Magic the Gathering has already proven that a solid online community exists for virtual Trading Card Games (TCGs), and Pokémon is looking to capitalise on that potential, as its online TCG enters open beta.
The release coincides with the new Pokémon TCG expansion: Black & White, and it costs nothing to sign up. Players just need to create a Pokémon Trainer Club account.
You can do that by logging in here: www.pokemon.com/tcgo. Once you've set up your free account, the expensive stuff starts to happen; you can buy virtual "packs" of cards for battling online. At this stage, a full seven expansions are accessible through Pokémon TCG Online, but for people that want to try before they buy, the initial signup comes with one complementary deck.
Newcomers will appreciate the Collection Management Tool to keep their decks organised, and various deck-building tools and tutorials to get them started.
I must admit that I didn't realise the card game even existed still, but I'm sure Pokémon TCG will gain a loyal following online. It is certainly far more pleasing on the eye than the Magic the Gathering Online game.