Although Nintendo proper is just now dipping their toe into the mobile market with Miitomo, the Pokemon Company has been around for a while now. At first, they were only producing Apps that more or less only existed to promote the brand, like the Pokedex or Pokemon TV, but last year they finally took the big step of releasing a game. Granted, that game was a port of their 3DS free-to-play Pokemon Shuffle [Free], but steps are steps. In the fall of last year, however, they announced their first big original mobile title, Pokemon Go. Developed by Niantic of Ingress [Free] fame, Pokemon Go seeks to bring Pokemon battling to the real world. Too good to be true? Well, we'll know pretty soon, as the game is officially starting its Japanese field test today.

Pokemon_Go

A couple of months ago, there was a sign-up for Japanese residents who wanted to test the game out when it was ready, and at least for Android owners, that day has come. It's hard to say how far away a release or even a soft launch is, or if any major information will come out of this since beta testers might not be allowed to talk about their experiences, but just putting the game in the hands of general players feels like a big sign that the game is nearing completion. While we know a lot of general details about Pokemon Go and a few specifics, it will be interesting to find out exactly how it's all set up. Am I really going to have to go to the beach to get a Squirtle? Is Charizard going to be found in the mouth of a real volcano like he was during that Pokemon Google thing a few years ago?

PokÇmon Go device 1 PokÇmon Go device 2

The real question is how Pokemon Go's pricing structure is going to be built. This game is clearly going to be targeting kids, and with the Japanese government starting to take a closer look at how free-to-play games sometimes exploit customers to a dangerous degree, I'd imagine the Pokemon Company doesn't want to paint too large of a target on their backs. But due to market conditions, I also can't see it being anything other than a free-to-play game with IAP support. So it remains to be seen just how much it's going to cost you in terms of money, time, and travel if you want to catch 'em all. With the field test starting, we should have our answers soon enough.

 

  • Hoodin

    I'm pretty excited for this!

  • fabell

    *blinks* Sounds interesting. But I am curious how localized this will be, and how far you will need to actually travel to "collect them all." The issues with these types of apps in the past has always been travel, for people with free time and transportation (along with a healthy budget for gas or travel) games like this are wonderful, but for most others who play games so we don't need to interact socially with the world, it becomes a different story. But it's the Pokemon company so they will probably have a more solid strategy in mind than idealistic experimenters of the past.

  • ste86uk

    Some of the details both companies released recently have destroyed some of my hype for this, I'll still give it a go but the evolution, gyms and poke stops or whatever it is don't sound great.

    Also can't believe you missed nintendo's line in that article, it's free to start not free to play

  • doublezz

    Nintendo is slow enough and I have lost patient on them. AppStore runs well without it.

  • Dr T

    I'm not happy about this being a geolocation game. That's going to shut out a lot of kids that are otherwise pokefans. How many 6-12 year old boys are walking around with a cellular enabled device?

    Sure I can play this, but my son? Not so much.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      In Japan? Probably more than half of kids. Of course, this is a frequent problem with Nintendo and TPC both: making worldwide decisions based on Japanese lifestyles.

  • LordShad0wz

    Geolocation? Why? Come on! Just make a really good Pokemon game. None of this nonsense.

    • Hoodin

      They are... Sun/Moon is coming out this year. Both can exist. 🙂

  • ricky6pgsmith

    People are just mad cause the game involes everyone getting off their fat over weight butts and actually walking n exercising stop being lazy I love this idea and will travel just to catch my favorite

  • 김지 킫밸

    Data miners already tore this game apart, it's facinating to see what all is actually in the game and what it'll be doing. All 151 Pokemon are there first gen only, character customization and you start out with just 20 pokeballs, normal only. That's all I've seen so far

  • JudasKain

    I see. A game that requires you to travel distances, socialize, throw balls at cute animals, and force said creatures to fight your wars... Sounds like a perfect way to groom future politicians. 🙂