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Yo-Kai Watch will launch in the west on 3DS, Nintendo announces

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Yo-Kai Watch, the enormously successful toy, game and anime series in Japan, will get a western launch on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo announced today.

The series launched in Japan on the 3DS in 2013 and has sold more than 7 million copies to date. The role-playing game, in which players summon magical creatures called yokai, is a direct competitor for Pokémon's longstanding audience.

Yo-Kai Watch is developed by Level-5, the studio behind the Professor Layton series of puzzle-adventure games, and Inazuma Eleven, the soccer RPG. No launch date was given in a news release today. The launch will cover the United States, Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand as well as Korea.

The first Yo-Kai Watch video game was released in Japan in 2013 for Nintendo 3DS. A dual-release sequel launched in 2014 in the form of Yo-Kai Watch 2: Honke and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Ganso.

In February, Hasbro and the franchise's representatives, Dentsu Entertainment and TV Tokyo, announced a partnership to bring the toys to western markets. Yo-Kai Watch merchandising — not including the video game — has generated more than $1 billion in retail sales in Japan, the news release said.

"It doesn't matter if you're a kid, parent, fan or fan-in-the-making: Everyone will be won over by this charming game," Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president for sales and marketing, said in a statement.

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