While all eyes are on DeNA Games to make Nintendo's official line of smartphone games, Google's Niantic and The Pokemon Company have teamed up to launch something we weren't expecting, Pokemon Go. Nintendo claims Pokemon Go can be downloaded for no charge, which sounds like a free-to-play title to us (likely with a ton of microtransactions).

Nevertheless, Pokemon Go will have players using locations in the real world as the backdrop for their Pokemon escapades. There's going to be some kind of wearable Bluetooth-compatible device that you can buy, called the Pokemon Go Plus, which will alert you to nearby creatures to capture and trainers to battle. Of course, you probably don't need the device to actually play the game, but it'll help you become the very best, like no one ever was.

"Our challenge was to develop a great game for smart phone devices that expressed the core values of Pokemon," said Pokemon Company president and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara. "Pokemon Go is the answer to that challenge."

This new game is coming from Google's Niantic, Inc., the makers of the augmented reality game Ingress, which uses geo-location technology. I wouldn't be surprised if Niantic, Inc. utilizes your smartphone's camera to try and make Pokemon appear in the areas in front of you, which is a bit gimmicky, but cool nonetheless. Unfortunately, most augmented reality smartphone titles tend to be craptacular in terms of actual gameplay, so here's to hoping that Pokemon Go is actually good once you factor out the nostalgia for Pokemon and whatever AR tricks this might have.

"Pokemon Go is a wonderful combination of Niantic's real world gaming platform and one of the most beloved franchises in popular culture," said Niantic, Inc. CEO and founder 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."

We should note that Hanke was the founder and CEO of Keyhole, Inc, whose flagship product was acquired by Google 11 years ago and renamed Google Earth.

While Niantic, Inc. and The Pokemon Company didn't reveal a release date for Pokemon Go, you'll be able to start catching 'em all sometime in 2016 for the iOS and Android formats.

 

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