Pokémon Home cloud storage service launches in February

For fans of the Pokémon series, who have managed to catch a lot of pocket monsters over the years, Nintendo is changing its cloud storage option.

The Pokémon Company introduced the Pokémon Bank years ago, allowing players to store their digital monsters in the cloud and, with a sister app, transfer the creatures to newer games (as long as the old Pokémon are supported in the new titles). But now the company is moving away from that system and transitioning to what it calls “Pokémon Home”.

This is still a cloud storage system and it still relies mostly on a monthly or yearly fee to work, but it’s designed for newer systems and games. The Pokémon Company made the announcement today that Pokémon Home will launch in February, and that it will indeed have a free tier for customers to choose from. However, the real features start with the premium subscription, which starts at $3 per month.

It will have a mobile app for iOS and Android, as well as a home on the Nintendo Switch.

Many of the same features from the Pokémon Bank are here, meaning you’ll be able to store your pocket monsters in the cloud for safekeeping, and you’ll be able to transfer them to newer games — like the newly released Pokémon Sword and Shield for the Nintendo Switch — as long as the monsters are supported in the newer games.

The company says that support for the augmented reality mobile game, Pokémon Go, is in the works. Be aware that if you are transferring a Pokémon out of the Pokémon Bank and into Pokemon Home, you won’t be able to transfer that monster back to the bank.

The Pokémon Company is also working on a Pokemon Home app for the Nintendo Switch, but that will only support newer Pokémon games for that console, including the aforementioned Sword and Shield, as well as Pokémon: Let’s go, Eevee! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!.

Here’s how pricing works. The first month will be free to everyone who uses the service. After that, there is a free option that supports storing up to 30 Pokémon at a time. The free version does not support transferring Pokémon from the Pokémon Bank, either. The premium plan is where things actually get interesting, and that starts at $3 per month. Or customers can choose to fork over $4.99 for three months, or $15.99 for a year’s worth of service.

Here are the differences between the Basic and Premium offerings:

And here are the differences between the Nintendo Switch version of Pokémon Home and the mobile version (available for iOS and Android):

If you place a Pokémon into the Wonder Box, that pocket monster can be traded worldwide. There is also the “Global Trade System”, which allows players to pick out a specific Pokémon they want to trade and/or receive. Meanwhile, if you want a more direct trading experience there is the “Room Trade” option, which will allow a player to create a room, invite other players into it, and then come to trading terms. The trading rooms support up to 20 people at a time. There is also a “Friend Trade” option, which will let Pokémon Home users quickly trade with people nearby that they’ve identified as a friend.

While the Pokémon Company says the new Pokémon Home service launches in February, we don’t have a specific date to circle on the calendar just yet. But hopefully that changes soon.

What do you think of the new system?