Who knew so much Nintendo news would come out of an Apple conference? Boy, how the times have changed. Granted, this is more to do with Niantic, developers of Pokémon Go and the Pokémon Company, but still, Nintendo is forever linked with the brand. From the moment Go launched this past summer I had yearned for an Apple Watch version. It just makes way too much sense for there not to be one. Of course, with Nintendo releasing its own wrist-bound Pokémon Go Plus accessory I figured an Apple Watch app would be a conflict of interest. I’m happy to discover I was wrong.
Niantic wants to encourage players to look up from their phones while walking around and still able to find those elusive Pokémon. Eggs can be added to the Apple Watch face to see how much longer you need to walk to hatch an egg. During a walk you can see how far you’ve walked and see what Pokémon are nearby. Notifications can appear when a monster appears. When players encounter a PokéStop, they can simply swipe their Apple Watch and collect the items. The summary screen from a workout (walking) will show the calories burned plus all of the Pokémon and items found during your excursion.
This app will be shipping before the end of the year. It sounds like this app will be great for notifying users of Pokémon nearby. However, it appears that to actually catch them you’ll need to get out your phone. This differs from Nintendo’s Pokémon Go Plus since that can actually try to capture the monsters via a button press. Pokémon Go for the Apple Watch should be available by the end of the year.
We just revealed how we’re bringing Pokémon GO to Apple Watch on stage at the Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
As you know, Pokémon GO is about blending gameplay and imagination with getting exercise and exploring the real world around you. Apple Watch will add a seamless way to interact with the game through easy trackers, haptic notifications and quick taps to keep playing. Additionally, the Pokémon GO app for Apple Watch encourages workouts with summaries of your activity, which fits in nicely both with Niantic’s mission to get you moving as well as with the way many people already use their Apple Watch. Pokémon GO will come to Apple Watch later in the year so stay tuned.
In other news, we have also revealed a cool milestone for Pokémon GO. In the last eight weeks, Pokémon GO surpassed 500 million downloads around the world and players have collectively walked 4.6 billion kilometers, which is the distance from Earth to Pluto. That’s pretty far out. What these numbers really show are the power of an emerging genre of new games we call “real world games” and the appeal, of course, of the beloved Pokémon universe.
Today the game is played in more than 100 countries and we are working hard to bring the game to many more. Most inspiring for us as we rolled out the game internationally has been the response from people of all ages and lifestyles describing how Pokémon GO has been a force for good in their lives. Thanks for sharing those stories, keep them coming.
It’s GO time!