The Pokemon TCG has maintained a high level of popularity since its debut, offering fans of the franchise the ability to collect physical representations of their favorite Pokemon, whether that's to compete with their friends or just to hang onto the cards. However, scalping has been an issue for the game, and The Pokemon Company is finally taking steps to address the problem.
According to an announcement on the Pokemon support website, The Pokemon Company is increasing the availability of card packs by producing reprints as fast as it can. The Pokemon Company didn't point to scalpers as the main culprit directly in its statement, instead pinning the issue on high demand and global supply constraints, but browsing Pokemon TCG listings on a website like eBay will reveal resellers listings with inflated prices for popular packs.
It isn't uncommon for rare Pokemon cards to fetch high prices at auctions. Even recently, collectors have been making high profile trades for hundreds of thousands of dollars. For instance, a Blastoise card sold for $360,000 recently, and many other cards have fetched similar prices. The scalping problem is another issue entirely, as it happens at a much larger scale with unwilling participants; people who are forced to go through scalpers because there's no other way to get the cards.
Reprinting is also a more complicated issue than it seems, particularly for serious collectors. While Pokemon cards typically gain value as time goes on, much like any other collector's item out there, increasing the number of cards available dilutes the market, which will almost certainly mean that rare cards accrue less value long-term. It's an unfortunate scenario, and one that's entirely being driven by a handful of scalpers online.
Not even the McDonald's Pokemon promotion has been safe from scalpers. Reports have come in that the cards included in Happy Meals as part of a limited-time promotion have also been subject to abuse from scalpers. And the Pokemon franchise isn't alone, either. Scalpers have been gobbling up and reselling PS5 and Xbox Series X stock since the consoles launched, making it even more difficult to get already-elusive products.
The scalping issue has gotten so bad that UK politicians are looking into banning scalping, though the exact means that would be used to implement such a ban isn't clear. It is clear, however, that scalping is only getting worse, infuriating those that are just trying to obtain commoditized products honestly.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) has been experiencing a rather sudden resurgence in popularity over the course of the last year or so. Between the existing popularity of the beloved franchise, and the arrival of new nostalgia-inducing expansions, Pokemon cards have quickly become some of the toughest-to-find items.
While players can normally purchase Pokemon cards in various forms of bundles, the basic breakdown is as follows: booster packs, starter/theme decks, and collector's sets. Generally speaking, each "expansion" of the Pokemon TCG will offer a new set of cards to collect, which can be obtained through some combination of the aforementioned means. "Shining Fates" will be the next expansion to arrive to the English-speaking Pokemon TCG world, releasing on February 19th, 2021.
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