Pokemon CEO: We didn't think Pikachu was all that special

He also has a special place in his heart for Exeggutor.


Pokemon is a worldwide phenomenon, one that has caught the CEO of the company that created it a bit off guard. Not only have the little pocket monsters risen to massive fame, the face of the franchise wasn't originally thought to be anything out of the ordinary.

“None of us really thought Pikachu was particularly special,” Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive of The Pokemon Company told The Wall Street Journal, about the little creature's appearance in the first vdeo game. Now, spurred by a hit TV show, the yellow mouse with red dots on his cheeks and an electric personality is everywhere.

Pokemon Go has brought new attention to the franchise, expanding its reach to people who might have not been familiar with the previous games, TV shows or history. Ishihara said that the key to success for the game, developed by Niantic Labs, was to keep it simple and easily accessible, something perfect for a mobile app.

However, bringing games from the older handhelds or the 3DS, such as the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon, probably would not work as well, he said. "The chance of finding success in taking a product made for one platform and bringing it over to another is quite low.”

When the franchise started back in 1996, there were only 151 monsters. But that roster has expanded to more than 700. Does Ishihara have a favorite? He does, and it is even getting a new Alola form in the upcoming games.

“My dream is finally a reality,” he said. “I’m glad to see what Exeggutor has become.”

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 21, 2016 9:56 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Pokemon CEO: We didn't think Pikachu was all that special

    • reply
      September 21, 2016 10:01 AM

      Are people still playing this? Play the monthlong phenomenon is over.

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        September 21, 2016 10:04 AM

        this isnt specific to Pokemon Go. It's regarding Pokemon, and more specifically Pikachu, in general.

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          September 21, 2016 10:05 AM

          Yes, but right in the meat of the article it mentions Pokémon go.

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        September 21, 2016 10:06 AM

        I still play when I'm walking around, I don't go out of my way to play

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        September 21, 2016 10:28 AM

        Pokemon franchise is worth billions and has been popular for decades, and you are surprised people are still playing?

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          September 21, 2016 10:29 AM

          Im not seeing people playing it anymore, so i asked if people are

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        September 21, 2016 10:55 AM

        Considering the Pokémon Go Plus accessory that just released instantly sold out, yes. More than enough are.

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        September 21, 2016 4:02 PM

        I think you're underestimating the number of people who played this and how long a game like this can take to taper off.

        The peak of the phenomena for this particular game is over, yeah, but the long tail is going to be around for a while.

        Plus this is a 20 year old franchise with new actual games coming out later this year so yeah, it's got some legs.

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        September 21, 2016 4:29 PM


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          September 21, 2016 4:41 PM

          I live near LACMA and everywhere its people hunting Pokemans. I hear its still crazy at the Santa Monica pier

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          September 21, 2016 5:42 PM

          Santa Monica Pier is insane. People going nuts. I'm going back there tonight just for that. Red Bank Battlefield isn't far from me either and supposedly best place in NJ.

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      September 21, 2016 10:06 AM

      this article is confusing and all over the place to me.
      it makes it sound like just now pikachu is being beloved.

      then it jumps to pokemon go with no transition, then to pokemon sun/moon, then to a comment on his favorite pokemon.

      it's all out of wack.

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      September 21, 2016 11:02 AM

      Yeah if you look at the original games (red, blue, and green) it should have been charmander, squirtle, and bulbasaur. The anime is solely responsible for Pikachu popularity that they went and made yellow

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        September 21, 2016 8:10 PM

        Yeah he got a TV show, that's cheating

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