The Pokémon series has been a huge phenomenon over the years, with game releases on Nintendo platforms, and a recent expansion into mobile with Pokémon Shuffle. Now, the series will be introducing a new social side with the debut of a forthcoming app for iOS and Android called Pokémon GO.
The app, a team-up between the Pokémon Company, Nintendo and Niantic, will enable fans to search for locations in the real world as they collect popular Pokémon characters. They will be able to catch, trade and battle unique characters with each new location they visit, creating a huge social aspect that literally introduces something around every corner.
I hope my phone is waterproof because I am jumping into the ocean to look for water pokemon #PokemonGO.
— Stealth (@Stealth___) September 10, 2015
— Malik Forté (@Malik4Play) September 10, 2015
Junichi Masuda, game director of the Pokémon series, is on board the project, which will utilize camera technology so that players can certainly “catch ‘em all,” as the series consistently promotes. With Niantic, creators of the location-based game Ingress at the helm, it’s likely to be a big hit when it debuts in early 2016.
“Our challenge was to develop a great game for smart phone devices that expressed the core values of Pokémon,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company. “Pokémon GO is the answer to that challenge.”
“Pokémon 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, founder and CEO of Niantic, Inc. “Our partnership with The Pokémon 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.”
Polygon has more details about the game: “Pokémon Go will work with a Bluetooth-powered device called Pokémon Go Plus, which players can wear on their wrist or pinned to their clothing. The device, which looks like a Pokémon combined with a Google Maps marker pin, has a built-in LED light and a vibration function that will notify players that something important is happening in the game, such as a Pokémon appearing nearby. Ishihara said that Pokémon Go players won’t be required to use the device to play the game, but that it will reduce the amount of time players spend staring at their smart devices in order to play the game.”
This shows some initiative on Nintendo’s part as its push into mobile continues, although it doesn’t count as one of its projects through its partnership with DeNA. Those games are still coming, although they’re shrouded in secrecy.
The full press announcement can be found below.