Pokémon GO Brings Pikachu to Life Using AR

Back in 2014 Palmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), revealed that his dream VR project would be an official entry in Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise that allowed him to roam the world, capturing and training his own pocket monsters. Nintendo’s stance on VR implies that such an experience is a long way off, but it is being realised in part today. The Pokémon Company has announced a new entry in its famed series that brings its world to life not using VR, but instead augmented reality (AR).

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Pokémon GO has been revealed to be on its way to iOS and Android operating systems (OSs) and is developed by Niantic, a studio that’s known for its AR work with titles like Ingress. Players will be able to search the real world for virtual Pokémon that will appear on their smartphone’s screen. This is done using a separate Bluetooth device named Pokémon GO Plus, as seen above. Shaped like the iconic Poké Ball, the kit will vibrate and flash when creatures are near.

The first trailer for the experience can be seen below. It showcases how users can scour the land for Pokémon, watch them battle and even trade the ones they catch with other players, just like in the classic RPGs that started the series out on the Game Boy decades ago.

The title will be arriving on smartphones next year for free. While not a VR experience, it’s a step closer to Palmer Luckey’s dream. VRFocus will continue to follow Pokémon GO‘s progress, reporting back with the latest updates on the title.

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