Pikachu Van Gogh Card controversy: Pokemon obsession strikes again

The Pokemon franchise is officially one of the most widely recognized and profitable intellectual properties in the world. However, this fame is also its biggest drawback. A recent example of this is the sudden discontinuation of the special Van Gogh Museum collaboration Pokemon card, ‘Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat’.

Pokemon have been around for decades. Spawning a massive fanbase spread across generations. Thus, Pokemon merchandise has also birthed an expansive collector market. It has buyers who are willing to pay millions of dollars for a single piece of a rare item. But how long till adoration becomes an obsession? And how does it affect the franchise?

The Pikachu Van Gogh Card controversy

The Pikachu Van Gogh card controversy refers to the recent decision of the Van Gogh Museum to stop issuing the ‘Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat’ promotional card due to safety concerns. The card was part of a collaboration between the museum and The Pokémon Company International to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Van Gogh Museum’s exhibit surrounding the eponymous artist.

Pikachu Van Gogh Card

Visitors to the museum caused chaos trying to get their hands on the limited Pokemon trading card, which led to the museum’s decision to no longer make the special Pikachu x Van Gogh Museum promotional card available in the museum. The card will be made available in the Netherlands through other retailers.

However, many suggest that the chaos was not solely caused by fans but was also exacerbated by a significant influx of scalpers. These individuals were trying to get their hands on the cards in order to sell them at inflated prices. Video footage from the opening day depicts the museum’s gift shop overrun by alleged scalpers and crowds jostling to obtain the card.

The Pokemon Company has apologized for scalpers and fans rushing the collaboration between the Pokémon Center and Van Gogh Museum. Fortunately, the scalpers who are planning to sell the cards at inflated prices, the Pokemon Company has announced their efforts to mass-produce the card for availability in Pokemon centers worldwide.

Is Pokemon’s fame ruining the franchise?

This is not the first time Pokemon has witnessed such an intense public reaction. Among them, the most well-known incident was the Pokemon Go controversy back in 2016–17. When Nintendo released the innovative augmented reality Pokemon game, the whole world went crazy over it.

People of all ages, from children to adults, were observed on the streets. Walking with eyes fixed on their phones, trying to catch Pokemon on the streets. This led to many security and safety-related issues. In the end, developers at Niantic, Inc. temporarily removed the game from the store and made many changes to the mechanics.

The public obsession with Pokemon is not only limited to the games. As seen in the case of the ‘Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat’ card, the obsession with the franchise can manifest in many ways. Such as spending excessive amounts of money on merchandise or card collection addiction.

In the end, while this addictive nature of the IP can be damaging in some instances, we need to remember that this quality is what made the franchise such a global phenomenon today. While Nintendo does its best to regulate the high demand as proficiently as possible, Consumers also need to maintain a healthy balance and seek help if the Pokemon franchise is having any negative effects on their lives.

Note: We have more such stories in our dedicated gaming section, so be sure to follow them as well.

Feature image source: Van Gogh Museum

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