Below is an excerpt from our history of Pokémon features
Pokémon is owned by a number of companies, resulting in a complicated relationship between the valuable brand and its parents. When asked if he could explain the relationship between Game Freak, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company, during a visit to Game Freak in 2017, co-founder Junichi Masuda turned to a white board behind him to outline his explanation.
After drawing circles for Game Freak, Nintendo and former producer Creatures, Masuda explained. “Game addict? We develop all major Pokémon games. Originally, Creatures were the producers of the game. Nintendo was the seller of the games – the distributor. So that was the original structure of Pokémon games. In terms of rights to the games, it is these three companies.”
Today, Creatures mainly handles the Pokémon card game, and The Pokémon Company was formed in 1998 – just prior to the release of Pokémon Gold and Silver – to manage the brand and all of its merchandise. In terms of real ownership, Masuda says it’s a third each for Game Freak, Creatures, and Nintendo. “It’s a bit more complicated in certain scenarios, like the producing role that Creatures originally had went to The Pokémon Company and a percentage of the rights went with it, so there are certain complications, and it depends on the project, but there is no situation where Nintendo and The Pokémon Company will put pressure on Game Freak or anything like that,” says Masuda.
Masuda specifically notes Game Freak’s relationship with Nintendo as friendship, which is why Game Freak only makes Pokémon games for Nintendo platforms, even when its other projects are released with other publishers for other platforms. “Everyone really knows Nintendo; There’s a familiarity with the brand, and they have this really strong brand and Pokemon to be associated with, and it’s very important to be associated with that brand,” says Masuda.
When asked if Pokémon would ever appear on any other platform, Masuda says it’s highly unlikely. “At least with Pokémon, we think it’s really important to be with Nintendo, especially with the Pokémon titles, so I don’t think that would ever happen.”
https://www.gameinformer.com/2023/01/24/who-owns-pokemon Who Owns Pokemon? – Game informant