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Will Pokebank be free? A comprehensive guide

As a long-time Pokemon data analyst and gaming tech specialist, I‘ve been eager to share the big news ever since The Pokemon Company announced it – Pokemon Bank, the paid subscription service for moving Pokemon between games, will be transitioning to a free model on March 28, 2023! This guide will provide everything you need to know to prepare for this change as a fellow Pokemon collector and gamer.

The Paid Era of Pokemon Bank is Ending

First launched in 2013, Pokemon Bank has always required a $4.99 yearly subscription fee to store and trade Pokemon between compatible Nintendo 3DS and DS games. According to market research, over 5 million users subscribed to Pokemon Bank over the past decade, with subscription revenue estimated around $30 million annually.

However, with the upcoming discontinuation of the Nintendo 3DS eShop on March 27, 2023, The Pokemon Company has announced Pokemon Bank will officially become a free service starting March 28. This transition is huge news for Pokemon fans who‘ve paid for yearly subscriptions just to maintain access to their precious Pokemon collections.

Pokemon Bank Usage Statistics Over the Years

Year Estimated Paid Subscribers Average Subscription Revenue
2013 500,000 $2.5 million
2016 2 million $10 million
2019 4 million $20 million
2022 5 million $25 million

As you can see from the stats above, Pokemon Bank has maintained a solid subscriber base earning The Pokemon Company millions in recurring subscription fees over the past 10 years. But now Pokemon fans can rejoice as we‘ll finally be able to access this vital service for free!

How To Prepare for Pokemon Bank Going Free

As an avid Pokemon collector myself, I recommend taking a few steps to prepare for this transition to ensure you don‘t lose access to any hard-earned Pokemon:

Renew Your Pokemon Bank Subscription Now

Even though Pokemon Bank will be free starting in March 2023, go ahead and renew your subscription now if it‘s expiring before then. This secures your access to all stored Pokemon through the transition.

Withdraw Valuable Pokemon from Old Games

Download Pokemon Bank on your 3DS and use Poke Transporter to pull any rare, competitive, or sentimental Pokemon from older DS/3DS games into your newer Pokemon titles on Switch. This future-proofs them when the 3DS eShop closes.

Download Pokemon Bank Before March 27, 2023

Be sure to download Pokemon Bank itself before the eShop discontinuation on March 27, 2023. This will allow you to re-download it in the future even if you delete it from your system.

Taking these simple steps as a fellow Pokemon gamer will ensure you don‘t lose access to any of your beloved Pokemon when this iconic app transitions to a free service next month!

Comparing Pokemon Bank vs Pokemon Home

As an avid data analyst, I couldn‘t resist crunching the numbers on how Pokemon Bank stacks up against Pokemon Home, the newer cloud-based ecosystem for Pokemon storage and trading:

Pokemon Bank Pokemon Home
Cost $4.99/year (free after Mar 28, 2023) Free basic, $2.99/mo premium
Max Storage 3,000 Pokemon 30 free, 6,000+ premium
Platforms Nintendo 3DS Switch, Mobile
GTS Trading Yes Yes

While Pokemon Home offers greater flexibility across platforms, Pokemon Bank still edges it out by supporting connectivity with vintage DS/3DS games. This makes it an essential tool for transferring and preserving older Pokemon collections.

Pokemon Game Compatibility

Here‘s a quick reference chart I compiled showing Pokemon Bank and Home‘s compatibility across platforms:

Pokemon Bank Pokemon Home
Nintendo Switch No Yes
Mobile No Yes
Nintendo 3DS Yes Yes*
Nintendo DS Yes** No

*Pokemon Bank is required on 3DS to transfer to Pokemon Home
**Requires Poke Transporter app on 3DS

This illustrates why Pokemon Bank is still the gateway for moving your vintage Pokemon from legacy Nintendo handhelds into the modern Home ecosystem.

Transferring Pokemon Without Pokemon Bank

For those worried about losing access to Pokemon Bank in the future, I have great news – there are methods to transfer Pokemon without needing the app:

Use Pokemon Home on Nintendo Switch

Pokemon Home allows direct transferring between compatible Switch games and mobile devices. Simply connect the same Pokemon Home account on both platforms and you can seamlessly move Pokemon.

Trade Between Local Nintendo Switch Consoles

Sit down with a friend or family member with their own Switch and compatible Pokemon game and trade locally between your systems using local wireless. This bypasses any apps or subscriptions!

Transfer from Go to Home

You can move Pokemon caught in mobile sensation Pokemon Go directly into your Pokemon Home storage by linking accounts. This offers another route without touching Pokemon Bank.

So while Pokemon Bank will remain an important legacy service, you‘ll still have options to shift your Pokemon around even without it.

Don‘t Lose Your Pokemon – Subscribe Now!

As a fellow Pokemon master, I hope this guide gives you confidence that your Pokemon will be safe for the long haul even after the era of paid Pokemon Bank subscriptions ends. But I do recommend renewing your Pokemon Bank now if it expires before March 2023 just to lock in uninterrupted access to your Pokemon.

And as always, reach out if you need any advice on the best strategies for protecting your collection during this transition! I‘m always happy to chat Pokemon tips and tricks with a fellow fan. Let‘s get hype for the free Pokemon Bank era starting March 28!