Catch Virtual Pokémon In Real Life With Pokémon GO

The Pokémon Company has been making a few interesting choices with spicing up their franchise lately. From games to sponsorships, we’ve seen Pokémon in almost everything except the real world. If anyone still remembers that Pokémon/Google Maps April Fool’s game from last year, that seemed like the closest we’d ever get. However, it looks like The Pokémon Company will be taking that concept and running with it.

Announced via a special presentation last night was Pokémon GO, an augmented reality mobile game that has players travel to real life locations to catch virtual Pokémon.  We also got a look at the concept more so than the actual experience because let’s face it, we aren’t even close to having the technology needed to run this.

While the game itself may be hard to get behind because of the phrase “free-to-play with microtransactions”, the people behind it really makes this more interesting.

First-off, development is being handled by Niantic, Inc., who was originally founded by Google Earth co-creator John Hanke as a startup inside Google. Niantic, Inc. is the company behind Ingress, another augmented reality mobile game that uses GPS technology to enact sci-fi battles in real-world locations. Seems like a pretty good fit, especially with the backing of both The Pokémon Company and Nintendo.

Another surprise was Game Freak’s own Junichi Masuda will be contributing to the setting, gameplay, and music of Pokémon GO. This is especially important, since Masuda has been one of the faces of Pokémon for the past 20 years. This also hopefully means that Pokémon GO isn’t just a farmed-out project. It actually looks like some major work has been put into this.

GO Plus

In addition, a wearable device is in development called the Pokémon GO Plus. This allows you to enjoy the game without having to have your smartphone out all of the time. It will alert you when there are Pokémon nearby and will also allow you to perform simple actions like throwing a Pokémon by pressing the button in the center. This device will also be wearable either via wrist strap or clip-on, whichever you prefer. There is no price point for the device as of yet.

As for the release of Pokémon GO itself, it will be coming to iOS and Android in 2016 and will be free-to-play with microtransactions. Right now, we don’t know a lot about the game, but we should see more in as we head into next year. If you want, you can watch the entire 30-minute presentation below.

Frankly, from it’s initial unveil, I was pretty worried. After seeing how flaccid the Pokémon/Google Maps collaboration was for April Fool’s compared to its reveal trailer, those thoughts came back after watching this one.

Even if it isn’t that great, it’s still going to turn out the best it can due to the people behind it. There are always the mainline Pokémon games, and you can be sure we’ve got something special in store for Pokémon’s 20th anniversary next year.

Source: Pokémon