Spending money on Poké Balls and Potions is necessary to catch ’em all in Pokémon games, but Poké Dollars are based on a real-world currency.
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, players can sell a Big Nugget for ₽20,000 at a Poké Mart – enough to fund 25 Ultra Balls in turn. While it’s clear from the game’s context that ₽20,000 is a lot of money, how much is it compared to the real-world U.S. dollar? The answer is actually easier to ascertain than one may think, because Pokémon‘s currency, the Pokémon Dollar, is based directly on the Japanese yen. In fact, in Japanese versions of the game, Pokémon Dollars are Japanese yen. Many in the Pokémon fandom use the word “yen” interchangeably with “Pokémon Dollar” to talk about the game’s currency.
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Nintendo changing Pokémon outside Japan is nothing new. While there is a Japanese version of the word (ポケドル, or Poké Dollar), the term “Pokémon Dollar” is specific to English-language localizations of Pokémon. Its symbol – a P for “Pokémon” with two slashes underneath – brings to mind the € for the Euro, or the Latinized ¥ symbol used for the yen in countries outside Japan (the Japanese use the kanji 円). The Pokémon Dollar symbol is also easily mistaken for that of the Russian ruble, ₽ (which is what is used throughout this article because of its similarity). Clearly, the English-language Pokémon team wanted to ground the game’s currency in a sense of reality. But that reality is much clearer in Japanese versions of the games, where the English-language ₽ is simply the Japanese symbol for the yen (円).
English appears to be the only localization of Pokémon to come up with a fictional term for the game’s money. According to Bulbapedia, localizations in languages such as French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese simply refer the Pokémon Dollar with the generic word for “money” (for example, “dinero” in Spanish). South Korea’s localization, like Japan’s, uses the actual symbol for their national currency in Pokémon. In sum, the English Pokémon localization is unique in the lengths it goes to create a fictional in-world currency.
How Much is 100 Poké Dollars in USD?
In some fan communities, both “Pokémon Dollar” and “yen” are used to talk about Pokémon‘s currency. This may seem confusing, but the two terms are truly interchangeable in the game’s universe. Pricing in Pokémon reflects what one would see in Japan, with items listed as multiples of 100. This is because 100 yen is the rough equivalent of 1 U.S. Dollar – specifically, 100円 is about 90¢, and 1000円 is about $9.00.
This exchange rate, then, is directly translatable to the Pokémon Dollar in games like Sword and Shield. In that game, a Poké Ball is ₽200, a Hyper Potion is ₽1500, and a Revive is ₽2000. In U.S. dollars, their prices would be about $1.80, $13.50, and $18, respectively. Stocking up and buying a bulk of 50 Poké Balls is ₽10,000, which translates to 10,000円, or about $90. To counterbalance Poké Ball expenses, a Big Nugget is ₽20,000, which means it’s worth $180.
Since Poké Dollars are based directly on the Japanese yen, it’s easy to ascertain how much a player is spending in the Pokémon series. The conversion rate is about 100:9, with ₽100 being 90¢. Whether it’s a blessing or an anxiety-inducing curse to know exactly what a shopping spree at a Poké Mart comes out to in American dollars is up to the player. However, the Pokémon Dollar’s worth may pale to Pokémon cards.
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