If you're heavily invested in Pokémon -- particularly the competitive "metagame," which it's now easier than ever to be a part of -- then chances are you want to ensure that your elite fighting force of adorable little critters/gigantic slobbering dragons remains safe.
Enter Nintendo, who have explained in great detail how its Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter services are going to work.
Pokémon Bank is exactly what it sounds like -- it's a place to store Pokémon. Specifically, it provides 100 virtual boxes that store 30 Pokémon each, adding up to a total of 3,000 Pokémon. Nintendo points out that this is double what was offered in previous storage solutions such as Pokémon Box for GameCube and My Pokémon Ranch for Wii, but that there's no obligation for players to make use of the service. Downloading the app once to your 3DS allows you to manage Pokémon from multiple copies of Pokémon X and Y -- including downloadable versions -- and move your beasties from one game to the other relatively easier. It also provides search and batch move functions, meaning you don't have to move Pokémon around one at a time or manually scour your 3,000 stored Pokémon to find the one you're looking for.
Nintendo has reiterated that Pokémon Bank will be a service with an annual fee of $4.99, and has positioned the fee as a means of "allowing the service to be maintained long-term so it can provide support for future Pokémon titles." Going forward, it appears that Pokémon Bank will be one of the main means through which you can move your Pokémon from one generation of game to another, so it looks as if Nintendo is planning on keeping the service around for quite a while.
Nintendo will apparently be checking deposited Pokémon to ensure that hacked Pokémon or those created using otherwise "unauthorized" methods may not be stored. The company has not released details of what these checks will entail "as such information could be used in an effort to circumvent such checks in the future." Nintendo recommends that you "please enjoy playing Pokémon in the correct way, as described in the game manual." Cheaters never prosper; Big N is watching.
But what of previous-generation Pokémon trapped in Pokémon Black, White, Black 2 or White 2? Enter the Poké Transporter, a linked application you can download for free. With this app, by inserting a cartridge from one of the DS games, you'll be able to bring your Pokémon into Pokémon Bank, then pull them back out into X and Y. Nintendo is, however, keen to note that you can't use Poké Transporter to transfer Pokémon back to Pokémon Black, White, Black 2 or White 2, so make sure you're sure you want to move them before you start the process.
Pokémon Bank will have a 30-day free trial period, so long as you download and open the app by January 31, 2014. On February 1 of next year, the offer will expire. Both Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter will release on the eShop on December 27.