NZ and Aus first to get Pokémon GO augmented reality game

Smartphone title developed by former Google subsidiary Nitanic

Pokémon GO, a augmented reality smartphone game that is the latest instalment in the popular Pokémon franchise, has made its debut in New Zealand and Australia, ahead of its launch in the US and Japan.

We were able to download the app from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store in Australia and TouchArcade reported availability in New Zealand. However according to a tweet from the Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo-based tech reporter, Takashi Mochizuki, The Pokémon Company was telling Japanese and US customers to “please wait a while” for the game.

At the time of writing the game’s official website said: “An early field test limited to the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand is under way for Pokémon GO while the game is still in active development… Please stay tuned for information about expansion of the field test to other markets.”

The field test page invites users to register their interest to participate in the trial.

Pokémon GO is built on developer Niantic’s gaming platform and enables real-world locations to be incorporated into the game.

As players move through cities and towns their handsets will vibrate to alert them to the presence of a nearby Pokémon that can then be ‘captured’ using their smartphone.

In October 2015 Nitanic raised US$30 million from the Pokémon Company, Google and Nintendo to develop Pokémon GO.

The company was founded by Google Earth co-creator John Hanke as a start-up within Google. It is best known for creating Ingress, a real world mobile game that uses geo-location technology to fuel a sci-fi story encompassing the entire world. Ingress has been downloaded more than 13 million times.

Niantic also plans to launch Bluetooth device, the Pokémon GO Plus, that notifies the player about events in the game using an LED and vibration. Players will be able to catch Pokémon or perform other simple actions by pressing the button on the device.

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Stuart Corner

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