Ever wished you could bump into a Cubone when turning the corner? How about happening upon a Machop while taking out the trash? Coming in 2016 you can via your iPhone or Android device. Niantic, Inc. (founded by Google-Earth co-creator John Hanke) has developed Pokémon GO, which is an augmented reality smartphone game.
Utilizing GPS, the game will allow players to track down pocket monsters, collect, trade, and battle with them amongst others – in the real world – who have also downloaded the free app. The above trailer is obviously a cinematic interpretation of what is in store for Pokémon GO, so try and not get your hopes up thinking you can actually unleash a Gyrados in your local river.
Pokémon has come quite a ways since the initial American release of the franchise on the Game Boy in 1998. Games and merchandise of the franchise has grossed $37.76 billion (USD) as of 2013, so the push for a new gaming format via smartphones will most likely be exceptionally lucrative.
Trading and battling have always pushed social interactions within the universe and Pokémon GO will be no exception. With the Bluetooth enabled Pokémon GO Plus device (featured above) linked with your smartphone, you will receive notifications via an LED and vibrations, so you will know of Pokémon near your location or of in-game events. Plus, by clicking the device, you can catch Pokémon and perform basic tasks.
“This is a wholesome, fun game,” said John Hanke, “that can be enjoyed by the entire family and gives everyone a great reason to go outside, get some fresh air, and discover new places.”
For the children and teens that grew up chucking countless Pokéballs in pixelated tall grass they will soon be able to enjoy that again, but this time in actual tall grass during their lunch break.