On September 9th, we were all pleasantly surprised by the announcement of Pokémon GO, an augmented-reality game for Android and iPhone that will bring the Pokémon experience into real life.
The game is being co-developed by the Pokémon Co. and Niantic, a former Google startup that later became independent and specializes in augmented-reality mobile games. The game is supposed to let users find, catch, and battle Pokémon as well as trade them, encouraging them to interact with one another in real life. The release date is set to be early 2016.
According to John Hanke, founder of Niantic: “For the first time, Pokémon will roam free in the real world. Pokémon GO will allow players to capture Pokémon who inhabit parks, shopping areas, sidewalks and the countryside all around the world. Imagine discovering a Squirtle hiding along the waterfront in San Francisco, a Bulbasaur at Shinjuku Station or a Pikachu beneath the Eiffel Tower.”
The Pokémon Co. and Niantic also have plans to develop Pokémon GO plus with the help of Nintendo. Pokémon GO plus is a device strapped to the wrist, like a watch, to give the full Pokémon experience. The device will be connected to phones via Bluetooth and will let users play the game by sending haptic feedback -the use of the sense of touch in a user interface design- and flashing LEDs. This will give users the feeling of having the Pokémon in the real world. The release date is yet to be confirmed.
The application is said to be free, with in-app purchase.