Tencent makes ‘free-to-start’ 5vs5 moba Pokémon Unite for Switch and smartphones

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The Pokémon Company has announced Pokémon Unite, a game in the multiplayer online battle arena genre, which is being made by TIMI Studio of Chinese company Tencent. The 5vs5 game is free to download, but comes with in-app purchases.

Not much information about the game is known yet, but some images are shown in a first announcement trailer. In Pokémon Unite, teams of five players compete in lanes arenas, just like in mobas like League of Legends and DOTA 2. The characters players fight with are Pokémon.

Pokémon Unite is in development for the Nintendo Switch, and for Android and iOS. The trailer states that the game is “free-to-start” and that it has in-game purchases. The term free-to-start sounds more restrictive than the commonly used free-to-play. It could indicate that in-app purchases play an important role in playing the game. Substantive details about this are not yet known.

The game is being designed by TIMI Studio, a game studio of Chinese internet giant Tencent, which also has Call of Duty Mobile to its name. Almost a year ago it was already announced that The Pokémon Company was collaborating with the Chinese company; now it is clear which game it is.

The trailer has been received with many dislikes on YouTube. At the time of writing, the video has 20,000 thumbs down versus 6,000 thumbs up. In the comments, many users expressed themselves negatively about the announcement. The Pokémon Company announced New Pokémon Snap last week and then announced a new one. Many players were probably hoping for a different kind of game than the now presented Pokémon Unite.

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