Pokemon Go is an AR game that lets you “catch ’em all” in real life

by: Andrew GrushSeptember 10, 2015
733

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a recovering addict. During the late-90s and into the earlier 2000s I had a problem, I just had to catch ’em all. Eventually I learned to kick the habit, though I’ve had a few relapses over the years. If you too are a Pokemon addict, you might be intrigued to know that the series is leaping off Nintendo hardware and onto your smartphone in a big and unusual way.

Nintendo’s Pokemon Company has now introduced a new mobile-only experience dubbed Pokemon Go, in partnership with Niantic Labs, the creators of Ingress. While this isn’t the first time that Pokemon have appeared on mobile, this is certainly the most ambitious, and oddest, effort so far. Basically, Pokemon Go is Ingress with all your favorite Pokemon friends, including Pikachu, Charizard, Mewtwo, and others.

pokemon-go-plus

Not much is known about the actual gameplay just yet, though the really cool and totally unrealistic video above certainly hypes up the concept. In reality, the AR game will probably play a lot like Ingress, with you wandering around the real world trying to find both wild pokemon and other trainers to challenge. Once you find your target, there will be some kind of onscreen battle to tie it all together. A lot of the gameplay elements remain unseen, though it appears that the visuals will be in 3D.

The Pokemon Company is also releasing a special optional wearable to help further augment the experience, called the Pokemon Go Plus. This smart wearable basically alerts you of nearby Pokemon, without the need to take out your phone. A cool idea, but probably only suitable for the most addicted Pokemon trainers out there.

Pokemon Go is slated for release sometime in 2016 as a free game, though there will be some sort of in-app purchase system. It is currently unclear if this title was created as part of the Nintendo/DeNA arrangement, but either way I have to admit I’m curious to see how this one unfolds. Although Ingress had a following, it never took off in a massive way. Can the mainstream-recognized Pokemon franchise help AR gaming take off in a bigger way? Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • salman

    Gotchha catch ’em all
    eagerly waiting for it!!

    • Stefan Philp

      The question I got is would you have to buy pokeballs with real money

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    How does the game work then? I mean the AR?

    • The game was developed with Niantic Labs. It plays just like Ingress. It uses Google Maps framework. You get an alert that a certain Pokemon is somewhere nearby, then you get directions from the app. When you see it, you capture it. This part is very similar to Ingress, I still play Ingress.

      • John-Phillip Saayman

        Ah I don’t know Ingress that’s why it’s new to me. I’ll check it out

        • Basically you have to walk by yourself where the game tells you to. It is great because it forces you to actually move and burn some calories. I walked 1033 km since Ingress started recording it and at least 500 km more in the years before it. Try the game if you like Pokemon themed games. I personally view it as Ingress with Pokemons. I am not a fan of Pokemon, I will not try it.

          • Raw Mess

            Walking with eyes on the phone to catch pokemon ? Sounds troublesome to me :( can u share some other details about ingress too like the gameplay on reaching that area the game points you to so we have some idea on the game ? I really like the concept but walking around like u have all the time in the world to catch pokemon ? “ehhhhh”

  • Squall

    Cool Idea, this might have been even better coupled with a VR headset but one which allows to see the “outside world” at the same time.Like the pokémons are integrated in the environnement

    • Anantha Krishna

      something like a hololens right?

    • Random guy

      Like AR right? not VR.
      AR is a 3D objects seen in real world space by a player.
      VR is 3D but seen completely in a virtual space by a player.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    My guess is, the game would be location based, where the pokemon would be randomized based on real world location, then, you’ll be able to catch. As for battle, the one in the trailer seemed too good to be true. Unless they are using some kind of advanced AR like Project Tango. I doubted the battle would be something like the one shown on the trailer. Might be something like Monster Rancher game, it’s more possible. But still, pretty excited to see how this game would shape up. And, yeah, I’m quite addicted to catch’em all too. Still occasionally played one on my 3DS.