Shall We Play A Game? - Nintendo Drags Pokémon Into the 21st Century...Kicking and Screaming

Imagine being able to share, trade, and move your Pokémon between your games on different devices via a centrally-located, Internet-connected server. Sounds like some really wacky, far-out, futuristic stuff, eh? Well, maybe if this headline screamer had been announced in early 1999, it might’ve been. Rather, this is a completely valid “service” announcement that has been recently released by Nintendo. They even have the temerity to label this cloud service as Pokémon HOME.

Located at, the website offers an introduction to Pokémon HOME, as well as an explanation of the two available subscription services that details the differences between the Nintendo Switch and the Android versions. To use the Android version and take advantage of the new cloud service, you will need to go to Google Play and download the free Pokémon HOME app and subscribe.

Figure 1 - Pokémon HOME

Right off the bat, you have a choice for your subscription plan: free or paid. The free plan is feature-rich enough to use right away with your Pokémon collection. You can easily opt for the free plan and test the Pokémon HOME waters before you jump in with your credit card.

The available plans are Basic (the free plan) and Premium (the paid plan). The Premium plan subscription is available for one month at $2.99, three months for $4.99, and one year for $15.99. In addition to differences between the Basic plan and the Premium plan, there are also platform feature differences between the Nintendo Switch and Android. Some of the feature differences between the plans and platforms:

1. Moving Pokémon from the 3DS-sponsored Pokémon Bank is only available with a Premium subscription. This is an included feature for Android.

2. The number of Pokémon that can be deposited into Pokémon HOME are limited to 30 in the Basic plan and 6,000 in the Premium plan.

3. The number of Pokémon that can be placed into the Wonder Box feature at one time are restricted to 3 for Basic users and 10 for Premium users.

4. The number of Pokémon that can be placed in the GTS (aka, Global Trade System) at once are 1 with Basic and 3 with Premium. This feature is also enabled for Android.

5. Basic users can only use pre-made rooms in Room Trade, whereas Premium uses can also make new user rooms. Android users will have the ability.

6. Only Premium subscribers can use the Judge function. This feature is available for Android.

Figure 2 - Inside your Room

At present, the Nintendo Pokémon HOME Android version only supports Nintendo 3DS Pokémon Bank transfers, but NOT Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee! or Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! Although there is some speculation that Pokémon GO integration will soon be released for mobile devices. Therefore, smart ODROID game players might want to opt for the free Basic plan until the Pokémon GO option has been delivered and then decide whether to continue with the Basic plan or upgrade to the Premium plan.

Along with the Pokémon intra-game transfers of Pokémon HOME, there are also features for trading Pokémon via the Global Trade System and Room Trade events, the ability to examine Pokémon in the Wonder Box, the opportunity to receive free “mystery” gifts, and convert your accumulated points into gaming Battle Points (BP). While Android users will be able to receive Mystery Gifts, Battle Point exchange is limited to the Nintendo Switch version only.

Figure 3 - Woo-hoo

Figure 4 - Mystery Gift

Figure 5 - Converting your points

One last feature worthy of mentioning is inside Pokémon HOME there is the ability to register all of your added Pokémon to the National Pokédex. Inside this dictionary, you can read about specific Pokémon abilities and moves that Pokémon can learn. This is a charming and informational inclusion that is found inside the Android version. You can also register both Mega Evolve and Gigantimax forms in this mobile database.

Figure 6 - National Pokédex

Figure 7 - My Pokémon

While it seems like Nintendo took an eternity to catch-up to the rest of the gaming industry’s embrace of cloud-based distributed game share, Pokémon HOME is a feature-rich product that has the ability to enable widespread Pokémon ecosystem adoption between active players. Even more remarkable, this shared experience could grow over 1000-fold with the arrival of the proposed Pokémon GO integration. That translates into seeing even more people wandering around aimlessly looking at their smart device searching for another Pokémon gym. Thanks Nintendo and welcome to the 21st century.

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