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McDonald’s Pokémon Happy Meals are coming to the UK, following US scalper chaos
Scalpers went to “extreme lengths” to obtain 25th anniversary Pokémon cards in the US
McDonald’s will be selling Pokémon Happy Meals in the UK from May 19, possibly containing the highly sought-after 25th anniversary cards which caused widespread sellouts in the US.
The fast-food chain’s latest Happy Meal range, based on SpongeBob SquarePants, launched in the UK today, and the boxes feature a small tab at the top stating that Pokémon is “coming soon to Happy Meal”.
As shown in an image captured by a VGC reader showing internal scheduling, the SpongeBob range is due to run from today until May 18, at which point it will be replaced with the Pokémon range.
Although the contents of these Happy Meals has not yet been confirmed, they will not include a plastic toy. McDonald’s UK and Ireland pledged to remove plastic toys from its Happy Meals starting in 2021.
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The previous range of Happy Meals, for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, came with cardboard crafts that let children make their own dinosaurs. The new SpongeBob range also includes a cardboard craft.
McDonald’s Pokémon Happy Meals: US shortages
Fans of the Pokémon Trading Card Game will be hoping that the Pokémon Happy Meals include the special edition McDonald’s 25th Anniversary Pokémon cards that were included with Happy Meals in North America in February.
This special set was exclusive to the Happy Meal range and included 25 cards covering all the Starter Pokémon from the history of the series. There are 50 cards in the set (normal and foil versions of each), and they each have a 25th Anniversary logo on them.
Happy Meals in North America came with packs containing four cards, which led to reports of scalpers buying Happy Meals in bulk to try and resell complete sets on eBay.
McDonald’s restaurants had to place restrictions on Happy Meal sales, after they were targeted by scalpers reselling the cards on auction sites for hundreds of dollars.
According to social media reports, some collectors were even buying the Happy Meals in mass numbers, in the hopes of obtaining new cards, and throwing out the food.
McDonald’s eventually released a statement acknowledging the “extreme lengths” customers were going to in order to obtain the Happy Meal cards.
“With such significant demand for our promotional Pokémon TCG cards, and some fans even going to extreme lengths to get them, we’re working quickly to address shortages and also strongly encouraging restaurants to set a reasonable limit on Happy Meals sold per customer,” it said.
“We want to offer the full Happy Meal experience to as many families as possible, and help ensure everyone is able to get in on the fun!”
It has yet to be confirmed if the UK Happy Meals will also contain these cards.
Last November, The Pokémon Company began teasing plans for a “very special upcoming celebration of Pokémon’s 25th anniversary in 2021”.
As revealed on an anniversary website, The Pokémon Company will be collaborating with singer Katy Perry, releasing special merchandise, and reprinting classic Pokémon cards.
Nintendo is set to release Pokémon Snap, a Switch sequel to the classic N64 game, on April 30. Developed by Bandai Namco, the first-person title challenges players to research and photograph over 200 different types of Pokémon in their natural habitats.
Nintendo recently announced that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl will be released in late 2021, followed by Game Freak’s open-world game Pokémon Legends: Arceus in 2022.