Pokémon is coming to your smartphone

This game might actually make us enjoy the outdoors

If there’s one thing that’s going to perk up a Thursday morning, it’s the news of a new Pokémon game. In collaboration with Nintendo and Niantic, once part of Google and the minds behind the Ingress augmented reality game, The Pokémon Company has announced they’re taking mobile gaming seriously with the new Pokémon Go game.

With an AR GPS setup that looks fairly similar to Ingress, Pokémon Go lets players find, catch, and battle Pokémon in the real world through their smartphones. Nintendo is also developing a companion Bluetooth device called the Pokémon Go Plus. The Pokéball-shaped smartwatch device will vibrate and flash when you’re approaching Pokémon, even letting you catch them with a simple push of a button. It also looks like you can detach it from its unfortunate looking band, which is another bonus.

Image: © The Pokemon Company

The Pokémon Go Plus will no doubt be useful for dragging players’ eyes away from their phones, allowing them to enjoy the real world experience of the game without relying on their phones. It could be quite easy to forget you’re on an actual street playing this game, and I would blithely ignore a road full of traffic if my screen told me there was a Charmander waiting for me at the other side.

You can check out The Pokémon Company, Niantic, and Nintendo’s intentions for the game by watching the announcement trailer.

It’s a great trailer. Incredibly overblown and probably not at all what the experience of playing will feel like, but great. I fully intend to keep this trailer in mind when I’m playing the game myself; much of the enjoyment that comes from AR relies on a contribution from your imagination, otherwise you might as well just use VR. This game is a really great way of bringing the ideas and joys of the Pokémon universe into the world of its players; go outside, adventure with your friends, and explore. If this game appeals to me as much as I think it will, I might actually become one of those people that enjoys being outdoors.

Pokémon Go will be available in 2016 for iOS and Android. The game will be free to play, with various in-app purchases available that will hopefully not take the piss quite as much as Pokémon Jukebox, and no price has been set for the Pokémon Go companion device just yet.

Main Image: © The Pokemon Company