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Pokémon Go Adds Augmented Reality And GPS To The Formula For Real World ‘Catch ‘Em All’

by Mike Futter on Sep 10, 2015 at 02:16 AM

The Pokémon Company and Nintendo have announced plans for a major push into the mobile space. The video game franchise has already sold more than 260 million copies, with mobile the next frontier.

Pokémon Go, planned for release in 2016, brings the franchise onto smartphones. In partnership with Niantic Labs, creators of a popular augmented reality game called Ingress, players will be able to find the critters in our world, capture them, and battle with others.

An optional wrist wearable called Pokémon Go Plus (Nintendo’s contribution to the partnership) will be available to enhance the experience. Players can perform game actions and receive notifications via the device to alert them about nearby Pokémon. 

According to analyst Serkan Toto, DeNA says that this isn’t the first of the partnership games with Nintendo. It is, however, Nintendo’s first serious game announcement in the mobile space.

Pokémon Go is free-to-play, and no monetization details have yet been announced. Android and iOS versions are planned.


Our Take
Assuming that the monetization is ethical and the core experience rivals a 3DS game, Nintendo might have just conceded one big reason to own its handheld. Pokémon X&Y is the top selling 3DS game at 13.99 million, with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in third place with 10.27 million. On the DS, Pokémon held the fifth, seventh, and eighth spots for a total of 45.95 units sold.

I have no doubt that mobile Pokémon will make money hand over fist. But if this game is updated regularly and offers a similar (or better) experience than the 3DS versions, parents might be further pushed to just get their kids an iDevice instead of a 3DS.

I’m not thrilled at the idea of having to buy pokéballs as a monetization method (hypothetically), but people will do it in droves. The loss of hardware sales might very well pale in comparison to the new mobile Pokécash machine.