Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you probably haven’t failed to notice at some point in the last week a certain videogame all over the press and social media. It’s of course Pokémon Go, the augmented reality (AR) title from Niantic Labs and Nintendo. Pokémon Go only launched in New Zealand, Australia and the US to begin with, and even so Niantic Labs had server issues due to the popularity, freezing the rollout to other countries while the issue was sorted. Today things are back on track with an official release now available in the UK.
Being an AR videogame Pokémon Go is all about bringing the well known Pokémon characters into the real world by actually walking around locations to find and catch them. Just as with other Pokémon games once you’ve collected some you’ll be able to take them into battle and train them up.
Alongside the Pokémon to find there’s PokéStops to gain Pokéballs and gyms to aid in training, and all of these will be different locations in the world around you. PokéStops tend to be monuments, or other places of interest while gyms can be anywhere by the looks of it.
For those that were keen to jump straight into Pokémon Go before the official launch then there was a work around which VRFocus detailed last week. This could still be used in some countries where the videogame is yet to be available.
Such is the popularity of Pokémon Go that it’s brought AR to worldwide attention far more than any other app or videogame before it. AR is generally seen as far more fledgling in its development compared to virtual reality (VR) which has hit the consumer market with devices like Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
But with Pokémon Go free to download for smartphones its consumer appeal has been almost instantaneous, and will likely pave the way for further AR titles. VRFocus will continue its coverage of Pokémon Go and AR, reporting back with the latest announcements.