Catch 'em all in real life: An augmented reality Pokemon game is coming to phones

Gotta catch 'em all, for real.

After years of hemming and hawing and will they/won’t they and “If Nintendo wanted to print money, they’d...” it’s finally happened: Nintendo is putting a game out on phones.

And they're starting with the big moneymaker, Pokémon. Check out the (super-stylized and not-at-all-indicative-of-reality) trailer below:

The game, announced at a press conference Thursday, is titled Pokémon Go and it’s coming from a surprising source—Niantic, the developer behind alternate-reality game Ingress and explore-your-surroundings app Field Trip. Niantic just announced its departure from parent company Google (or Alphabet, if you prefer) a few weeks ago, which seems like a much safer bet in light of today’s news. I mean, Ingress is big but it’s not Pokémon big.

Pokémon Go will work similar to Ingress though in that players will find and capture Pokémon as they wander around the real world. Go to the Eiffel tower, maybe you find Pikachu. Head to Los Angeles, maybe you find Weezing. I think Pokémon will spawn randomly too, so the game should have something to offer even if you’re not a globetrotter.

Pokemon Go Plus

Pokémon Go’s optional pin/wristband accessory.

You can also purchase an optional Bluetooth-powered pin (dubbed Pokémon Go Plus) that will vibrate and light-up if something’s happening in-game, freeing you from being “That person who walks around while staring at their phone screen.”

Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto compared Pokémon Go to the Nintendo 64 classic Pokémon Snap during the announcement, but this seems much more in line with the open-world collect-athons the series is known for than Snap’s languid photography tour. The trailer not only shows off capturing Pokémon but also battling against other users and—again, like Ingress—banding together to face a larger threat. In this case, that takes the form of hundreds of people fighting Mewtwo in Times Square.

Pokemon Go

Bottom line: It seems pretty much like what you’d expect from a Pokémon mobile game—surprising only in that Nintendo finally gave in and allowed it to happen, after years of people asking. Pokémon Go is slated for a 2016 launch on both the iPhone and Android.

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Hayden Dingman

PC World (US online)
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