The Pokémon trading card game is finally getting a proper online platform

Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is being replaced with its new and improved version, Pokémon Trading Card Game Live.

Announced on Twitter and via press release, The Pokémon Company has decided that it’s time for a change. Their first attempt at an online platform for the popular trading card game, originally released back in 2012 and known as Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, is having its download access removed from Pokemon.com, the Google Play store, and Apple’s App Store.

Of course that doesn’t mean the company is without a backup – and they’re not erasing their current players’ data either. TCG Online players are free to transfer both their account and game data to the new TCG Live version once it’s fully released.

Pokemon TCG user interface
Image: Pokemon TCG Live / The Pokemon Company

This time around, the company recognises that part of what makes online card games so popular is the ability to store endless card collections in something as small as your phone. Unlike its last version, TCG Live lets players connect with others globally through iOS, Android, PC, and Mac devices.

Not to mention that the range of languages available (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese) means we’ll have plenty of people to pit our Poké-friends against. Especially since it’s free.

Adding your digital cards to the app will be as easy as scanning unique QR codes found in physical card packs. You’ll be able to easily browse through your collection and slap together both old and new decks. Plus, customisable avatars and accessories will be available too.

But not every card is going to be playable right off the bat. The Sword & Shield and Sun & Moon – Lost Thunder through to Sun & Moon – Cosmic Eclipse series will be both transferable and playable. Cards from before 2018’s Lost Thunder set are only transferable at launch, but the press release implies this will change in future updates.

Despite all of this, there’s one big, looming disappointment you can’t really ignore: the trading. It’s not supported in Pokemon TCG Live, which leaves players with only two options whenever they want to obtain new cards.

Both include paying up with either in-game currency, or dipping down to the store and uploading your booster back directly. Hopefully trading is a feature they plan on adding somewhere down the line, otherwise you might as well rename the game to Pokemon Card Game Live.