or software early. And it looks like they’re implementing Unlimited eventually, which I think is pretty cool.

  5. Lynx Meche

    All I see is that there’s no monetary reward and you’re sore about throwing money at it, only to get fun in return. I didn’t skim it or skip it after you made that point, it’s just that. Xbox Live = no cash prize. Subscription MMORPGs = no cash prize. Must not be worth it, ditch them forever.

    I’ve seen players get a little jealous of MTG’s big cash prizes compared to the scholarships Pokemon gives, and I can see where they come from. But no matter who they attract, the rest of everything they do is still aimed at children, and it’s still much smaller compared to YGO’s and MTG’s followings. But the most important part, it’s the cheapest of the three. I’ll stick with Pokemon and live with the reduced prize.

    The code card prizes aren’t necessarily rising because of demand. Before, they were only available in non-retail BW packs and EP packs. Now NV has them, and everyone’s buying NV because it has a lot of highly-wanted cards. More people have them so there’s more competition.

    Last point, you’re complaining about the prizes of PTGO compared to MTGO, which has been going for a lot longer. More people, less chance to win a prize. But that’s not even the point I’m getting across. TCGO is in beta, their tournament system doesn’t even work at the moment. You even said that, but right after, complained that the beta isn’t matching up to something that’s been going on much longer? I’m afraid I’m missing your point.

    • David Griggs  → Lynx

      Hate to be a stickler… but you can get paid to play MMORPGs. You just have to be very good at it.

      • Lynx Meche  → David

        Why has nobody told me that I’ve been spending time on the wrong MMOs? (Unless you’re talking about WoW, because that one’s way too expensive right now, haha.)

  6. Eric Smith

    My problem with the online game is that I don’t want to have to build a physical collection AND a virtual one. If there were more ways to earn online booster packs, such as maybe completing tutorials or completing the AI controlled leagues, I would switch from PlayTCG. I like being able to go on PlayTCG and throw together a deck idea and immediately try it out, unlike PTCGO where I have to actually buy booster packs or trade to get the cards I need just to try a deck idea that potentially doesn’t even work and I’ll never try again. Not to mention parts of it are difficult to navigate. I know so many people who couldn’t even find the right link to get to their collection or the deck building interface.

    And as far as the prizes given, I think scholarships are appropriate given Pokemon’s target age demographic, but I think the prizes should be different for each division. A lot of the players are in their mid 20s and have already completed college. What are they supposed to do with a scholarship? I say scholarships for Juniors and Seniors, and maybe a smaller cash amount for Masters.

  7. Matt Tedrick

    I think some of you are missing the point. The point of this article is not “I am greedy and play pokemon for money”. The point is that pokemon neglects it’s older players because it’s focus has always been kids kids kids, but it’s the older players who constantly market and get people interested with sites (like sixprizes), videos, etc…

    Pokemon Online will not survive without incentive because the number of players that play that are 17+ is greater than those who play that are in 8-16 year old range. Let’s also realize that code cards will not always be free. A day will come where pokemon doesn’t offer code cards in packs, the supply of code cards becomes limited, and their price increases. Are you will to pay $2-3 per code for a virtual product without incentive? Again, this isn’t about money or greed, it’s about a business model that encourages people to play and the game to be most successful.

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Matt

      ‘Pokemon Online will not survive without incentive because the number of players that play that are 17+ is greater than those who play that are in 8-16 year old range.’

      And why do you think that is?

      Because Pokemon, despite being aimed at ‘kids kids kids’ is actually brilliant at retaining players long after they stop being kids.

      Must be doing something right, no?

      Why can’t people over 17 enjoy something without a financial incentive? (except they do . . . all the time).

      I don’t know if they ever intended PTCGO to be anything other than another way to have fun doing Pokemon stuff . . . just like the mini games on Pokemon.com. It’s effectively free to people who already invest in the physical TCG anyway (maybe its primary function is another way of marketing the cards?). Online money/prize tournaments sound like a pain in the arse to make work. How do you stop people getting their mates online to help them play for a start?

      Didn’t dislike the article. Just because I massively disagree with your opinion, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be heard.

    • Lynx Meche  → Matt

      “it’s the older players who constantly market and get people interested with sites (like sixprizes), videos, etc… ”

      A little obvious, since I think Sixprizes would cause more advertisements than a 12-year-old’s Geocities or Angelfire or Freewebs or…whatever kids use now. And man, you ever see the Pokemon Youtube videos by kids? “I caught shiny Hippowdon!” is almost enough to make me consider supporting banning kids from games, haha.

      I do wonder why you didn’t actually say that in the article itself if that’s the main point. But I don’t think Pokemon is going to stop with the code cards in packs as long as they keep TCGO running. Why? Because they charge about 19 cents more for a pack that has them. If you use TCGO, great, 20 cents for a code card. If you don’t, it’s very easy to sell the codes since you don’t need to physically ship anything, and you get your packs cheaper.

      • Balasar  → Lynx

        what’s with everyone bashing seniors and juniors?! for example, “you ever see the Pokemon Youtube videos by kids? ‘I caught shiny Hippowdon!'”. do you realize that we actually read this stuff? much like pikkdogs, i DID have a lot of respect for you. you even helped me out. again like pikkdogs, all of that respect went down the drain. MANY seniors and juniors look up to masters like they’re gods. if they saw what you are saying here, i’m quite sure that they would report you for insulting other players and lose all interest in the game because of two things. 1.) they wouldn’t want to deal with you people who are bashing them. and 2.) so they won’t become like that.

        • Lynx Meche  → Balasar

          It was a joke about a Youtube video I saw recently while trying to find something else. It’s something Masters do too, and it’s hilarious either way, but the topic was on Sixprizes getting more advertisement towards Pokemon than a kid who would most likely deter players when the comments are entirely bashing, “It’s just female Hippowdon/East Sea Shellos you (racial/homophobic slur)!” I’ve seen people on the Internet as well known as Katie Tiedrich of Awkward Zombie joking about beating people to death of ther the Shellos confusion; wasn’t aware this was suddenly a sensitive topic. If I could find an excuse to laugh at the older crowd who thinks a darker Hippowdon is shiny, I’d jump on that even faster. I’d done stupid things like that, and the only reason I know about Angelfire and Geocities is because of the embarrassing sites I had of my own when I was young and still using Yahoo email. Look back and realize, “Wow, I would’ve hated myself.”

          Not sure where you’re getting this impression that I’m any different in that comment than…the forums maybe, or wherever else I appeared to be any different. Heck, catch me in real life, I’ll say exactly the same thing to someone’s face. I’ll help out anyone, but if I believe they did something badly, I won’t hold back. If you gently sugarcoat advice or make allowances for age, they’ll never improve and will expect that coddling through their life. Proof on any site on the entire internet that allows you to post anything.

          I’ve been reported before, on multiple sites. And then never received a single infraction because telling somebody, “It’s anatomical vomit, this is what you need to do,” is directly telling them what they need to fix, not flaming. (I lied, I’ve been infracted for critique on Gaia, but everyone over 14 knows that there’s no saving that site.) I’ve ended up making friends with some of the people I’ve torn down for saying dumb things. You don’t realize you’ve made mistakes until someone comes forward and tells you, usually you shut down for a little in anger, then you improve and realize, “Wow, they were right?” Pretty much how I was kicked out of writing horrible things that no longer exist on any hard drive I own no different.

          But seriously, this was about a joke I made to someone who has suggested Pokemon close TCGO or aim it directly at Masters, cutting out the middlemen, who are here Juniors and Seniors. I figured that ranked pretty low on “Worst things I’ve ever said to somebody” list.

        • Akane Satou  → Balasar

          …oh my god. Okay, I’m sorry, but this has to be the absolutely worst overreaction to anything I have ever witnessed.
          You seemingly took HUGE offense (on behalf of all Juniors and Seniors) at a seemingly harmless comment by Innocent_Shine. Here, let me pick apart your post:

          “for example, “you ever see the Pokemon Youtube videos by kids? ‘I caught shiny Hippowdon!'”.”
          Wait, how was this in any way offensive other than her stating the truth rather blatantly? If you don’t mind, please link me to any successful Pokémon website made by a <13 year old. Heck, even an entertaining Pokémon-related YouTube video would do.

          "do you realize that we actually read this stuff? much like pikkdogs, i DID have a lot of respect for you. you even helped me out. again like pikkdogs, all of that respect went down the drain."
          And pikkdogs lost his respect for I_S… when, exactly? A link to a comment would be nice? Also, links to some more comments that made you lose your respect for I_S.

          " MANY seniors and juniors look up to masters like they're gods. if they saw what you are saying here, i'm quite sure that they would report you for insulting other players and lose all interest in the game"
          And her joking commenting that "if that's how it's gonna be, I almost want to consider banning kids from games, haha" is insulting (and reportable)… how? It was clearly not serious or ill-meant (note the little "haha" at the end) and I don't see any problem with it whatsoever. At least, it's certainly not more insulting than…

          "1.) they wouldn't want to deal with you people who are bashing them. and 2.) so they won't become like that."

          That doesn't sound like you're joking around there. You're seriously saying that Juniors and Seniors will quit the game because they don't want to become like I_S? Woo, personal insults!

          I'm sorry, but please keep this in mind for later: think over your comments before you post them. This comment reeks of you getting so offended by I_S's comment (which, in my eyes, wasn't objectionable at all) that you couldn't think straight and went for the "I lost all respect for you" approach. In short, calm down.


          (yes I do realize I'm overly whiteknighting I_S – just felt this reply needed to be made~)

          edit: whoops, ninja'd by… ten minutes by I_S. I so need to learn to refresh more.

        • Balasar  → Akane

          i agree that i over reacted. if you look at the previous comments, they started to irritate me and this comment just pushed me over the edge. just want to apologize.

        • Joshua Pikka  → Balasar

          no problem man. There was a little bit of truth in what I said. I do love kids and am good with kids. But at tournaments they do irritate me at times. More of a joke than anything probably.

        • Lynx Meche  → Akane

          I think what he said about pikkdogs was about the Petilil CotD I did, where he said I suck for reviewing it, but it was cleared up as just a joke that didn’t come across as sarcastic as he thought. Most people see a CotD, read comments, done with it. I followed it because, well, it was popping up in my email alerts. (I first interpreted that he lost respect for pikkdogs, but yours makes a whole lot more sense.)

          Still not sure about what I’ve done differently to upset anyone specifically who wasn’t already mad at me though =T There have been some good articles, there have been some not-so-good, and the ones I haven’t liked are in agreement with 90% of the comments, so it’s not like I’m bashing everything that hits the site.

  8. nicholas inzeo

    The Vast Abyss TCG Hub – Coming in 2012 NY

    Once or twice a month competitive play for pokemon will take place.

    Examples what to expect
    Tournament Standard –
    Entance Fee $5.00
    Each person who arrives a pack is thrown in the pool.
    25 people play = 25 packs

    Entrance Fee $10.00
    A pack for each person who plays & 3.00 thrown in the pool
    25 players = 25 packs + 1st gets 3 x 25 = $75.00

    Competitive Tournament – (open for debate) (madhatterni@aol.com)

    Entance fee – 20.00
    15.00 will be thrown in the pot for each person who attends
    10 player = $150
    25 players = $375

    If there is a higher entrance fee, there be a higher prize for 1st 2nd 3rd

  9. Akane Satou

    …Are you serious?

    To start with, I completely agree with Barcanine and Innocent_Shine in that this article is nothing but you being annoyed because you “wasted” money on something that won’t let you earn them back. …Not that many games let you win back your investments in them, and yet people buy (and play) video games more than ever before. Why?
    Because they enjoy playing, that’s why. Push the competitive angle all you want, the fact still stands that video games are entertainment and the competitive part with actual prizes on the line always will come second to plain old fun.

    Secondly, my main problem with this article: The Pokémon TCG Online is still in development. It’s a beta, not an actual finished game. There’s a reason for there not being tournaments yet, which I’m pretty sure is because they’re still ironing out bugs (which you mentioned you want less of). If I understand correctly, Magic: The Gathering Online was not released to the public until the game had finished development, which means M:TGO and PTCGO cannot be compared as the two games are in completely different stages of development. You even state that it would be unfair to compare these games at this point, and yet you still do. Why?

    You also state that “interest has waned” for the PTCGO, however you fail to back this statement up with any evidence other than pointing out that “the prices of code cards have plummeted from over $1 to a mere 50 cents”, which is explained by code cards being more widely available with the release of a more highly demanded set than the previous BW sets, Noble Victories.

    All in all, while it’s clear that effort went into this article, my personal opinion is that you’re attempting to push an argument that’s a year or two before its time. Come back when PTCGO is out of beta and is fully comparable with M:TGO, and maybe then you’ll have a point.


  10. Anonymous

    Pokemon COULD do this: Juniors and Seniors get packs and scholarships; Masters get money.

    I don’t think it will happen though.

  11. Adam Capriola

    For everyone criticizing this article, here are a couple counterpoints:

    1. The video game argument is a little moot since when you buy a video game, you know you aren’t getting any monetary reward out of it. When you buy Pokemon cards, some people expect/hope to do well at tournaments and win prizes.

    I can see how people might expect the same precedence for buying digital cards (a chance to reap rewards). The fact that there has been speculation about online tournaments, but little concrete info about them could throw people into a bit of a loop.

    1. Right now you’re basically paying for the gaming platform, but with free options available like PlayTCG, RedShark, and Apprentice (among others), I can see how people who made a large investment might be wondering what they were thinking. “Why didn’t I just spend that money on real cards and playtest for free w/o PTCGO?”
    2. Part of playing for “fun” is the thrill of trying to capture a worlds invite, make top cut at their local Cities, or even just win a game at their local tournament. Sure there are people that play strictly for fun without any organized, competitive play, but those are the main reasons a lot of people play. Not even really for the prizes, but just for the adrenaline rush. That can’t be truly mimicked with PTCGO yet since it’s all free play.

    I think there are valid arguments on both sides, but overall I think there needs to be more time for the software to develop (like many people pointed out) before we jump to conclusions.

    • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Adam

      1. When you get PTCGO codes, you also know you aren’t getting any money out of it. They are just a bonus thing we get for free in packs. If people choose to buy them from a 3rd party (which has nothing to do with Pokemon/TPCI), they also know they will get no money in return.

      2. You don’t pay Pokemon a thing for these codes. You get them for nothing. They are an extra incentive for buying packs. If TPCI was selling these things seperate from packs, then the arguments in this article would have some validity.

      3. I think PTCGO is meant to be an ‘extra’ thing for people who just want to play the game, test decks etc. I think people misunderstand its purpose. It’s not there to make money for TPCI by itself, it’s part of the marketing strategy for the actual cards themselves – ‘buy packs, get access to cool online stuff for free’ – that kind of thing.

      • Mekkah  → Jak

        For #2, didn’t the price of booster packs increase when they started putting codes in it? I wouldn’t say that’s free.

      • Adam Capriola  → Jak

        People do not think that rationally! There has been a precedent set that spending money on Pokemon cards = potential to win swag. Many of us have been programmed to expect a chance to be rewarded for putting our resources (mental, emotional, monetary) into the game. Pokemon hasn’t exactly made it clear what direction they’re heading with the program either, so I totally get if people are a little bugged right now.

        Also in regards to paying for the codes, there are for sure people out there that buy bulk codes. And there are also people who might have instead wished they bought single cards. Buying physical cards doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting codes for free.

        • Jak Stewart-Armstead  → Adam

          That’s true Adam, but the secondary market in codes (and single cards for that matter) is nothing to do with Nintendo/TPCI. They didn’t create it and they don’t profit (directly) from it. Nintendo don’t sell any codes at all . . . they put them in packs for free, they are not responsible for fulfilling the expectations created by the secondary market.

          @Mekkah – I didn’t notice any price rise tied into the codes. Packs are so variable in price anyway that it’s hard to tell. Even if they did rise, there is no reason to assume that we are being charged extra for the codes (prices do rise for other reasons). Remember that only the first printing of BW came with codes, yet those packs were not sold for more than the packs without codes, except on the secondary market which, again, is nothing to do with Nintendo TPCI.

          The way I see it, TPCI decided to add a little value to the pack buying experience. We should see that as a good thing – we have now got something we didn’t have before. I think it’s a shame if people are going to take it as meaning that they are entitled to even more.

    • Lynx Meche  → Adam

      You usually have better counterarguments than the actual authors on some of these, and this amuses me. I mean, I definitely wouldn’t mind getting prizes out of it, but any complaints I have compared to anything else at all are held off until it’s not in beta. No one is going to offer prizes when it’s in beta, and the mods don’t even know if they’ll have to wipe collections again. I’m not going to complain that they aren’t giving out packs for tokens or putting in a cash shop because the software is still being tested and so many of the cards are bugged.

      PTCGO is something I use for playtesting against people who aren’t the same people over and over, and just for fun because I don’t have some of the decks in real life. For the chance to test against new people, I don’t mind having put money into it because it’s giving me a better shot overall. But for online tournaments? I can’t complain because it doesn’t exist yet.

  12. Joshua Pikka

    I respect your opinion and everything. But we know that magic is where the money is, and Pokemon is just for fun. Why do we need you to tell us that?

    I do think we need to get on the butt of the PTCGO people and say, “Make it better!!!” way too many bugs right now. So that’s a good thing.

  13. Anonymous

    Yeah, agreeing with the majority of the others here; I’m not seeing it. It’s in beta for a reason. They’re obviously outsourcing the code work; and if you play enough, you can actually get paired with one of the employees; and they’ll chat with you about it. They have a bug tracker listing known bugs, bugs in progress, and bug fixes applied. If you find one not on the list; do your part and submit it.

  14. Joshua Hall

    Mr. Tedrick, I completely agree. Once all the bugs are ironed out…let’s get some real incentive on the line. Let’s play for the big bucks.

  15. Anonymous

    Honestly, I gotta agree with the article. I basically have no motivation to spend money on PTCGO codes because I could instead spend that money on real cards and then playtest on PlayTCG for free.

  16. Roarkiller Master

    MTG and YGO gives out monetary incentives, Pokemon doesn’t.

    Look at the cutthroat attitude of their players, and look at ours.

    Yeah, I’ll stick with Pokemon thank you very much, prizes be damned.

  17. Anonymous

    I’m an older player (I think Pokedad is the term), and my two sons (juniors, soon to be seniors) also play. We are competitive, frequenting the local league & tournaments, and the boys have even collected the odd Victory Cup. Between us, we have spent many hundreds, probably thousands, on Pokemon TCG. And then there’s the NDS….

    I have played the PTCGO open beta, as have my sons, and I think it’s a great start.

    We play PTCG/PTCGO for the fun, excitement, thrill of competition, sweet taste of victory, AND the bitter taste of defeat. It is not at all about big prizes for us.

    It is first and foremost about having fun. I have ‘invested’ a lot in the TCG, and have received value for my money. I do not need, nor expect, cash or cards as prizes to keep me interested.

    The boys are competitive, and love to win – show me a youngster that doesn’t. But I tell ya, if one of them EVER whines about not winning enough boosters or whatever, he will be left in no doubt at all about my thoughts on that attitude.

    Pokemon is not a profession for me – it’s a hobby. I gather there are people who thought they saw/see an opportunity to make money out of PTCGO. If they can manage that, and it keeps them happy, fine. However, it would be unfortunate if the self interest of a vocal few was mistaken for the position of the general community.

    If you expect big rewards for indulging in your chosen hobby, you may need to review your motivation.

    You want to win big ? Try Magic, or Poker.
    I suspect Pokemon will continue just fine, supported by people playing it for fun, not profit.

    • Loren Miller  → Anonymous

      As a PokeDad, I totally agree with the above. Pokemon is friendly and low key b/c there are no direct monetary prizes, just packs (and scholarships, at least in the past). I think that’s why the community is generally so friendly and collegial.

      I play poker for money, too. I can’t always say the above for poker.

  18. Shane Sheridan

    I haven’t been able to enjoy the game very much yet because I constantly get bugs about my collection not loading properly, so balls to that I guess!

  19. clydecore

    I think this article was meant to express concern and provide constructive dialogue of improving game experience for ALL ages. Understandably the game demographic is primarily children. My issue with the pay for packs receive online goods is this, your physical collection does not reflect your digital. Either it be through seedy back alley trades, comic book binder finds, or gifts from a pal. That prized deck you’ve painstakingly scoured the lands to create is not available online.

    I suggest they take a page from MTGO’s playbook and once you’ve completed a full set of digital, they send you that physical set. This would give incentive to spend money on a digital product, with the return being a physical collection. OR instead of having each booster have a code, give each card a QRC scan bar that you can redeem (this being impractical logistically/not cost effective makes it highly doubtful).

    As for tournament’s and compensation for time/money/effort, enjoyment is definitely a good start. But then again the demographic that they target generally isn’t using their own money to fund that enjoyment. The parents are the ones. The parents are compensated, in the way of a safe constructive and educational outlet to occupy their children. So gladly they will spend, with no concern for compensation, for a chance for scholarship to boot? “heck where do I sign up” said every parent ever.

    Now when it comes to us 20 something (+) players, we do require a little more ‘bang for our buck’ so to speak. Enforcing the argument this article is trying to make, about how Pokemon TCG can broaden its player base by appealing to the untapped paychecks of the nostalgic youthful adults around the world working those full time jobs to keep rent paid and ramen on the table and want an outlet that has atleast false hope of obtaining glamorous prizes. Because without more incentive other than fun, and being the bane of every 9-year-old tournament goer’s existence, the meta game misses out on this largely diverse strategic mindbank. Dare I say mentors? Challenging the game state, crafting better players from the ground up consequently perpetuating a well rounded gaming community.

    When those youngsters grow up and have to buy packs on their own they lose interest when the “juice isnt worth the squeeze”. The understanding that (time+effort=money/enjoyment) You calculate how much you will have to work to sustain life and afford enjoyment. When the cost of enjoyment outweighs the amount of time and effort it takes to produce said enjoyment, you invest in what will be worth it. It all comes down to perspective i suppose. So to sum that up Parents and Children are satisfied with pokemon TCG. Almost adults are not.

  20. Kall

    Now, my friend, 4 years later. What do you say about pokemon tcg online? Does it have the Incentive you expected it to have?

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