With Switch 2 approaching, Pokémon’s anniversary is the perfect time for Generation 10

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2026 will mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Pokémon series in Japan.

On February 27, 1996, Pokémon Red version and Green version were released in the country, and then later in the rest of the world as Pokémon Red version and Blue version.

Since then, dozens of Pokémon games have launched, spanning multiple platform generations, and over 1000 creatures. Now, as we approach the 30th anniversary, and Pokémon finds itself coming to the end of its ninth generation, Nintendo’s new hardware feels like the perfect place to debut “Gen 10”.

Nintendo confirmed earlier this month that it will announce its next console “this fiscal year”, meaning the Switch’s successor will be revealed by the end of March 2025 at the latest.

We can infer a few things. At the time of writing, the next Pokémon game to be released will be Pokémon Legends ZA, which, barring an out-of-nowhere remake announcement, will mean that 2024 goes without a mainline release.

With Switch 2 approaching, Pokémon’s anniversary is the perfect time for Generation 10

This is unusual, but not unprecedented. Following the usual cadence of releases, Pokémon’s next generation of mainline titles would be released in 2025, three years on from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

The presence of Pokémon Legends ZA in 2025 may make that seem crowded, but the first game in the spinoff series, Pokémon Legends Arceus, was released in 2022, the same year as Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

However, I think that The Pokémon Company will break this tradition in favor of launching the tenth generation of games on Friday, February 27, 2026.

Not only will it make for the easiest marketing tie-in of all time, during what is already likely to be an absolute deluge of Pokémon celebration, but it also gives the games a chance to debut with a splash, something the series needs.

Most will forget, but when the Pokémon franchise begun, the games were technical powerhouses. Game Freak even drafted in the late Saturo Iwata to help with the development of the first games, such was the ambition of the young Game Freak team.

But it’s safe to say that in the years since Pokemon’s reputation for technical and graphical performance has hardly been sparkling. When Pokémon Scarlet and Violet were released, while some, including myself, praised the game’s open-world approach to Pokémon , its non-linear progression, and creature design, the conversation surrounding the game was focused on something else entirely.

With Switch 2 approaching, Pokémon’s anniversary is the perfect time for Generation 10

It was difficult to open social media without being overwhelmed with gifs and videos of characters falling through the world, morphing in horrifying ways, and frame rates plummeting. It landed what is otherwise an excellent Pokémon game with a harsh, if entirely justified reputation. Kicking off a new generation of brand-new hardware is an opportunity to change the conversation around Game Freak.

The obvious argument against this is the sheer volume of Nintendo Switch consoles that are on the market, and, the overall Pokémon machine’s need to run synchronously across anime, video games, and trading cards.

The three-year cadence isn’t just for Game Freak, it’s so that the massively popular trading card game can have sets out featuring the new Pokémon not too long after release. It’s so that the anime can start incorporating new creatures as a marketing opportunity.

It has been speculated by fans that this rigid structure means that the video games have been, at times, forced to be released regardless of if they are ready or not, so as not to interrupt the march of synergy. In fact, things are so tightly aligned across the various masters that Pokémon has to serve, that in the past, Pokémon that haven’t even debuted in the games yet have been spoiled via trading card artwork.

If a game were to slip six months down the road, we’d likely see a situation where a whole Pokedex worth of Pokémon gets leaked ahead of an official announcement.

With Switch 2 approaching, Pokémon’s anniversary is the perfect time for Generation 10

There is absolutely no doubt we’ll see a new Pokémon game in 2026, and despite the groans from the fan base whenever the subject of Generation 1 is brought up, it’s more than likely we’ll revisit Kanto to celebrate the birthday.

The way to soften that blow is to show fans a Pokémon game using the full might of the Switch 2’s hardware and take that extra year on the cycle to win back some goodwill.

The Pokémon Company is on a rigid cycle, but an anniversary and a new piece of hardware is exactly the excuse, if they needed one, to break it.

The Nintendo Switch is already the most successful platform in history for the Pokémon series, being home to both Generation 8 and 9. While there is the obvious business argument of launching Generation 10 on what is likely to one day become the best-selling console ever, I’d be massively disappointed.

And I don’t think I’d be alone. Pokémon is the biggest franchise in the history of media for a reason, the loyalty that Pokémon fans have shown for 30 years is unparalleled. The fan base is sick to death of getting games that show promise, but also feel rushed, or are full of technical issues. With Generation 10, let’s go back to the era when Pokémon really flexed its muscles.

I’m not asking for all 1000+ Pokémon in one region, I just want a region that I don’t fall through the floor of.

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