BELLEVUE, WA - January 24 th, 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 6 th 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 5 th 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 12 th 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 5 th. 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.
To learn more about Pokémon please visit www.pokemon.com.
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment, and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children's entertainment properties in the world. For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.
The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii™ home console and Nintendo DS™ family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System™, Nintendo has sold more than 3.3 billion video games and more than 558 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi™ and Nintendo DSi XL™, as well as the Game Boy™, Game Boy Advance, Super NES™, Nintendo 64™ and Nintendo GameCube™ systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as Mario™, Donkey Kong™, Metroid™, Zelda™ and Pokémon™. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company's website at www.nintendo.com.
About JAKKS Pacific, Inc.
JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) is a leading designer and marketer of toys and consumer products, with a wide range of products that feature some of the most popular children's toy licenses in the world. JAKKS' diverse portfolio includes Action Figures, Art Activity Kits, Stationery, Writing Instruments, Performance Kites, Water Toys, Sports Activity Toys, Vehicles, Infant/Pre-School, Plush, Construction Toys, Electronics, Dolls, Dress-Up, Role Play, and Pet Toys and Accessories, sold under various proprietary brands including JAKKS Pacific®, Play Along®, Flying Colors®, Creative Designs International™, Road Champs®, Child Guidance®, Pentech®, Funnoodle®, Go Fly a Kite®, Color Workshop®, JAKKS Pets™, EyeClops®, Plug It In&Play TV Games™, Girl Gourmet™, Kids Only®, Tollytots® and Disguise. JAKKS is an award-winning licensee of several hundred nationally and internationally known trademarks including Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., World Wrestling Entertainment, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Graco and Cabbage Patch Kids. JAKKS and THQ Inc. participate in a joint venture that has worldwide rights to publish and market World Wrestling Entertainment video games. For further information, visit www.jakks.com.
David Welch/Brian Reinert