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Gotta trade ‘em all: Pokémon TCG Online arrives on iPad

Nintendo has allowed one of its most popular franchises to appear on a third-party device, after the release of the Pokémon trading card game for iPad.

The iOS adaptation of Pokémon TCG Online was soft-launched in Canada earlier this month, but it is now available to download for free in Australia, Europe and the US.

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In order to play the game, consumers will need an Internet connection and an iPad with a Retina display running iOS 7.0 or later.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Pokémon TCG Online is a deck-building card game that features characters and settings from Nintendo's Pokémon series. Gamers can contest head-to-head battles against online opponents and can boost their decks via codes found on real-life trading cards.

Apple has also confirmed that users will be able to transfer any progress they've made on the desktop version of the game over to the mobile app, by accessing their Pokémon Trainer Club account.

The release marks one of the few times that Nintendo has allowed one of its intellectual properties to appear on anything other than its own hardware.

It has been suggested that the decision to publish the game on the iPad has been influenced by the poor sales of Nintendo's Wii U console and a need to diversify its audience. Since launching in 2012 the system is estimated to have shifted less than 7 million units and continues to miss sales forecasts.

Read more: The end of Nintendo: Why the move to iPad spells doom

The Japanese firm will be hoping that the launch of Pokémon TCG Online for the iPad boosts the popularity of the franchise in the lead up to the series' next releases, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby next month.