With a game called Pokemon GO, which will let you ‘find Pokemon in the real world’. Here’s the official trailer/announcement video for the game:
Designed specifically for Android and iOS devices, and developed in partnership with the Pokemon Company and Niantic, it’ll involve going to real life places to encounter different Pokemon species, sort of tying the real world to the virtual Pokemon one in the process. It’ll also include in app purchases (a very controversial idea to say the least), and may in future connect to the main series games on Nintendo consoles somehow.
Above: The game’s logo
It’ll also be released with a device called a Pokemon GO Plus, which will enable players to keep playing even when not looking at their smartphone. It apparently connects via bluetooth, vibrates to alert them to a nearby Pokemon and has a single button that can be used for simple actions like catching Pokemon.
Above: The Pokemon GO Plus device
The game will be released for free in 2016.
So what do we think? Well to be honest… we’re not sure about the whole concept. On the one hand, Pokemon is just built for smartphones, since the whole concept is designed around socialising with others and playing in short bursts throughout the day. And the fact this apparently includes trading Pokemon means that Nintendo and the Pokemon Company do understand how much easier and more effective a smartphone app is for this sort of thing.
On the other hand, in app purchases make us very worried. They’re already a scourge on the industry, as well as manipulative as hell in general (the fact a lot of developers call people that spend a lot of money on them ‘whales’ kind of says it all). But when you consider the average audience for a lot of Pokemon games (younger kids and teens), then it starts to look a whole lot like the Pokemon Company and Niantic are trying to take advantage of kids and their lack of respect for money. That really annoys us about mobile games in general. Trying to lure younger people into maxing out their parents credit cards on in app content is not an ethical business practice, regardless of who does it.
But what do you think of Pokemon GO? Neat idea, or obviously exploitative?