NFTs. Blockchain. The metaverse. It happened to other gaming companies, and it can happen to a Nintendo property, too—in fact, it just might. Last week, The Pokémon Company posted a job on LinkedIn that requires experience with NFT, blockchain, and the metaverse. When it comes to Pokémon, I wanted to catch ‘em all. But not like this.
The listing spends a lot of words describing the vague duties of a “corporate development principal” who’s paid six figures to have an advanced business degree. But if you read down to the candidate requirements, you’ll see what all of this is really about: NFTs. The corporate development principal must possess “deep knowledge and understanding of Web 3, including blockchain technologies and NFT, and/or metaverse.” The ideal candidate is “deeply connected to a network of investors and entrepreneurs in the technology sectors above (Web3 and metaverse).”
Bleh. I wouldn’t be worried about this if this was a small gig in some experimental tech department that will fold within a year. But this role has the direct ear of the executive leadership team—and works just two levels below the president. TPC isn’t just looking to hire a clown. It’s hiring a clown teacher to turn the company into a circus. Kotaku reached out to TPC to ask about whether or not this job is reflective of the company’s future priorities, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Maybe we should have foreseen this all along. Neopets, a pet collection franchise, had experimented with crypto collectibles last year. Axie Infinity was a Pokémon clone where finance bros exploited low-paid workers to farm resources. Logan Paul’s fans have lost thousands of dollars on CryptoZoo, a game where players hatch NFT eggs and trade exotic digital animals. Even within the Pokémon community itself, players have been buying and selling shiny Pokémon over eBay for years. Other people saw the NFT potential of collectible Pokémon before TPC did. So maybe it was inevitable that its executives might get the idea to create their own. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a shit idea. Associating the child-friendly IP with an ecosystem rife with fraud and scams would cause significant damage to Pokémon’s public image. Did I mention that the NFT community that TPC is trying to court is filled with scammers and hackers?
I don’t want to purchase the image of an ugly Charizard to play a Pokémon game, and neither do most Pokémon fans. Hopefully TPC realizes that before they lose too much money on metaverse bullshit.