Location-based title coming to smartphones next year

Niantic Labs bringing free-to-play Pokemon game to mobile

Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are collaborating with ex-Google owned developer Niantic Labs on a new Pokemon game for mobile.

Called Pokemon Go, the location-based title will task players with searching for the creatures in the real world. The title will be free-to-play and will include in-app purchases.

As well as the mobile title, an additional device called Pokemon Go Plus will also be released. This can be connected to the user’s smartphone via bluetooth, and will let players perform in-game actions such as catching a Pokemon. It will also notify players about the appearance of nearby Pokemon through flashes and vibrations.

As well as Niantic Labs, Game Freak game director Junichi Masuda will also contribute to the project.

“Pokémon GO is a wonderful combination of Niantic’s real world gaming platform and one of the most beloved franchises in popular culture,” said Niantic CEO John Hanke.

“Our partnership with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo is an exciting step forward in real-world gaming and using technology to help players discover the world and people around them.”

Niantic Labs was founded by Google Earth co-creator John Hanke as a start-up within Google itself. The studio developed augmented reality mobile game Ingress, which used GPS as a key component of gameplay. The game has been downloaded more than 12 million times to date.

Its latest project, Pokemon Go, will be released next year.

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