As gamers flock to Pokémon after the latest launch, a look at their views on animal rights
January 6th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

As gamers flock to Pokémon after the latest launch, a look at their views on animal rights

The end of 2023 has been a busy period for the Pokémon company, with the release of new mainline video game titles (namely Pokémon Scarlet and Violet) and the anime drawing curtains on the 25-year journey of Ash Ketchum. We take this opportunity to look at key metrics of the Pokémon video game franchise.

We also explore the attitudes of those who play games from the franchise towards animal rights. This is a topic that has been occasionally broached by some animal rights organisations who have suggested that Pokémon could be seen as promoting animal cruelty.

Since the latest game’s launch on November 18, Pokémon’s Buzz score has been choppy, declining from 6.7 to 3.8 at one stage but recovering to 7.8 as of December 23. A Buzz score is the difference between the percentage of respondents hearing positive news and the percentage hearing negative news about a franchise in the previous two weeks.

Consideration scores, which reflects the share of people that would consider playing a title, has remained mostly steady, rising modestly from 12.5 on launch day to 14.7 on 23 December.

But, Current Customer scores, which measure the share of people who have played a title in the last 30 days have risen more decisively, from 3.5 on 18 November to 9.3 on 23 December.

This goes to show the strength of the Pokémon franchise, which is able to register sizeable sales volumes in spite of mixed results in Buzz scores, which serves as an indicator of media and influencer commentary on a title.

So, who are these Pokémon gamers? YouGov Profiles allows us to dive into key behavioural patterns and attitudes of an audience based on vast set of data points that it tracks on a continuous basis.

In this article, we focus on the attitude of Pokémon players towards animal rights.

Our data shows that Britons who play Pokémon video games are more likely than the overall population to be supportive of animal rights. They are 19 percentage points likelier than the overall population to agree that the “rights of humans and animals should be equal” (71% vs 52%). They are also markedly likelier to leave food out for animals (49% vs 44%).

Well over a third of them also think that domesticating animals is wrong (36%) compared to just a quarter of the overall population (24%). They are also about as likely as all Britons to feel that breeding animals for money is cruel.

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Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on major video game franchises in the UK. The Current Customer score of video games is based on the question “Have you played a version of any of the following video games in the past 30 days?” and delivered as a percentage. Scores are based on an average daily sample size of 212 UK consumers who play video games on a mobile or handheld device for at least one hour each week between September 24 to December 23. Learn more about BrandIndex.

Image credit: Thimo Pedersen on Unsplash