Niantic Labs first game launch since they split out from Google is a massive win for the company with the announcement tonight that they will be powering Pokémon GO, the first location based Pokemon game for mobile.
The series was created by Satoshi Tajiri and launched as a pair of video games for the Gameboy back in 1995. The game is one of the most popular series available, with the franchise spawning Manga, TV-shows, video games, comics and card games. According to Wikipedia, there’s over 700 Pokémon to collect, a big up tick from the 150 or so the game started with back in 1995.
Aiming for release in 2016, Pokémon GO will see players travelling to locations to search for and find all the Pokémon. The Pokémon corporation who controls the game saying they will use locations such as the Hokkaido and Kanto regions of Japan, as well as locations in New York and Paris to inspire fantasy locations within the game.
As well as the mobile game, which will be available for iOS as well as Android, players will be able to get and use a bluetooth paired device called a Pokémon GO Plus which will enable Pokémon GO players play even without looking at their phones. The Poké-ball shaped Pokémon GO Plus will alert players to a nearby Pokémon as they walk around with an LED and vibration alert, players can simply press the button on their device to capture it.
So how does it play? Well, in what looks to be a fairly simplified, for illustration purposes only version of the game, check out the demo video:
The game will be free to play, but will contain In-App Purchases, though the nature of the In-App Purchases available hasn’t been announced yet. The Pokémon company has advised that there will be more announcements made about Pokémon GO in the lead up to launch in 2016.