What Is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based, augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. It was first released in July 2016 and is gradually being rolled out for the rest of the world.
In the game, players use the smart device’s GPS and camera to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The game supports in-app purchases, which are used for additional game play items.
Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews. Reviewers praised the game’s concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing technical issues apparent at launch.
It quickly became one of the most used mobile apps shortly after release, and was downloaded by more than 75 million people worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality gaming, as well as for promoting physical activity. It also attracted controversy for contributing to accidents and becoming a public nuisance at some locations.
The concept for the game was conceived in 2014 by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company as an April Fool’s Day collaboration with Google, called Pokémon Challenge. Ishihara was a fan of developer Niantic’s previous transreality game, Ingress, and saw the game’s concept as a perfect match for the Pokémon series.
Niantic used the crowd sourced data from Ingress to populate the locations for PokéStops and gyms within Pokémon Go. In 2015, Ishihara dedicated his speech at the game’s announcement on September 10 to Iwata, who died two months earlier.
The game’s soundtrack was written by longtime Pokémon series composer, Junichi Masuda, who also assisted with some of the game’s design. Among the game’s visual designers was Dennis Hwang, who previously worked at Google and created the logo of Gmail.