Pokemon Go rolls out to iOS App Store, available in select US locations
Nintendo and Niantic Labs on Tuesday surprised with a limited rollout of anticipated augmented reality game PokÃ©mon Go, making the title available for download in Australia, New Zealand and certain U.S. markets.
PokÃ©mon Go uses smartphone camera and GPS hardware to create an augmented reality world in which players can capture, collect, trade and battle PokÃ©mon. The app launch has been confirmed in Australia and New Zealand for both iOS and Android, while some U.S. App Store customers are also reporting immediate availability.
Developed by Niantic, the app puts players in the shoes of a PokÃ©mon trainer who, armed with an iPhone-cum-PokÃ© Ball, roams their city in search of the elusive creatures. As a user travels around the real world their iPhone vibrates to alert them of nearby PokÃ©mon that can viewed and captured onscreen.
Trainers can also find characters congregating at PokÃ©Stops that correlate with real life landmarks and events. The PokÃ©mon Company says these hotspots range from art installations to historical markers and monuments.
Location aware technology is central to the game's mechanics. For example, certain PokÃ©mon, like water-type characters, can only be captured near bodies of water, meaning players have to travel outside to find new species. In fact, the entire app incentivizes motion. PokÃ©mon Eggs, discoverable at PokÃ©Stops, only hatch after players walk a preset distance.
Like other games in the series, PokÃ©mon Go features a multiplayer element that pits teams of characters against each other in virtual battle. The goal is to take control of "gyms" scattered throughout the world. Players can assign PokÃ©mon to hold and defend an empty gym, or elect to attack an occupied gym using their cadre of collected characters.
Nintendo is also marketing an optional wearable device that keeps users in the game without requiring constant access to their phone. Called Go Plus, the add-on connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and uses vibration and LED alerts to notify players of in game events, such as nearby PokÃ©mon sightings.
Depending on local availability, PokÃ©mon Go can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store. The $35 PokÃ©mon Go Plus device is expected for release later this month.