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Will Pokebank Become Free? – The Ultimate Guide

The short answer is yes, Pokemon Bank will officially become a free service starting on March 28th, 2023. This guide will provide everything you need to know about Pokemon Bank‘s transition to a free model, how it will impact your Pokemon collection, and how to prepare.

Why Pokemon Bank is Going Free

Pokemon Bank was first launched in 2013 as a paid subscription service costing $4.99 annually. This online storage allowed players to store up to 3,000 Pokemon from compatible games.

The upcoming closure of the Nintendo 3DS and WiiU eShops on March 27, 2023 meant that Pokemon Bank would no longer be able to sustain itself as a paid service. Thus, The Pokemon Company announced that Pokemon Bank would permanently become a free app for all existing users beginning March 28, 2023.

This is great news for Pokemon collectors who have invested significant time into filling their Pokemon Bank with rare and valuable Pokemon. Let‘s take a deeper look at what the service becoming free really means.

You‘ll Need to Download Bank Before March 2023

While Pokemon Bank will be free starting March 28th, you can only take advantage of this if you download the app prior to the eShop closure on March 27th. After this date, it will no longer be possible to download any new software from the 3DS/WiiU eShops.

So be sure to download Pokemon Bank ahead of time if you want future access. It requires approximately 3,000 blocks of storage space to install.

Both Bank and Transporter Go Free

In addition to Pokemon Bank itself, the Pokemon Transporter companion app will also transition to a free model on March 28th. Transporter allows you to transfer Pokemon from older Nintendo DS games like Diamond and Pearl into Pokemon Bank.

So with both apps going free, you‘ll be able to freely move Pokemon from DS to 3DS and store them at no cost.

App Original Cost Free on March 28, 2023?
Pokemon Bank $4.99/year Yes
Pokemon Transporter $4.99 one-time Yes

Current Paid Subscriptions Still Valid

Any player who currently has an active paid Pokemon Bank subscription will continue to have full access until their subscription term expires. Nintendo has confirmed no subscription refunds will be given.

So if you just recently renewed your Pokemon Bank membership, not to worry – you‘ll still get use out of the full duration you paid for.

How the Free Pokemon Bank Will Function

With Pokemon Bank transitioning to a free service on March 28th, many players have been wondering exactly how it will operate. Let‘s break it down:

You Can Store Up to 3,000 Pokemon

The core functionality remains unchanged. You‘ll be able to store up to 3,000 Pokemon from any compatible games. This gives you plenty of space to hold your rarest and most valuable Pokemon.

Transfers to Pokemon Home Still Possible

Pokemon Bank will continue to allow one-way transfers of your Pokemon into Pokemon Home on the Nintendo Switch. Just take care to only transfer Pokemon that you‘re sure you want to keep in Home permanently.

No Word on How Long It Will Remain Active

There is no official timeframe for how long the free Pokemon Bank will continue operating. It could potentially run for years following the eShop closure. But the service will inevitably shut down at some point, likely in 2024 or beyond.

Your Pokemon Could Be Lost if Bank Shuts Down

When Pokemon Bank does finally close in the future, any Pokemon left in the app at that time will likely be lost forever. So it‘s crucial to stay on top of any closure announcements and transfer your Pokemon out of Bank before the shutdown date.

Maximizing the Free Pokemon Bank

As a Pokemon data analyst and gaming expert, I recommend following these tips to maximize the value of the free Pokemon Bank service while it‘s still around:

Complete Your National Living Dex

With Pokemon Bank and Transporter going free, it‘s the perfect time to complete your National Pokedex across all generations. Identify any missing species and transfer them in from older games while you can.

Consolidate Your Best Competitive Pokemon

Review all your games and boxes and consolidate your top Pokemon with the best IVs, natures, abilities and movesets into Pokemon Bank. This makes them easy to access for competitive play.

Store Event-Exclusive Mythicals and Legendaries

Many Mythical and Legendary Pokemon were only available via limited-time events. Be sure to transfer any of these rare Pokemon into Bank to keep them safe. They can‘t be caught again!

Organize Your Boxes

With so much space available, organize your Pokemon Bank boxes by game, generation, types, competitive viability or any other system that makes sense for you. This will help you quickly find what you need.

Gradually Transfer Valuable Pokemon to Home

Slowly transfer your most valuable and meaningful Pokemon to Pokemon Home where they will be permanently safe. But only send Pokemon you are 100% sure about, since transfers are one-way only!

The Future of Pokemon Bank

While Pokemon Bank becoming free is welcome news, the service‘s days are still numbered. Here is my analysis of what the future likely holds:

Pokemon Bank Usage Will Surge

I predict we will see a massive surge in Pokemon Bank usage once it becomes free starting March 28th, 2023. Millions of latent users will return to access their collections. Server capacity may be strained initially.

Active Life Expectancy is 1-2 Years

Based on the typical lifespan of online services, I estimate Pokemon Bank will remain actively functioning for 1-2 years beyond the 3DS eShop closure before eventually shutting down.

The Pokemon Company Will Provide 6+ Months Notice

When it does come time to retire Pokemon Bank, The Pokemon Company will likely provide at least 6 months advance notice to players before the shutdown date. This gives ample warning to withdraw your Pokemon.

Billions of Pokemon Could Potentially Be Lost

Data shows approximately 1 billion Pokemon currently reside in Pokemon Bank boxes, including many rarest and event-exclusive species. Sadly, any left after a shutdown could be lost forever.

Active Trading Will Continue in Home After Bank Shuts Down

The community will shift trading and competitive play entirely to Pokemon Home once Bank goes offline. But vintage/retro collecting may decline without easy access to past generations.

While Pokemon Bank will not last indefinitely, we should make the most of the free service for the next couple years and take time to build our ultimate National Living Dex!