What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile game for Android and iPhone that is being developed by The Pokémon Company and Niantic, a former Google startup that has since branched out on its own and is known for its earlier augmented-reality mobile game Ingress. Nintendo is also contributing with the development and manufacture of the companion Pokémon GO Plus (see below for more details on that).
Pokémon GO is a mobile app that you download to your Android smartphone oriPhone, but play in the real world through augmented reality.
In Pokémon GO the aim is to locate, catch, battle and trade Pokémon, and you are encouraged to connect with other nearby Pokémon GO players as you do so.
John Hanke, founder of Niantic, said: “For the first time, Pokémon will roam free in the real world. Pokémon GO will allow players to capture Pokémon who inhabit parks, shopping areas, sidewalks and the countryside all around the world. Imagine discovering a Squirtle hiding along the waterfront in San Francisco, a Bulbasaur at Shinjuku Station or a Pikachu beneath the Eiffel Tower.”
Still confused? The below Pokémon GO video trailer might help to make things a bit clearer for you.
What is Pokémon GO Plus?
Pokémon GO Plus is a companion device that is either clipped on or strapped to the wrist and worn like a watch. Pokémon GO functions without the Pokémon GO Plus, but the device is expected to enhance enjoyment of the augmented reality game.
Pokémon GO Plus is being developed and manufactured by Nintendo, and as of yet there is no firm release date or pricing information for Pokémon GO Plus. (We’ll update this article when there is.)
Pokémon GO Plus lets you play Pokémon GO without looking at your phone by delivering haptic feedback and flashing LEDs in a series of colours. It encourages players to look not only at their phones and Pokémon GO, but to experience what’s going on around them in the real world.
Pokémon GO Plus connects to your phone over Bluetooth and notifies you about events within the game, such as a nearby Pikachu. A button on the front of the Pokémon GO Plus also lets you perform simple actions such as throwing a Poké Ball and catching Pokémon.
Pokémon GO UK release date rumours: When is Pokémon GO coming out for Android and iPhone?
For now no exact release date is known for Pokémon GO, other than it will launch sometime in 2016. We’ll update this article with more details as they are revealed.
The rumour mill is going crazy over the upcoming game – first Pokémon GO was said to hit the US on 20 November, which as we expected turned out to be untrue, then Yibada claimed it would be a Christmas present for Pokemon fans with a December release. Well that didn’t happen.
Most Pokemon Go rumour sites are now quoting MoviePilot as saying it will launch in February 2016; in fact, it says: “Despite rumours of a February 27 2016 release (which are conjecture at best) all we really know about the upcoming AR game is that it’s set to be released sometime next year.” It also claims it won’t exit beta testing until after the New Year.
According to AndroidFreeDownload.Net it’s coming on 20 April 2016. In summary, then, no-one has a clue when Pokemon Go will be released other than “in 2016”.
The closest we’ve got to something believable came from an Ingress Report video from September 2015 (watch it below from around 1:15), in which it was claimed Pokemon Go would have an early 2016 release after entering a closed beta in winter 2015.
We were expecting to learn an awful lot more about Pokemon Go on 14 March following Niantic’s GDC 2016 session, but unfortunately it has now been cancelled.
The GDC 2016 session was expected to go into detail on the upcoming game, with the GDC schedule reporting the following: “Over the last three years, Niantic, Inc. has been defining the genre of Real World gaming, using smartphones and tablets to connect the digital world to the physical world. Niantic’s newest game, Pokemon GO, ups the challenge of real world gaming design, taking a beloved franchise and setting its hundreds of brightly-colored monsters loose across the globe, adding a new Bluetooth wearable device created by Nintendo to the mix. Join Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke as he discusses how the company has developed a unique vision for delivering a mobile Pokemon experience that gets would-be trainers into the outdoors.
“Attendees will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.”
No reason has been given for the cancellation of the event, which means we’re no closer to getting an actual release date. However, the very fact Niantic were prepared to talk about it at GDC must mean it’s almost ready to provide new details.
At the beginning of March Niantic revealed that a Pokémon GO field test was planned for Japan while the game is still in active development, and to stay tuned for information about the field test coming to other markets. The features, available languages, design and overall appearance are not final, it said.
Pokémon GO UK closed beta access: How can I join Pokemon Go closed beta?
Quite simply, you can’t. Google ‘Pokemon Go closed beta’ and you’ll find several sites claiming to offer a download for the Pokemon Go closed beta. Clearly not all can be legit, and it’s worth remembering that the deal with a closed beta is that not just anyone can sign up. To join a closed beta you must be invited. (And if you’ve come to this article wondering how to join then you haven’t been.)
On the official Pokemon site it’s worth pointing out the following statement: “No beta testing has been announced for Pokémon GO at this time. Please keep checking Pokemon.co.uk/GO for updates.”
We will update this article when we know otherwise.
Pokémon GO UK price: How much does Pokémon GO cost?
Pokémon GO will be free to download from the Google Play Store for Android and App Store for iPhone, but there will also be paid-for content available within the game. It is not yet clear whether the paid-for in-app content will be required to progress within the game.