Regarding the STS Decision
To whom it may concern:
Recent events have transpired where you have intentionally severed the Pokemon Player base of anyone older than 15 from competition in the STS. Although I can understand that you may be looking for ways to focus more on the kids, I think this is a rash move that may, if it has not already, cause you more difficulty than what it will solve. I hope that this decision was not made solely upon single-case problems or your attempts to fix the STS by eliminating your largest and most competitive age bracket.
Although I was unable to attend the East Coast Finals last year, I did make it to the Chicago STS where I earned my invitation. This event was very well run, and I found that the older players, like myself, were able to be a role model to the many younger kids. I spend a great deal of my time and resources sharing this game with those of the 15 and under category, whether it be through Pokemon League, through helping with decks, teaching kids how to play, showing them cute strategies they can use, or general tactics that even the youngest of ages can follow. When I was in Chicago, I had several opportunities to reach out to this younger crowd in your battle area that I would not have had in my home town because I have already done so for so many here. Now, you are wanting to make a decision that eliminates the 15+ category from attending and participating in the STS tours.
Let me share with you several reasons that this is a very poor decision and why you should reconsider this action. Many of these you may not have taken into consideration when first presented with problems you were facing, and I hope that when you take these additional points into consideration you will reverse your original choice.
1> Older Players provide a large portion of the revenue that Pokemon provides you.
Kids spend money on Pokemon, true, but most of the time it is the parents that purchase these cards for them. It is also your most competitive and serious players that purchase the most cards. Eliminating the 15+ age group will remove your most competitive and serious players. The more you ban and age-discriminate against this player base, the quicker you will see them leave for a game that will treat them fairly. Remember the rule, one satisfied customer will buy again and again; but one dissatisfied customer will cause an average of six to stop buying a product.
2> Older Players can make the game more fun for the younger kids.
I have personally experienced this on so many levels. In Pokemon League, the kids can't wait to challenge one of the "adults". They think it is more fun to challenge someone who is tough and when they beat them they get so excited. To them, playing tougher competition helps them hone their skills and become even better players. Kids also look up to adults, especially ones that share in their excitement over a product. Adults, like myself and many here at PoJo, put our lives into making Pokemon an enjoyable game for kids. We strive to smile with them and share in their excitement. But how can we continue to be excited about something when you want to remove our connection?
3> Parent and Child bonding.
This is probably the most disappointing aspect to your decision in my eyes. I know of many parents who play the game of Pokemon in an effort to be a part of their child's life. They play matches with one another, go to tournaments together, and you can see that the child really bonds with the parent because they share Pokemon in common. But with this decision, you are choosing to say that the child may play, but the parent may not. You will find that your attendance to your STS tournaments severely dropping with this decision. With a parent being turned into nothing more than a bystander, rather than a participator, they will be reluctant to even travel the distance to an STS just so a kid can play. Parents are more likely to travel distances if they know that they will be able to participate in an event with their children, rather than just watch them. Parents want this time to share with their kids and to be a part of it.
Although you have made this decision, I think it in your best interest to reevaluate your position. If you must focus more on kids, then provide activities or forums better suited for that age category. There are many ways to focus on certain ages without having to ban others. When faced with the choice of whether to eliminate age categories, I think you need to understand that any kind of elimination is a poor choice. This game was designed for Pokemon fans of all ages. I ask you to keep it that way.
-=> Bret "KittyFox" Larwick
-=> PoJo.com staff, Pokemon League Gym Leader, DCI Tournament Judge