Countermeasures may or may not keep Eevee Heroes out of the hands of villainous resellers.

Usually, Pokémon Center branches are a great choice for any and all Poké-purchases, whether you want to pick up a towel with a picture of Pikachu sporting a cherry blossom afro or a copy of one of the Pokémon video games. However, the chain has put out a statement telling fans not to bother coming in to look for four new items in the franchise’s card game’s Pokémon Card Game Sword line: Booster Expansion Pack Eevee Heroes Box, Booster Expansion Pack Eevee Heroes Eevee’s Set, VMAX Special Set Eevee Heroes, and High Class Deck Double Box Gengar VMAX and Inteleon VMAX.

▼ VMAX Special Set Eevee Heroes

Instead, the chain will only selling them through a pre-purchase lottery system, i.e you have to apply in advance through the Pokémon Center Online store before May 18, and if you’re randomly chosen you’re then allowed to pre-purchase the item. The affected items were initially offered as standard online pre-sales, with in-store sales to follow, on May 7, but due to demand overwhelming the  website, the chain has decided to switch over to the lottery system, and branches will not be stocking any of the items for regular in-store purchases.

Though the statement itself makes no mention of scalpers, fans think speculative opportunists are the ones to blame, with Twitter comments about the lottery system including;

“This is the scalpers’ fault.”
“They’ve gotta be doing this to try to stop re-sellers.”
“If they don’t do this, the scalpers will swoop in and buy out the store’s entire stock.”

With even lottery winners limited to one unit of each item, the policy does seem designed to make it harder for buyers to make much profit by flipping their purchases. However, some commenters pointed out what they see are potential flaws with the solution, starting with:

“Did they stop and think that there are people who want to buy them that don’t have credit cards?”
“So kids can’t buy them.”
“I wanted to buy them, but I don’t have a credit card, so I guess that’s that.”

However, it actually is possible for lottery winners to pay cash to pre-purchase the items using the ticketing kiosk in any 7-Eleven, Lawson, or Family Mart convenience store. Also, the Pokémon Center stores tend to be in downtown urban areas, so it’s unlikely neighborhood kids were going to be stopping by without their parents anyway, and while the VMAX Special Set Eevee Heroes is a fairly affordable 1,870 yen (US$18), the Booster Expansion Pack Eevee Heroes Eevee’s Set costs 11,330, so it’s not like little tykes were going to be paying for it with their pocket change.

▼ Eevee’s Set

The more legitimate concern, also voiced by some commenters, is whether or not this will actually prevent scalping. Limiting quantities to one unit per item for each lottery winner puts a fairly low cap on how much reselling any individual scalper can do, but that scalper is still as statistically likely to end up winning the lottery as anyone who just wants to buy the cards for their personal use.

One commenter suggested an unlimited print-to-order system, where anyone who wants to buy the cards can do so in advance, and the manufacturer only starts printing them after the orders are received. That would, naturally, require extra time, but even in the case of the lottery system, winner are being notified on May 26, but won’t receive their cards in the mail for another two to six weeks. That, though, raises the question of whether a potentially unlimited supply of cards would diminish the overall demand for them by making them less scarce/special, or perhaps negatively affect the game’s balance in competitive play if certain cards are too common in the community.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day there’s not a single, simple solution to the issue of scalping in fandom-fueled franchises. Thankfully, though, this is just one of a number of ways the Pokémon Center chain is trying to outsmart resellers.

Related: Pokémon Center Online
Source: Pokémon Center Online via Jin, Twitter/@Pokemon_cojp
Top image ©SoraNews24

Insert images: Pokémon Card Game official website (1, 2)
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