NINTENDO, ITS SUBSIDIARY The Pokémon Company, and former Google division Niantic will release an augmented-reality Pokémon game for smartphones in 2016, the companies announced today.
Pokémon GO brings the action out of the world of the popular videogames, and into real life—as you wander throughout your hometown or anywhere else life might take you, you can keep an eye on the app for reports of adorable imaginary creatures like Pikachu et al.
Once you track them down, you can catch them, and battle them against your friends’ monsters, assuming you still have friends after you have become a nomad wandering the Earth in desperate search of a Shiny Caterpie.
The game will be free to play with in-app purchases.
Another revenue generator: Nintendo itself has developed and will release a companion device called the Pokémon Go Plus, a wrist-worn device that connects to your phone via Bluetooth and lets you, e.g., capture Pokémon without having to get out your smartphone.
The Pokémon Company, as a quasi-independent entity, has released a handful of different apps for mobile so far, such as a Pokemon creature encyclopedia in 2012 and apromotional rhythm game called Pokémon: Say Tap? in 2011.
“Obviously, we’re not going to do videogame stuff that would (have) the depth of experiences that you get on a DS system,” a Pokémon Company representative said to WIRED at the time.
Obviously! That era is officially over now, as Nintendo has already indicated that it will begin releasing full-on smartphone games in partnership with Japanese mobile gaming firm DeNA beginning this year.
This move seems to have freed up The Pokémon Company, as well, to bring a full game experience to phones, and to do it in a way that adds to, rather than replaces, the traditional Pokémon experience on Nintendo’s handheld systems—for now.