Today Nintendo announced that its cloud storage program for Pokémon, Pokémon Home, will have a paid and free version. The free version has a paltry max capacity of 30 Pokémon, while the paid version will let you store up to 6,000 at $3 a month or $16 a year.
The service, set to launch in February, will make it possible for players to bring their Pokémon from the old storage system, Pokémon Bank, to Pokémon Home and, ultimately, the latest Pokémon games on Switch (as long as those games support those particular Pokémon). Nintendo is making Pokémon Bank free for the first month Home is out so players can get their Pokémon houses in order.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s different between the free and paid versions of Pokémon Home:
There are three ways to trade Pokémon with Home. The first are Wonder Boxes that let players trade mystery Pokémon to random strangers around the world. The second are trade rooms where up to 20 people meet in a lobby and make offers. Finally there’s the Global Trade System that lets players request specific Pokémon. Paid subscribers get better versions of each of these.
In addition to facilitating trades and moving Pokémon between games, the Home app will have more extensive Pokédex entries than the games themselves, telling players things like which moves a Pokémon can learn. It’ll also have information on current ranked battles and online competitions taking place in Sword and Shield so players can get a feel for which Pokémon and movesets are popular at the moment. Then there’s the Judge feature, which discerning players will really need, since it’s the only way to get deeper stat readouts on the Pokémon in your collection.
If you really want to collect them, the paid version might be a no brainer, but to put it in perspective, Switch Online, which is also required to use Pokémon Sword and Shield’s online features, already costs $20 a year. Players who want to get the most out of the games will effectively need to pay almost twice that.
Of course, for others, that might seem like a small price to pay to finally bring over many of the Pokémon they’ve been patiently raising on the 3DS games to the current generation. These transfers are a one-way trip, though, so if you take your Growlithe from Pokémon Moon, for instance, and put it in Pokémon Sword, you won’t ever be able to transfer him back again.
Correction: 1/28/2020, 10:15 a.m. ET: A previous version of this article was unclear about Judge feature functions and the services that would be free in the first month of Pokémon Home’s release.