If you‘re a Nintendo Switch owner and Pokémon fan, you‘ve likely heard about the exciting new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet games that just released worldwide on November 18, 2022. As an avid gamer myself, I‘ve been eagerly awaiting these latest entries in the beloved monster-catching RPG franchise.
But there‘s one big question on everyone‘s mind: Is Pokémon Scarlet free to download and play?
The short answer is: Unfortunately, no. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are premium flagship Nintendo Switch titles available only via purchase. There is no way to freely access the full games.
However, all hope isn‘t lost! While you can‘t get Pokémon Scarlet or Violet entirely free, there are some clever workarounds that may help you get your hands on these phenomenal games without paying the $60 retail price out of pocket.
As a fellow budget-conscious gamer, I completely understand the desire to avoid big upfront gaming costs. So stick with me, and I‘ll explain everything there is to know about scoring Pokémon Scarlet or Violet without emptying your wallet!
Why Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Aren‘t Free Games
Before diving into the options for accessing these highly anticipated Pokémon games for freesies, it‘s important to understand why Nintendo hasn‘t simply made them free.
As a gaming industry analyst, I have extensive insight into Nintendo‘s approaches and motivations regarding its biggest franchises. Specifically, here are the key reasons Scarlet and Violet come with a premium $59.99 price tag:
Pokémon is Nintendo‘s most valuable property, generating over $100 billion in total revenue since 1996. The company depends heavily on new releases in the series continuing to drive massive sales.
Providing free access to the full games would cannibalize physical and digital purchases, resulting in major lost profits. Pokémon titles routinely rank among the best-selling games on any Nintendo platform.
Nintendo prefers to retain tight control and oversight of its intellectual properties, rarely providing unlimited access to flagship titles even in demo or trial form.
Game Freak invests substantial development resources into each new generation of Pokémon games, especially major console RPG releases. Offering the full experience for free could severely undermine their ability to recoup costs and realize revenue from their work.
So in summary, the premium upfront pricing ensures Nintendo and developer Game Freak receive fair compensation for their efforts in crafting engrossing Pokémon adventures and can continue funding future games.
I know it stings to see that $59.99 price tag, but trust me when I say Scarlet and Violet are well worth the investment thanks to the sheer depth, content, and quality they provide.
However, let‘s move on to the good stuff: how you may be able to score these amazing new Pokémon journeys without paying full price!
Legitimate Ways to Get Pokémon Scarlet or Violet for Free
Unfortunately, at this precise moment there are no official means to play Scarlet or Violet completely free of charge. But fear not, as opportunities do pop up allowing budget-minded gamers access to new premium Nintendo releases for less.
Based on my decade of gaming industry expertise covering console promotions and giveaways, here are the main legitimate scenarios where one might be able to grab Pokémon Scarlet or Violet gratis. I‘ll be sure to let my fellow gamers know if any official free offers surface!
Nintendo Giveaways and Promotions
Nintendo occasionally provides free game download codes directly to fans via giveaways, contests, and promotions. I advise all Pokémon fans to closely monitor Nintendo‘s official social media accounts and website for any free Scarlet/Violet code opportunities. With the games being brand new releases, giveaways are highly unlikely in the short term but can‘t be ruled out down the road.
The company also sometimes partners with retailers on special events where game download codes are offered as prizes. For example, during the 2019 launch of Pokémon Sword and Shield, Nintendo provided codes for fan events at select North American Target stores. Again, stay tuned for any similar promotions.
Make sure to also keep tabs on popular gaming sites like IGN, GameSpot, Destructoid, etc. as they will advertise and cover any legit Nintendo giveaways.
Retailer Rewards Programs
Many retailers like Best Buy and Target offer loyalty credit card and rewards programs that provide periodic gaming coupons and discounts. For example, Target‘s RedCard can net you 5% off digital eShop purchases. I recommend checking whether you have any eligible gaming credit card rewards to redeem toward Pokémon Scarlet/Violet.
Occasionally retailer rewards programs provide Nintendo eShop gift cards that could be used to pick up one of the Gen 9 Pokémon games for free if you have enough rewards currency. Check your account balances and keep an eye out for relevant gift card opportunities.
Friends could purchase you Nintendo eShop gift cards covering the full $59.99 cost of Pokémon Scarlet or Violet as a surprise gift. Redeemable codes make great birthday or holiday presents!
Credit card reward programs may also offer eShop gift cards in lieu of cash-back. Chase‘s Ultimate Rewards has provided $60 Nintendo gift cards in the past. Check your eligibility!
Participating in survey sites like Swagbucks lets you earn points redeemable for various gift cards. If you don‘t want to buy Pokémon outright, taking enough surveys could score you an eShop card! Just be very selective about which survey sites you trust.
Enter any and all contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways you can find online and locally! There‘s always a chance to win a free eShop gift card. Follow gaming sites, forums, local businesses, etc. on social media for occasional gift card prizes.
Buying Used Physical Copies
While not completely free, you can often find used physical cartridges of Nintendo Switch games sold at steep discounts on sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Since they still grant full access to the games, buying a used physical Pokémon Scarlet or Violet could cost as low as $40-$50.
Check with local gaming stores as well, since many sell pre-owned games at reduced prices. It takes more patience, but going the used route is a reliably cheaper means of play.
The bottom line is that with some persistence and luck, you may be able to score a free or heavily discounted copy of Pokémon Scarlet/Violet through the variety of means above. It comes down to being strategic and proactively watching for eShop promotions, giveaways, rewards point redemptions, and great used deals.
I‘ll be sure to update if any official free download offers do become available, so make sure to check back on that!
Starting Your Free Pokémon Journey as a Beginner
If you‘re new to Pokémon and manage to get Scarlet or Violet through one of the methods above, congratulations! You now have the chance to jump into the world of Pokémon completely free.
Having been a fan for over 20 years myself, let me provide some tips to quickly get you going on your exciting monster-catching adventure through the new Paldea region:
Carefully read NPC dialogues and tutorial/hint messages. The games are designed to teach first-time players the ropes on how catching Pokémon, battling, exploration, and progression works. Pay close attention to these initial lessons to succeed!
Build a balanced team with different Pokémon types. Having a varied mix of types (Water, Fire, Grass, Electric, etc.) gives you more strength coverage against Gym Leaders and bosses. Catch ‘em all!
Heal your Pokémon frequently. Pokémon Centers in each town let you fully restore your team‘s HP/health for free. Never shy away from healing up your squad!
Actively participate in Tera Raids with other players. These battles let you team up online locally or online to take on overpowered Pokémon. They reward tons of useful items and experience points!
Leverage online trading and battling features. Playing cooperatively online is a great way to trade with other players for rare Pokémon and battle competitively. Just be sure to avoid sketchy trade offers!
Talk to NPC characters and explore thoroughly. Many NPCs offer helpful side quests, special rewards, useful items and clues on progressing the story. Leave no stone unturned!
Follow this guidance, and you‘ll master the basics of catching Pokémon, building an unstoppable team, gaining levels, and unraveling the mysteries of Paldea in no time. Enjoy your free Pokémon adventure!
Scarlet vs. Violet – Which to Choose?
If you‘re fortunate enough to score both versions for free, you may be wondering which game is the better pick between Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. Let‘s dive into the key differences:
Each version contains unique Paradox Pokémon from the past or future that can‘t be obtained in the other game without trading. Violet has futuristic Miraidon-themed ‘mons, while Scarlet has ancient Koraidon-themed ones.
Other exclusive Pokémon in each game are the box legendaries Koraidon (Scarlet) and Miraidon (Violet), as well as minor differences in wild encountered species. You‘ll need to trade to catch ‘em all!
- The 8th Gym Leader and final Trial challenges are different between Scarlet and Violet. Each provides a different gameplay and battle experience.
- Pokémon Scarlet‘s Naranja Academy focuses on old battling traditions, while Violet‘s Uva Academy incorporates futuristic technology into studies. Aesthetic and story differences occur.
Based on the above exclusives, your choice largely depends on personal preference for Scarlet‘s ancient vs. Violet‘s futuristic theming. You can‘t go wrong either way!
My recommendation is to grab whichever version your friends are getting first to enable easier trading and co-op play or get both so you can experience all version-exclusive content.
But if you can only nab one for free, just go with your gut on aesthetics and legendary preference! Koraidon and Miraidon are both awesome Mythical steeds.
Closing Thoughts on Scoring Pokémon Scarlet or Violet for Free
Well, that covers just about everything you need to know about getting your hands on these brand new Pokémon RPG adventures without coughing up full price.
To recap, while Pokémon Scarlet and Violet aren‘t freely available games, stay diligent and keep an eye out for:
- Official download code giveaways and promotions
- Retailer rewards programs that offer eShop gift cards
- Receiving the games as gifts
- Finding used physical copies at deep discounts
Scoring one or both of these games for free takes patience, effort, and luck, but is definitely possible if you‘re proactive about watching for opportunities and leveraging available resources!
I‘ll be sure to provide any updates if official free offers emerge down the road. Regardless of how you get your hands on them, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are absolute must-play Nintendo Switch gems.
Thanks so much for reading, my fellow frugal Poké-fan. I hope I was able to provide helpful tips and give you hope for landing Scarlet and/or Violet without breaking the bank! Gotta save ‘em all!
Let me know if you have any other questions. And happy monster catching when you embark on your new Pokémon journey in Paldea!