Report: Pokken Tournament “In the Red” and Being Removed from Japanese Arcades

pokken tournament 10-20-15-1

We’ve learned (via My Game News Flash) that despite western enthusiasm towards Bandai Namco and Nintendo’s Wii U-bound fighter, Pokken Tournament, the game is performing very bad in its native country of Japan.

To be more precise, the fighting game is performing so bad that arcades are saying it’s literally “in the red,” meaning they aren’t making the money back for their investments into the costly arcade cabinets and controllers.

One popular arcade, Fantasista Arcade in Kurashiki city in Okayama Prefecture, was even so bold as to make public tweets and blog about their removing of the game from their arcade next month.

Japanese commenters are generally tearing into the game, saying things like “only 10 characters, no boss, therefore it’s shit,” or “boring,” and even just simply “kusoge” (Japanese portmanteau for ‘shit game’).

This is certainly interesting considering that console ports of arcade games are sometimes entirely reliant on the game’s performance in Japanese arcades – although this is also sometimes reliant on the game’s developer picking up a publisher.

Pokken Tournament is getting a worldwide Wii U release in the spring of next year, despite these supposed failures in Japanese arcades.

Translations provided by Katie Ujihisa

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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

  1. Valwin Mediaz
    Valwin Mediaz
    October 20, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    ahahahahah o wow

  2. Logan R. B. (Lostriky)
    Logan R. B. (Lostriky)
    October 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm


  3. Heavily Augmented
    Heavily Augmented
    October 20, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Well this should get interseting when it releases in the West. I mean it can’t be THAT bad r-right?

  4. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    October 20, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    It’s also worth mentioning that lots of commenters are saying that the game is not that popular in general, even though only one arcade specifically said they are removing it.. I’m concerned that it’s not doing that well all over

  5. Richard Miller
    Richard Miller
    October 20, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I knew the game wouldn’t do well.

  6. Reon
    October 20, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I’m curious as to what they mean by “no boss”.
    It’s a vs game why would they have a boss fight or is that normal for arcades to have?
    Either way, I always thought the gameplay looked terrible, and having only 10 characters is on the low side too. The scene for arcades must be quite competitive there too so people wouldn’t really have a reason to play a lesser game.
    And I guess Pokemon just isn’t as popular as it used to be either, if this had come out in the 90’s it would have been huge simply because of the IP.
    And arcades don’t really have that much relevance in the rest of the world, so with that being as it is maybe they’re better of just releasing it as a WiiU game anyway.
    Surely the worldwide fans of pokemon will be willing to cash out for it even if it isn’t that good, and the game’s already made so it can’t be that expensive to release.
    Not much to translate or port anyway.

  7. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    October 20, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Most fighting games do have boss characters (like M. Bision/Dictator or Inferno) and often mini-boss characters too in “arcade” mode.

  8. Misogynerd
    October 20, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Well, from what I’ve read, it’s just one arcade, right? A popular one for certain, or are there more?
    Also yeah, I did find the roster really small, 12-16 should be the standard.

  9. Misogynerd
    October 20, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    The news is only about one arcade, right? Although if it’s a popular one, it might be more a general trend for the game. I do think the main problem is the roster and that Japan likes the more cute, anime side of Pokemon.

  10. Misogynerd
    October 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Pokemon is still popular, sales have gone down little by little but it still commands a over 10 sales figures for main series games. I do think it was mostly that Japan prefers the cuter side of the series, the anime, and the movies have at times done better than Studio Ghibli films.
    That being said, Minecraft is more relevant to western kids and Japan does have competition with Monster Hunter and Yokai Watch (although that one may be also trending downwards).
    I do think the west would be more receptive to the game, since it’s more hardcore and edgier. Cast size is also an issue, come on, not one Pokemon per type? That’s fucking stupid.

  11. Nin
    October 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    While fighting games are one of the game genres were a boss is less vital than something like an RPG or a shooter, they’re still nice to have.

    Just stick Arceus in there. And give him a mega evolution too.

  12. Offendatron_5000
    October 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Least they tried to do something new with the franchise. Hopefully the feedback is used to make a better home release.

    “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” -Theodore Roosevelt

  13. ivanchu77
    October 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    arcade fanbase must be more focused on franchises such as guilty gear or tekken and never gave much care to pokemon, if the loss of brand name power among the audience goes coupled with a product that is mediocre compared to others……yeah, i can see why it can do badly-

    In a nintendo console things would be much more different for the better, that´s where the main audience is after all

  14. ShinMegamiSensei
    October 20, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Really not surprised about the small roster. I figured this game would be developed around updates/dlc to keep it going

  15. deadeye
    October 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I wasn’t expecting it to be able to compete with other fighters, but it’s kind of a shame it just flat out isn’t making money.

    Kusoge seems like an exaggeration though. I doubt the game is that bad.

  16. Misogynerd
    October 20, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    That seems to be taken from a chan. I remember similar comments when DQ9 dared not have random encounters. I think a lot of people were miffed at the D-Pad, which is understandable but mostly overblown, like the complaints about the game pad.

  17. MeteorD
    October 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Team Ninja is going to have to sue someone

  18. Guest
    October 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Well that’s depressing

  19. InfectedAI
    October 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    No boss? That’s certainly a surprise. It’s a staple of fighting games and there’s a lot of potential for bosses in the franchise. How does it end? A cutscene after beating the last fighter?

  20. Neojames82
    October 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    So guessing we are not going to see a Wii-U release then.

  21. Annie T. Mood
    Annie T. Mood
    October 20, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    “Pokken Tournament is getting a worldwide Wii U release in the spring of next year, despite these supposed failures in Japanese arcades.”

    No, I don’t think so.

  22. Neojames82
    October 20, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I think that is good because I honestly think there should be more Pokemon spins off. And also, I wish that perhaps in the big Pokemon RPG games they would have action battles like this and what they do on the animes.

  23. sanic
    October 20, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Well it could use a few more fighters for sure, I mean there’s like 780 pokemon or something currently, and the game has 10 characters, I’m interested but it needs to be beefed up.

  24. Juan Manuel M. Suárez
    Juan Manuel M. Suárez
    October 20, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    …does it really have only ten characters and no boss(es)~?

  25. orbo
    October 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t know nothing about pokken tournament, but I know that if you feature a game about pokemon and I can count the entire roster on my hands, prepare to get slammed.

  26. Nonscpo
    October 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    WTF? How do f’ck up a pokemon game?

  27. Yabloko Molloco San
    Yabloko Molloco San
    October 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Imagine Fatal Fury without Geese

  28. Yabloko Molloco San
    Yabloko Molloco San
    October 20, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    This reeks of Kof 12.

  29. No_Good_Names_Ever
    October 20, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Shoulda just had them develop a 3d game like the console ones.

  30. Tsundere Vader
    Tsundere Vader
    October 20, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Simple, have the same amount of playable characters as assist characters, and have one of those main characters be a clone. Hopefully they will add more characters, though from just this alone I can’t see why people would be hyped for it.

  31. Mr.TopKek
    October 20, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    how disappointing, I loved the game at Dave and Busters

  32. Godmars
    October 20, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Ten characters when there are how many pokemon?

  33. Stilzkin
    October 21, 2015 at 12:39 am

    The same japanese people who shat on Monster Hunter 4 on Amazon

  34. Yabloko Molloco San
    Yabloko Molloco San
    October 21, 2015 at 2:21 am

    But these are actual opinions if they aren’t getting returns from the cabinets compared to the vocal lot who spams amazon.

  35. Softclocks
    October 21, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Why are they putting such a barebones games in the arcades?

  36. Reon
    October 21, 2015 at 3:40 am

    It’s actually very weird that pokemon is so old and such a big franchise yet we haven’t had that many games that try to move the main franchise forward.
    The biggest changes were minor improvements to the standard combat and breeding, but most of the gameplay has remained the same, except now it’s graphically 3D but still plays the same.

  37. Bitterbear
    October 21, 2015 at 6:29 am

    This is what they get for not including a Pangoro in the roster.

  38. Gabidou99
    October 21, 2015 at 9:06 am

    From what I’ve heard it was only ONE arcade. People are overeacting.

  39. Mike Nieto
    Mike Nieto
    October 21, 2015 at 9:14 am

    It was obvious this was gonna happen, it always looked like shit.

  40. Gabidou99
    October 21, 2015 at 9:15 am

    But the game has a couple of anime refenrences though. But still, It’s ONE arcade, people are overeacting way too much. And what is the source of Japanese people not liking the game?

  41. Misogynerd
    October 21, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I meant the anime references more that japanese people/kids still have the anime as a large part of the franchise, hell the first Pokemon manga which is very lighthearted is still running. I guess the Japanese don’t like Pokemon smacking each other.
    Also yeah, the source of Japanse people not liking the game seems like 2ch which says that about every game.

  42. FalseTragedian
    October 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Make the roster 1/78 the size of the actual Pokemon roster, put it in a new genre, and make it a bad example of that genre.

  43. FalseTragedian
    October 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    They’re taking the Dragon Quest approach. Main series stays the same, with experimental spin-offs and crossovers.
    We have Pokemon-themed:
    Card game
    Puzzle games
    Virtual pets
    Strategy RPG
    and now a fighting game.

  44. Thanatos2k
    October 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    So just a cheap no effort cash in game? Good thing it’s failing.

  45. NintendoPSXTheSecond
    October 21, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    “Actual opinions”
    Off 2ch. Anyone that knows anything about 2ch can see the comments clearly come from there.

  46. NintendoPSXTheSecond
    October 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    lol People that think putting a ton of characters in your first FG is stupid. Look at the first SF or SFII, or Skull Girls or any other game with it’s first iteration. Starting with a small amount and adding later is how it works best to make unique movesets and proper balancing.

  47. Yabloko Molloco San
    Yabloko Molloco San
    October 21, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    The twitter of an arcade itself, as said in the article. The owner is saying that it was a waste of money, not 2ch, not amazon users, not some random people on the internet.

    Quit the denial.

  48. Andy Sutherland
    Andy Sutherland
    October 22, 2015 at 7:14 am

    This article is completely baseless. Only one independent arcade with a single branch has said that they’re removing the game, and the reason they have is that they don’t predict it will be profitable for their own arcade. This is a single arcade, not “Japanese arcades”, and I’m sure that particular arcade has no information about how well it’s performing at other arcades across the country.

    I’m sure you’re just guessing that this place is a popular arcade, and that you’ve never actually been. The arcade’s own tweets said that they would keep it if they had extra space, and that it didn’t make a particularly bad impression on them as it has a pricing system that makes it easy for small, house-like arcades to install. It sounds to me like it could be a fairly small business, and their customer bases are often different from the arcades owned by large chains. For example, there’s a well known independent arcade close to where I live, and they attract a lot of retro gamers and fans of fighting games, because they have a lot of old and obscure games that mainstream arcades don’t have, and there’s more of a community. They don’t have Pokken, but they also don’t have any of the Bemani games, or Purikura, not because they aren’t popular, but because they’re catering to a different type of customer to the large arcade chains.

    I can’t say how well Pokken is doing (Although I have seen lots of people playing on it in various arcades in Tokyo over the last few months), but a statement from one arcade, in what isn’t a particularly major city, and a few people complaining online is no reason to be worried.

  49. Gabidou99
    October 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    How it’s a bad example aside from the roster? There is nothing wrong with it.

  50. Zombie_Barioth
    October 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    The comments calling it a “shit game” and such aren’t from the arcade owner.

    I’d take these complaints with a grain of salt, they’re likely coming from morons expecting a brand-new series to have as much content as ones that have been around for 15-20 years. Pokken is probably pretty solid for what it offers.

  51. Jesus Zamora
    Jesus Zamora
    October 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Seriously. The game should at the very, VERY least have a better selection of fighters than Tekken Tag.

  52. Chaz Olave
    Chaz Olave
    October 26, 2015 at 5:55 am

    The problem with this statement is Bandai Namco has made fighting games before. Pokken Tournament isn’t their first fighting game and from a fan of Pokemon, I expect a roster of at least 50 to fairly hit some common favorites.

    The Pokemon Company, Nintendo and Bandai Namco has a ton of money and resources available to them so if this game fails, its completely their fault.

  53. Tyler Rock
    Tyler Rock
    January 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    YES!!! SOMEONE ELSE KNOWS WHAT SKULLGIRLS IS!!! Er… um… I mean, Pokken is… good?
    Anyway, I too believe that the arcade evaluating this product is overlooking the fact that the game isn’t truly meant to be enjoyed as much in arcades as it will be on the Wii U. Besides, maybe the 10 characters are more interesting than they had a bunch of characters (cough, cough, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, cough cough).

  54. Tyler Rock
    Tyler Rock
    January 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Um, no boss? Good! I’m not the only one who thinks that fighting game bosses are unnecessary, irritating, unfair, and boring, right? Anyone tried fighting the projectile spam of Marie, or had to combat the cheapness of Seth’s copy moves? Galactus or Yami ring a bell? It isn’t fun to fight fighting game bosses, it’s frustrating and just not fun. I’m glad there’s no boss, because for some reason, fighting game devs think that the final boss should be un-grabbable, have a ridiculous amount of HP, and shoot lasers of instant death.

  55. Nikki Kirch
    Nikki Kirch
    March 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    There are 16 pokemon right now, writing this in 2016,

    and last i heard people this seemed really popular in jjapan, but….this is a year later now. Anyways now its out everywhere, and everyone loves it, even better than anticipated..