There will be a Pokémon app released for iPhone and Android phones this summer. Titled Pokemon Say Tap? BW, it's not a full-fledged Pokémon video game, rather a promotional spin-off, a card-based rhythm game focused around Pokémon Black and White.
After the news broke, speculation ran wild Nintendo was dipping its toes into the water outside its own platforms. Its stock even went up.
Nintendo of Japan strongly denied such chatter, citing that it doesn't outright own The Pokemon Company or the Pokemon franchise. Thus, The Pokemon Company was within its right to experiment like this.
I asked Nintendo of America whether the app would appear in North America, and while the company didn't address its English prospects, they provided a stern rebuttal of any speculation of this signaling a potential future for Nintendo franchises in a post-handheld world.
"On July 1, the Pokémon Company announced that it was launching a free Android and iOS application in Japan called "Pokémon IeTap? BW" (phonetic)," said the company in a statement. "The Pokémon Company routinely launches applications for cell phones and PCs as a way to promote its non-video game products, such as a music CD and Pokémon TCG [Trading Card Game] cards in this instance. Since they are intended purely as promotional tools, not as unique video games, Nintendo is not involved in any way."
The Pokemon Company is the marketing branch of the Pokemon brand. Game Freak actually develops the Pokemon video games. Nintendo has a joint stake in The Pokemon Company.
It seems pretty clear Pokemon Say Tap? BW is intended as a promotional one-off, and as Nintendo's reiterating here, it's specifically designed to celebrate the Pokemon Trading Card game.
"The relationship between the two companies is unaffected," the company continued. "All Pokémon video game content will continue to appear exclusively on Nintendo platforms. As stated previously, Nintendo has no intention or plans of publishing its IP on non-Nintendo platforms. This is an example of a promotion by a key Nintendo partner and has no bearing on Nintendo's overall strategy."
That's about as strong of a denial as they come--as if it's any surprise. 3DS isn't selling at the same pace as the wildly successful DS, but Nintendo is a company that would have to be on wounded knee before releasing its games on a platform it didn't control. That's not to say it won't ever happen, but Nintendo's hardly in the gutter at the moment, and it'll be a long time before the company changes strategy. A man can dream, though.
All that said, I sure as hell would love an augmented reality version of Pokémon Snap on iPhone or 3DS.