is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed and published by Niantic for iOS and Android devices.
It was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device's GPS capability to locate, 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 for additional in-game items.
Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews, but enormous popularity. Reviewers praised the game's concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing technical issues apparent at launch. Despite such reviews, it quickly became an overnight global phenomenon and one of the most used mobile apps, reportedly having been downloaded by more than 100 million people worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality gaming, as well as for promoting physical activity. However, it has also attracted controversy for contributing to accidents and becoming a public nuisance at some locations.
The idea for the game was conceived in 2013 by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company. In 2015, Ishihara dedicated his speech at the game's announcement on September 10 to Iwata, who died two months earlier. Ishihara and his wife had played Ingress. Different Pokemon will live in different areas of the world - for example, water type Pokemon will live near water. There will be events held where players can trade Pokemon to build up their collection. A wristband device called the "Pokémon Go Plus" will ship with the game, to allow a more "heads-up" gaming experience than Ingress, where the player can be alerted to a nearby pokemon by the Go Plus vibrating, press the button in a coded sequence to capture it and check the app later to find out what they've captured. The decision to create the Go Plus rather than create a smart watch app was to increase uptake among players for whom a smart watch is prohibitively expensive.
After establishing a game account, the player creates an avatar by selecting a hair, skin, and eye color; style; and outfit. Once created, the avatar is displayed on a map using the player's current geographical location. Features on the map include PokéStops and Pokémon gyms. PokéStops provide players with items, such as eggs, Poké Balls, and potions and can be equipped with items called lures, which attract wild Pokémon. Gyms serve as battle locations for team-based king of the hill matches. These are typically located at places of interest. These locations are re-purposed portals from Ingress, Niantic's previous augmented reality game.
As players move within their real world surroundings, their avatar moves within the game's map. Different Pokémon species reside in different areas of the world; for example, water-type Pokémon are generally found near water. When a player encounters a Pokémon, they may view it either in augmented reality (AR) mode or with a live rendered, generic background. AR mode uses the camera and gyroscope on the player's mobile device to display an image of a Pokémon as though it were in the real world. Players can take screen shots of the Pokémon they encounter either with or without the AR mode activated.
Unlike other installments in the Pokémon series, players in Pokémon Go do not battle wild Pokémon to capture them. During an encounter with a wild Pokémon, the player may throw a Poké Ball at it by flicking it from the bottom of the screen up toward the Pokémon. If the Pokémon is successfully caught, it will come under the ownership of the player. Factors in the success rate of capture include the right force, the right time and the type of Poké Ball used. After capturing a wild Pokémon, the player is awarded two types of in-game currencies: candies and stardust. The candies awarded by a successful catch depend on what evolutionary chain a Pokémon belongs to. A player can use stardust and candies to raise a Pokémon's "combat power" (CP). However, only candies are needed to evolve a Pokémon. Each Pokémon evolution tree has its own type of candy, which can only be used to evolve or level up. The player can also transfer the Pokémon back to the Pokémon professor to earn one more candy and create room for more Pokémon. The ultimate goal of the game is to complete the entries in the Pokédex, a comprehensive Pokémon encyclopedia, by capturing and evolving to obtain the original 151 Pokémon.
All Pokémon are displayed with a combat power. A Pokémon's combat power is a rough measure of how powerful that Pokémon is in battle. Not all Pokémon of the same species will have the same CP. Generally, as a player levels up they will catch Pokémon with higher CP.
Players earn experience points for various in-game activities. Players rise in level as they earn experience points. At level five, the player is able to battle at a Pokémon gym and join one of three teams (red for Team Valor, which uses Moltres as their mascot; blue for Team Mystic, which uses Articuno as their mascot; or yellow for Team Instinct, which uses Zapdos as their mascot), which act as larger factions within the Pokémon Go world. If players enter a Pokémon gym that is controlled by a player that is not part of their team, they can challenge the leader to lower the gym's "prestige". Once the prestige of a gym is lowered to zero, the player will take control of the gym and is able to deposit one Pokémon to defend it. Similarly, a team can upgrade the prestige of a gym under their control by battling the gym leader. Each time a gym's level is raised, another player from the same team can deposit one of their Pokémon.
Although the game is free to play, it supports in-app purchases of Poké Balls and other items. By July 14, the game's support page included the ability to submit requests for new PokéStops and gyms, but an automated email response explains that new submissions are currently not being accepted.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Pokémon GO, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.