As the release date of Pokemon X and Y approaches, this will be the first game in the official series with a (for the most part) simultaneous international release, and those involved hope that by doing so, they'll be able to level the playing field.
"Until now, the pattern has been to release games overseas a few months after the games have come out in Japan." Pokemon Co. head honcho Tsunekazu Ishihara said in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. While Pokemon is largely a Japanese creation, there is no doubt a huge contributor to its popularity is the international playing audience. The "Japan first" release model has been the norm, but Ishihara feels that it leaves overseas players with an unfair feeling of "being left behind."
The incorporation of network compatibility in the first DS games, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, allowed for players to trade and battle over the internet, letting players connect and interact over long distances. Unfortunately, the release date divide with previous games often led to Japanese players having an upper hand since they had more time to play and study the battle systems as well as potentially reveal spoiler-sensitive portions of the games to areas where they hadn't been released yet.
"By releasing [Pokemon X and Y] simultaneously and allowing players around the world to enjoy the game on an equal stage, even I can't fully anticipate the outcome, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results." Ishihara remarked. "I believe that Pokemon has always been 'a tool to connect people,' so it's interesting to see how playing the game evolves in areas — including the release timing — and how word spreads through the media comparatively."
Asked what his goals were in sales numbers, Ishihara replied, "One of our initial objectives is Diamond and Pearl numbers." Pokemon Diamond and Pearl have collectively sold over 5 million copies in Japan. Considering that the Nintendo DS had 10 million units in circulation at the time and the 3DS currently has over 12 million units sold, it shouldn't be too hard of a goal to breach.
Pokemon X and Y are set for release on October 12 and will be available in seven languages.