Throughout the main series games in the Pokémon franchise, shiny versions of pocket monsters have been highly desired—so much so that people are willing to go to great lengths to obtain them. As such, the shiny market was born.
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How People Are Buying Pokémon With Real Money
Put simply, you need to trade Pokémon with a seller from one of the many websites that offer shiny Pokémon. You would do so in the same way that you would trade with a friend online.
In Pokémon Legends: Arceus, you need to talk to Simona in Jubilife village to access online trading. If you have a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, you can trade with players from around the world. However, before you can begin exchanging pocket monsters, you’ll need to create a Link Code and share it with the person you want to trade with.
When buying Pokémon from a website that offers shiny, alpha, or shiny alpha ‘mons, you’ll need to do all of the above through a payment system (not unlike how you would buy games on Steam).
There are plenty of sub-menus and windows you can navigate through to find what you want. For most sites, you just need to find your desired shiny, add it to your cart (or equivalent site feature), and enter your Link Code. Following that, you’ll need to select which payment service you want and then actually pay some money.
Is This Legal and Safe?
There is nothing illegal or technically wrong with selling special Pokémon like this. The selling of digital goods has been around for a long time. This has resulted in such processes becoming more accessible and less dangerous. However, there is always a risk when shopping online.
Thanks to the ever-convenient online payment services that proliferate the internet, you can buy pretty much any Pokémon you want. This isn’t just confined to companies like Openbucks and Qiwi, either. Big names like Visa and Interac make it possible for many websites to sell digital pocket monsters legitimately.
As for which websites sell shiny Pokémon—there are a ton of them. While your first thought would be that these sites are dangerous and are out to simply rob you, this isn’t quite true. You should always be careful when using online services like these, although, a large number of these sites are well-designed and are updated regularly.
Some of the most popular, like pkmbuy and playerauctions were clearly built by experienced web designers, which isn’t cheap. That notion speaks for how profitable such businesses can become if they draw in enough customers.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy Pokémon?
For the most part, buying shiny Pokémon for Pokémon Legends: Arceus will usually cost you between $1.00 and $2.00 USD. Since there are many websites offering such services, competitive pricing is very active.
With that said, through websites that act more like auctions than shops, individual Pokémon can be sold for $5.00 USD or more. The pricing often varies due to the stats of the pocket monster as well. Those possessing better traits (specific natures, high EVs, and high IVs) sell for more.
Why People Are Buying Shiny Pokémon
The reason people buy shiny Pokémon is because people like shiny things. This is a staple point in pretty much every online and offline market. The rarer and more unique something is, the more people will want it.
To Save Time
There are plenty of players out there with more money than time. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is, by far, the easiest Pokémon game to obtain shinies. However, to get to the point where you can encounter lots of them, you’ll need to invest a large amount of time into actually playing the game.
The gamers that use websites to buy shiny Pokémon simply want to skip the legwork of increasing their shiny encounter rates. While for many other players this seems odd, as the entire point of getting a shiny is to feel the hard-won satisfaction of completing an arduous hunt, trophy acquisition methods help to streamline gameplay experiences. Not everyone wants to spend 100+ hours to obtain the perfect pocket monsters.
To Get the Strongest Pokémon
In addition to the trophy-acquisition aspect, people also want the strongest pocket monsters. Searching for ‘mons with the best natures and increasing their effort values manually is time-consuming. This, again, makes some players want to skip the legwork.
Buying such Pokémon with real money in Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a bit unnecessary due to the game being relatively simple and the fact that there are no online battles. However, this doesn’t stop many gamers from seeking out the very best specimens for their team.
Do you want a shiny alpha Kleavor with max EVs so that you can demolish NPCs? If you answered yes, then all you’ll need to do is toss a few bucks at your chosen website. You won’t ever be able to use that super-special Kleavor for anything outside the base game though. But, hey, you’ll have a paragon of Bug-type Pokémon to admire for eternity.
The History of Player-Sold Pokémon
If you shop online for Pokémon, you’ll find that sellers will be focusing on modern games. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Sword & Shield, and even Pokémon GO will be some of the top search results. However, the player-sold Pokémon trade has been around for a long time.
This industry exploded around the time of the Generation IV games (Pokémon Diamond, Pokémon Pearl, and Pokémon Platinum). This was due to online trading becoming a standard feature during this generation. After this feature was introduced, it didn’t take long for players to begin making a profit. Such was the opportunity presented by others’ desire for rare and powerful pocket monsters.
When Pokémon Diamond & Pearl were released in 2006, online ads for shiny and powerful Pokémon (specific nature with high EVs and high IVs) began flooding image boards and online forums. This was partially due to the trophy acquisition seen today in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, but more so for competitively viable pocket monsters.
Online battling was the top post-game feature in these games. Nintendo had already been putting together real tournaments and events for Pokémon battling. However, this was the first time that players could assemble their ideal team without needing to breed and raise the Pokémon themselves.
With the perfect ‘mons being only a transaction away, many players were willing to pay for the best possible team. This was to dominate the metagame—and potentially win tournaments.
Even though the metagame for such older games has long since died, you can still find physical copies of “unlocked” Generation IV games on sale. Furthermore, these can be sold on websites like eBay for (what many consider) to be ridiculous prices. Although such cartridges can sell for over $100.00 USD, collectors are still actively buying them.
The Beginning of a Trend
Since Generation IV, global trading has remained a feature in all following main series Pokémon games. As such, the player-sold Pokémon market continued to thrive—and evolve.
Instead of ads on forums and image boards, the sellers began creating actual websites. Furthermore, real payment services began replacing suspicious direct money transfers. This caused the Pokémon-selling market to go from dubious to somewhat legitimate.
Through Generations V to VII, while the process was refined, the general actions around buying Pokémon remained similar to Generation IV. However, everything changed when the main series moved from handheld consoles to the Nintendo Switch.
The New Era of Selling Pokémon
Nowadays, the prime games for selling Pokémon are Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, and Pokémon Sword & Shield. There’s no denying that this is because they are the most recent games in the franchise—and therefore the most played and most profitable.
However, you’ll now need more than an internet connection. To trade Pokémon in all of the above-mentioned games, you’ll need a Nintendo Switch Online membership. This is a service that you’ll need to pay for, which will make buying Pokémon more expensive.
This has caused sellers of Pokémon to change how they do things for the Generation VIII games. Although, thanks to years of revenue from past games, these sellers have enough money to put together bigger and better websites.
What you have now are websites on par with online shops of all kinds. The digital era has seen such development for many pseudo-industries—especially since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
How Covid-19 Affected the Pokémon Selling Market
In early 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic hit, a tremendous number of people lost their jobs. As such, plenty of people began trying to find new sources of income. One example of this is avid gamers attempting to turn their hobbies into jobs.
With a lot of time and desperation, gamers were able to focus on obtaining shiny and powerful Pokémon to sell. This greatly emboldened the Pokémon selling market. In turn, this has caused a pseudo-industry to turn into a full-on business. One that lets people work from home safely while making enough to live on indefinitely.
Furthermore, with a growing number of people spending time at home, gameplay time has also increased. This has also impacted the Pokémon selling market positively.
Regardless of what Pokémon you want, you’ll likely be able to buy it online. From shinies to alphas to legendaries, they’re all on sale. You don’t even need to wait, as many sellers have dedicated customer service departments. You can get the strongest ‘mon for a few bucks in under a minute in many cases.