Possibly the most ingenious fitness app in disguise, Pokemon GO is now available on Google Play and the App Store, with a wristband companion controller set to arrive in stores soon.
To the surprise of many, Nintendo announced last year that a handful of their properties may come to the mobile market through first and third-party development. This idea came to fruition earlier this year with the release of Miitomo. A somewhat condensed version of the Wii U’s Miiverse, Miitomo allowed users to create or import custom Mii avatars for use in chat and social mini-games. Nintendo’s next project, and probably one of the most anticipated mobile apps of the year, Pokemon GO entered its Beta phase in select countries around the world. Developed under Niantic, Inc, Pokemon GO is an AR (“augmented-reality”) game where players must search around the real-world to battle and catch Pokemon in the app. The title uses GPS and the user’s camera [if he or she chooses] to track Pokemon locations in the user’s environment; landmarks and popular locations have the potential to appear in the game as PokeStops and Gyms, however the latter can only be accessed by players with a Trainer Level of 5 or higher.
After months of Beta testing overseas, Pokemon GO finally began rolling out to mobile users across North America yesterday afternoon. The app is free to download and use for both Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store) devices, however several users and Niantic themselves are reporting server issues. Though Pokemon GO is a free-to-play title, users can spend real-world money to purchase more Pokeballs, incense, lures, eggs and other items; the most expensive microtransactions can be found in PokeCoins, as users can spend up to $99.99 towards Pokemon GO‘s in-game currency.
First shown back in September 2015, Nintendo, The Pokemon Company and Niantic, Inc. also have a new companion accessory, the “Pokemon GO Plus”. Unsurprisingly modeled after a Pokeball, the GO Plus syncs with the user’s Pokemon GO app to be used as an external controller; the device can be worn as either a bracelet or clip-on, and will vibrate whenever the user encounters a Pokemon or arrives at a PokeStop location.
The Pokemon GO Plus is currently listed for North American users on Amazon and GameStop for $34.99, however both retailers are currently sold out for pre-orders.