Come July, grown adults will take to the streets in undersized baseball caps, furiously tapping at their phones to launch hopeful balls at imaginary monsters.
This isn't in service of some new-age pagan ritual; it's because Niantic Labs' long-awaited mobile game Pokemon GO finally launches next month, free for everyone to download. The augmented-reality (AR) experience will take advantage of your phone's camera, making your favorite creatures appear in the real world right next to you.
Players will have to travel to real-world locations to find Pokemon hiding in their respective environments. For example, you can expect to find a Squirtle near the coast and a Weedle in forested areas. Rarer species might only be discoverable in a handful of locations worldwide.
But you won't have to carry your phone around every time you want to go hunting. Nintendo also announced an affiliated piece of hardware called Pokémon GO Plus.
Pokémon GO Plus
This Bluetooth-enabled device will be sold for $34.99 and can be attached to your wrist. Nintendo explains how it works:
"When the smart phone with Pokemon GO and the paired Pokemon GO Plus accessory are within range of each other, both will begin to vibrate when a Pokemon is close by. With the convenience of not having to look at your smart phone, simply press the button on the Pokemon GO Plus to attempt to catch a Pokemon while you are out and about."
It seems like a nice shortcut for battery-conscious trainers, but be aware: The GO Plus will not be available when the app launches but is expected to follow shortly after.
Speaking of unfinished features, trading will not be available in the first version of the Pokemon GO app. Nintendo wants to make sure every detail is as polished as possible before shipping it to the public.
Catch Pokemon GO when it launches on iOS and Android devices in July, free for all players, with the Pokémon GO Plus accessory available shortly after for $34.99.