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All Articles: Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go reaches 500 million downloads; Plus accessory coming next week with Apple Watch support later in 2016
Are you still Pokemon Go-ing like a maniac? As of today, the mobile app has dropped to #27 on the iOS App Store Chart, so it’s not quite as popular as it once was. But plenty of people are still obsessed with catching ’em all. So yesterday’s flurry of Pokemon Go announcements should definitely please fans of the game.
First, Niantic has announced that Pokemon Go has exceeded 500 million downloads worldwide since launching in July. The developer followed up this milestone by confirming that the Pokemon Go Plus will be available beginning next week, on September 16. The Plus is a wristwatch-shaped companion device that pairs with your smartphone and vibrates and and lights up when you approach a PokeStop or a Pokemon hiding nearby. And speaking of watches, Niantic’s final announcement was that Pokemon Go will receive Apple Watch support later this year.
“The globally loved Pokemon brand paired with Niantic’s platform and game design that encourages exploration, exercise and making real world social connections has inspired millions of people of all ages to go outdoors together,” said John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO. “We are encouraged by the fast adoption of the game and are pleased to see so many people walk and play every day. Pokemon Go for Apple Watch will be another way people can incorporate the game into their daily lives, even more seamlessly.”
Those 500 million Pokemon Go players have done a lot of walking since the game’s launch. Niantic’s last announcement revealed that players have collectively walked 4.6 billion kilometers, “which is the distance from Earth to Pluto.”
Local governments and police departments are very concerned with Pokemon Go. After police departments in several neighboring states issued guidelines to help ensure players catch ’em all safely, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Corrections to ban all registered sex offenders from playing Pokemon Go and similar games.
“Protecting New York’s children is priority number one and, as technology evolves, we must ensure these advances don’t become new avenues for dangerous predators to prey on new victims,” Governor Cuomo said. “These actions will provide safeguards for the players of these augmented reality games and help take one more tool away from those seeking to do harm to our children.”
Cuomo, and other state legislators, were most concerned about Pokemon Go’s unfortunately-named “Lure” module:
Additionally, a feature of the game, where, for a small fee, a “lure” can be purchased to intentionally encourage traffic to a particular location, also appears to have the potential to be abused by predators.
This recommendation by Governor Cuomo most likely will lead to similar announcements by other local and state governments, and more information about the specifics of New York State’s plan can be found at NY.gov.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard more than a few stories about people succumbing to disaster while playing Pokemon Go. The engrossing mobile app demands constant attention when trying to capture a Pokemon, and this has lead to some players walking right into traffic… or right off a cliff.
Possibly foreseeing these problems, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have been hard at work on the Pokemon Go Plus, a companion peripheral that is supposed to enhance your Pokemon Go experience. Connecting to your smartphone via Bluetooth, the Pokemon Go Plus is supposed to alert players when they’re near a PokeStop or Pokemon. The peripheral was expected to launch shortly after the app, but Nintendo has been rather silent about its release date… until now.
Writing on Twitter, Nintendo has confirmed the Pokemon Go Plus will be available in September:
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 27, 2016
The Pokemon Go Plus will retail for $34.99 when it’s released.
Hey, have you heard about this Pokemon Go thing? I think it’s pretty popular.
Groan all you want at that intro, but Pokemon Go is actually so popular that Apple recently told Polygon it’s been downloaded from the iOS App Store more times in its first week of availability than any other app in history.
Specific download numbers weren’t revealed, but after today’s Japanese launch, Pokemon Go’s record-setting ways should continue during its second week and its third and its…
But what does the future hold for Pokemon Go? Speaking to Business Insider, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that we can expect big improvements to come to the game soon, and that includes Pokemon trading.
“[Trading is] kind of a core element,” Hanke says.
While he didn’t go into specifics as to how this would work, Hanke says that trading ties in nicely with one of “Pokemon Go’s” core virtues, which is that it encourages players to interact with each other in both the virtual and real worlds. Swapping Pokémon around would foster those kinds of interactions.
Hanke also confirmed the developer plans to add more activities to the Gyms and PokeStops players can visit, as well as improvements to the game’s augmented reality technology. A global leaderboard is also in the works to see who really can catch ’em all.
Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Company’s augmented reality game that places Pokemon in real world locales, is now available to download for iOS and Android devices.
In Pokemon Go, players around the globe will explore their surroundings to find and catch wild Pokemon hiding in their midst. Some wild Pokemon appear in their native environments—for example, Water-type Pokemon may appear near lakes and oceans. Once players have encountered a Pokemon, they can catch it by using their smartphone’s touchscreen to throw a Poke Ball. Poke Balls and other special items can be found at PokeStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments.
If you’re still not quite sure how Pokemon Go works, a brand new Launch Trailer has been embedded above. And if you need even more information, Nintendo’s Treehouse team provided a very extensive demonstration of the game during this year’s E3 Expo, which is available after the break. (more…)
The Pokemon Company has released several Pokemon games on mobile devices in the recent past. But today’s announcement of Pokemon Go marks the first time that Nintendo is involved in the creation of a mobile Pokemon game… which is fitting as it might be the biggest one yet.
Pokemon Go will be available for iDevices (through the iOS App Store) and Android devices (through Google Play) beginning in 2016. Similar to a digital version of geocaching, Pokemon Go will use GPS positioning to give players directions to Pokemon they can find “in the wild,” along with other players they can trade with or battle.
Development on Pokemon Go is being lead by Niantic, a team that is actually very familiar with the intersection of mobile gaming and augmented reality. They’re probably best known for Ingress, a mobile game that uses the backdrop an alien invasion to bring players together out in the world.
Pokemon Go will be a free-to-play title, but The Pokemon Company and Nintendo will also sell an optional bauble known as the Pokemon Go Plus that can act as the player’s Pokeball. After linking with the game, it will flash and beep when Pokemon are nearby and players can use the device to catch ’em all with the press of a button. And in addition to the involvement of Niantic and Nintendo, Junichi Masuda, Game Director of the Pokemon franchise at Game Freak, will also assist in the development of Pokemon Go to ensure that it’s the best Pokemon experience possible.
“Pokemon Go is a wonderful combination of Niantic’s real world gaming platform and one of the most beloved franchises in popular culture,” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic. “Our partnership with The Pokemon Company and Nintendo is an exciting step forward in real-world gaming and using technology to help players discover the world and people around them.”
I have a feeling this super effective team just might be able to create a game that’ll become very popular with the convention crowd.