UPDATE 09/14/16: It appears that Pokemon GO Plus will, in fact, be able to track movement (among other features). Full article here.
Are you like many players who, back in July, couldn't wait to get your hands (wrist?) on a Pokémon GO Plus wearable? Were you as disappointed as I was when the accessory was eventually delayed? Thankfully, the wait is nearly over, as the highly fashionable wearable comes to most parts of the world on September 16th.
However, it may not work exactly as you're expecting it to.
It Will Not Track Distance Traveled — Which Means No Egg Hatching Or Buddy Candies
Personally, this is the part of the wearable that I'm most surprised about. And frankly, it's a bit disappointing. To me, the wearable was most appealing because it meant I didn't have to stare at my phone all the time or leave my phone on and feel for it vibrating in my pocket.
If the wearable can't track my movement, that means I'll still have to keep my phone on if I want to hatch eggs or gain candy via the new buddy system. And if that's the case, I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on the Plus wearable.
It Can Only Catch Pokémon You Have Already Caught, And Only With Standard Poké Balls
This one is definitely a downside, but not necessarily the end of the world. Catching Pokémon with the Plus wearable will still be a great way to gain extra candies and XP. But it won't be a way to catch new Pokemon.
The twist of the dagger, however, is that the wearable also won't be able to change your Poké Ball type, use Razz Berries, or detect Pokémon that are attracted by Incense or Lures.
Hopefully this is something that can be changed via an update, though, because it's a big part of the game. Gotta catch 'em all, right?
So What Does The Wearable Actually Do?
With all of the above, it might be making you wonder what the Plus wristband actually does or why you might want it. To be honest, it's still a great device for catching Pokémon on the go (no pun intended).
If there are a lot of Pokémon in your area or you're looking for a way to mindlessly grind XP while you're out and about, this is perfect. You don't have to leave your phone on for the Pokémon-catching part to work, which is a major boon to your phone's battery life.
It's also a great way to catch Pokémon without looking at your phone all the time, which will probably save at least a few people some embarrassing moments. All the same, it's definitely not a perfect system.
How Could Niantic Make The 'Pokémon GO' Plus Wearable Better?
It's not hard to imagine a world in which everyone interested in Pokémon GO wants to buy the Plus wristband. With a few changes, Niantic could make the device a must-have for any fans:
- The device needs to track movement. This should honestly be one of Niantic's top priorities right now, as movement tracking helps hatch Eggs and earn candy.
- If it can't catch new Pokémon, it needs to at least alert players of their presence. You don't want to miss a Blastoise or Charizard just because you're using the wearable, do you?
- While we're making a wishlist, it would be nice if the wearable could use NFC (near-field communication) to trade Pokémon with others.
Sure, there are plenty more features Niantic could add to make the Plus more attractive, but the above three are my top choices. Hopefully all of these features can be added via updates and won't require any sort of version 2.0 of the wearable, but I suppose time will tell. Until then, I'll be keeping an eye on updates before I purchase one for myself.
Will You Be Buying A 'Pokémon GO' Plus? If Not, What Features Do You Want Added To It?