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Pokémon GO logo

Pokémon GO is a free-to-play, mobile application developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game was initially released in July 2016.

Gameplay

In Pokémon GO, players catch various Pokémon, evolve them using candies, and power-up them in order to take control of Gyms for their chosen team. These Pokémon are mapped to locations in the real world using GPS technology. PokéStops located at various real-world landmarks aid in this by distributing items for use in catching and battling with Pokémon.

The two most recognizable screens of the game are Map View and Wild Pokémon Encounter Screen.

Map View

Main article: Map View

The Map View is essentially the main screen of the game; following the initial loading screen. Most of the game elements are accessible from this screen.

Main Menu

The Main Menu of the game is accessible from Map View and allows player to enter such game elements, as: collection of Pokémon and their eggs, in-game Shop, Pokédex and bag with Items. It also lets player to go to Settings Screen or check out Tips and News on the game.

Trainer setup

Trainer setup (also called Intro or Tutorial) is the part of the game, where Professor Willow introduces himself and shows beginner players the basic game mechanics and elements. In this part of the game Trainers select their Starter Pokémon and nicknames.

Game elements

Below there is the full list of major game elements and mechanics in Pokémon GO.

Game settings

In-game tips

In-game news

Despite social media channels, creators of the game inform players about updates and news about events and releases of new Pokémon within the game itself with News module. It has been introduced to the game after main release of Johto-region Pokémon in February, 2017 and later reworked to display more than one new update at time in early February, 2018.

Publisher information screen

After the game is launched, the very first thing that is seen by player is white screen with logo of Niantic and Pokémon Company.

Loading screen

The loading screen (or splash screen) is the first thing players see while logging into the game—following the developer and publisher information screens. [1]

It is changed from time to time and may represent newly added game feature or ongoing event.

Original loading screen

It is the very first loading screen, used since the game release. It shows male Trainer on the bridge and Gyarados. Whole design of the graphic seems simplistic, flat and might be made as vector graphic prior the using in the game. This loading screen graphic was used from July 2016 to October 2016.

Halloween 2016 loading screen

Loading screen graphic was changed for the first time in October 2016 for Halloween event. This loading screen introduced more artwork theme of the graphics for splash screen. It shows male trainer and Gengar, also out-of-range PokéStop can be seen in background.

Holiday 2016 loading screen

For Holiday event in 2016 there was yet another loading screen graphic introduced. For the first time it included more than one Pokémon and female Trainer. This loading screen shows PokéStop being decorated with Christmas lights that are powered by Pikachu in holiday hat. Also there are Snorlax, Eevee and Squirtle standing next to the PokéStop and Clefairy on the ladder leaning against the PokéStop.

New Year's Eve 2016 loading screen

Graphic artwork of loading screen for New Year's Eve in 2016 shows colourful, bright fireworks exploding in the sky. In the foreground there are four Baby Pokémon standing forward these fireworks, these Pokémon are Cleffa,Pichu, Igglybuff and Togepi. There is also trainer seen to the left in the background with Elekid standing by his side. This is the first, in the game, loading screen to feature Johto-region Pokémon.

Spring 2017 loading screen

After using New Year's Eve 2016 loading screen for over three months, it was replaced with Spring themed one. It shows female trainer on the scenery with green plains under bright blue sky, where she is walking towards Steelix that emerged from the ground destroying flat, green surface. In the background to the right from the trainer one PokéStop can be seen.

Raid Battles loading screen

Loading screen was changed again in summer 2017 with the new gyms system and Raid Battles being introduced to the game. It is the first and so far only loading screen to feature more than one trainer silhouette — two male and two female trainers. Each of them is staying around the field where Tyranitar Raid Boss is being attacked by Squirtle, Pikachu, Cyndaquil, Hoppip and Sneasel. The whole action shown in this loading screen takes place at night on the stadium.

Halloween 2017 loading screen

Loading screen was changed for the second in-game Halloween event. It was the first loading screen to feature Hoenn-region Pokémon, such as: Sableye, Shuppet, Banette, Duskull and Dusclops. These Pokémon along with Murkrow surrounded Gengar, all standing on the hill in light of the large moon. There are also three Zubats flying over other Pokémon and a Caterpie can be seen on sitting on pumpkin in the bottom part of the graphic. Additionally, there is male trainer wearing Mimikyu hat standing in the pumpkin field.

Holiday 2017 loading screen

During Holiday season in 2017, there was another loading screen that featured female trainer wearing winter had and plenty of Pokémon from Hoenn region. In the foreground there are Plusle, Minun, Spheal, Mudkip, Skitty, Delcatty, Ralts and Kirlia among holiday gifts. There are also 6 Seedots under the Christmas tree and two of them on twigs. Moreover, there are Wingull and Beautifly flying around the tree with red decoration ribbons.

Speed Limit

Screen top notices

Augmented reality

AR+

Main article: AR+

Pokémon GO Plus

Main article: Pokémon GO Plus

Easter eggs

Main article: Pokémon GO/Easter Eggs

Release and development

The game first announcement is date for September, 2015, then the game was released in July, 2016 and is under ongoing development up to day.

Development

Game was firstly announced on September 9th, 2015, the project Pokémon GO was announced by Niantic Labs, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. At the same time the initial trailer of the game was released.

Following questions were answered during the press conference with Niantic and Nintendo.

Q: How are Pokémon going to appear and how are you going to catch them, game mechanics-wise?
A: So, I’m not so sure how many people here have played Ingress and the [main series] Pokémon games, but if there are anyone in the audience who’ve played both games, you might get a better idea of what it’s like. On your mobile device you’ll have a map, and on that map Pokémon will appear. You’ll go there, you’ll encounter them, and you’ll try to catch them. Whether you’re able to do that or not — there’s a variety of factors. And then of course you can use those Pokémon to battle other players. It’s very similar to the concepts that were shown in the trailer.
Q: Won’t this game compete with the traditional games?
A: This is obviously something we discussed in great length with Nintendo, and we needed to make sure the games won’t cannibalize one another — to use one expression. So after a long discussion, we found a way to make this game fit with smartphones, which so many people have. At the same time, have it so its not competing or cannibalize the sales of the traditional games, but rather augmenting and putting strength into those sales as well.
Q: Will this be Free-to-play or pay to download?
A: The business model is called “Free-to-start.” You can download the app for free, and there will be purchases available in the app.
Q: What Languages or regions will this be available for?
A: In terms of regions, we’re planning on a world-wide release of the game. As far as languages, the main games support a wide-range of languages already. We’re working to include as many languages as we can.
Q: So in terms of where the Pokémon are going to appear in the world, is that mainly going to be based off of what Ingress uses? For example, in Ingress you’ll get [unclear] where a lot of people show up, but also have certain in-game stuff on the tip of Mt. Fuji. But considering this game is going to be played by kids as well, will there be attention to where people go? Will there be water Pokémon near the water, for example? What are you planning for that?
A: So first, that was one of the biggest topics we discussed at length when we first started this project. Where would Pokémon appear, where will we have people go? Of course there are issues where we don’t want people going into traffic, for example. So this is something we considered very heavily when developing the game. Ingress has been going on for quite some time now. I think people have been playing for 3 years now, and it’s definitely shown a lot of results. We have a lot of data and learning that we’ve gotten from Ninantic that we were really able to use to come up with ideas—ways to place the Pokémon, ways to use the data from Ingress, in a way that’s safe for the players.
Q: Are Pokémon GO and Ingress going to be a separate world from one another? Will Pokémon GO affect the world of Ingress?
A: It’s its own independent world. But we expect the communities to do things together, and for many people in the Ingress community to embrace this game as well. But they are separate worlds.
Q: I saw a lot in the video about catching Pokémon, but how is the battling of the game going to work?
A: So in terms of how the battles are going to work… In Ingress, there are Portals a player can either defend or attack. In this game, I can’t say very much, but imagine that these portals are instead a secret base or perhaps there is Pokémon there — and maybe there is some reason to battle them.
Q: Pokémon is known quite a bit for raising and training Pokémon as well. Is there going to be any of these elements in Pokémon GO?
A: In terms of, for example, Pokémon trading. That’s something we really put a lot of care into all of our Pokémon games. In the video, you saw a little of that came out as well. We’re trying to envision what players will want to do in the game, and considering this game [unclear] connected to a server, we’re hard at work coming up with ideas on how to facilitate that best.
Q: You mentioned a few times in the conference that the late Mr. Iwata was involved in this project. What do you think his thoughts of this project were, in your words?
A: So in our discussions of how Pokémon could really work on smartphones and mobile devices, one of the things that always came up is that we needed to do a new type of gameplay that had never been done before. And I think we really found that with this project. This may sound pretentious, but by adding this element of the location based data to the gameplay of Pokémon really will take it to a new dimension and the next level. And I think this will be a new stage for games.
Q: You mentioned there will be in-app purchases, which we’ve seen in a lot of games. Players with more economic power—players with more money—are able to spend their way to be able to win. How are you planning on tackling [in-app purchases] and what sorts of in-app purchases are you going to offer?
A: So this is actually one of the things we’re most hotly debating at this moment. Of course, the direction that we’re trying to take is the model in which players—we’ll have a lot of players making purchases but they don’t have to spend a lot. That’s what we’re trying to do, instead of focusing on a small group buying a lot. So I’m not able to speak to any of the specifics right here and now, but the main idea is… well, there are games out there that focus on getting a lot of money from a very small group. I can say that we’re trying to do the very opposite of that. That’s the direction we’re trying to take.
Q: For the Pokémon GO Plus, what price-point are you guys thinking of offering? My other question is, how big of difference will there be between players who play with the Pokémon GO Plus and players who just play on their smartphones? What other functionality does it offer?
A: So in terms of the price-point, I obviously can’t say the exact number right now, but we’re hard at work with Nintendo trying to offer it at a price that people find attractive. To your question of the difference between players who have it and players who don’t: right now we’re not planning on implementing a ton of extra functionality, so there’s not going to be a massive difference in what you can do with the device and without. Of course we really want to make a product that players who have it will feel like they are getting an added benefit. But at the same time we don’t want to make players without it feel like they are missing out dramatically on something.

Later on, Niantic CEO John Hanke was going to present details and demonstrate Pokémon GO during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 14th, 2016. [2]

The description said: "Attendees will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.".

Unfortunately this was cancelled on March 3rd, 2016, with the following explanation: "We have decided to forego our GDC talk on Pokemon Go in order to focus on getting the product ready for beta test and launch. As much as we hate to disappoint those in the industry attending GDC, we feel our time and energy right now are best spent on making sure every aspect of the product is where we want it to be." [3]

On March 19th, 2016, at SXSW, some footage of gameplay at its early stage was shown. It is noticeable that this footage differed a lot from the game on the day of its launch. There can be also noticed that on the caught Pokémon summary page there was section for something named "Crystals", it might be early version counterpart of stardust or candy.

The game was then planned to go into closed beta release. It was then called "field test" and was released at different dates to different countries around the world.

The closed beta finished on June 30th for all locations.

On June 16th, 2016, the game was showcased by Nintendo at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016. The game interface during the showcase was still a bit different than the one seen with the game official release, mainly regarding Map View and Pokémon encounter screen.

Availability

Pokémon GO first launched on July 6th, 2016 in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Due to server issues further releases to other countries were delated.

At this time, Pokémon GO has been released in all countries with access to the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, except for Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, mainland China, Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Congo, Angola, and Zimbabwe.

The game was released in following countries:

  • July 6th, 2016 - Released in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. [4]
  • July 13th, 2016 - Released in Germany. [5]
  • July 14th, 2016 - Released in the United Kingdom. [6]
  • July 15th, 2016 - Released in Italy, Portugal and Spain. [7]
  • July 16th, 2016 - Released in 26 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland. [8]
  • July 17th, 2016 - Released in Canada. [9]
  • July 19th, 2016 - Released in Puerto Rico. [10]
  • July 21st, 2016 - Released in Japan. (due to technical difficulties and an increasingly unhappy consumer base, Niantic released a video statement) [11]
  • July 24th, 2016 - Released in France. [12]
  • July 25th, 2016 - Released in Hong Kong. [13]
  • August 3rd, 2016 - Released in the Latin America countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. [14]
  • August 5th, 2016 - Released in countries and regions across Asia and Oceania: Aruba, Brunei, Cambodia, Curaçao, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands and Vietnam. [15]
  • September 29th, 2016 - Released in Albania, Bosnia and Herezgovina, Macau, Macedonia and Serbia. [16]
  • September 30th, 2016 - Released in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. [17]
  • October 4th, 2016 - Released in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maruitania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. [18]
  • November 17th, 2016 - Released in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. [19]
  • December 13th, 2016 - Released in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. [20]
  • January 24th, 2017 - Released in South Korea. [21]
  • September 11th, 2018 - Released in Russia. [22]

Updates

Main article: List of game updates

Just like many others online games these days, Pokémon GO, since the release of the game had numerous updates both client side - updates of game application on players' mobile devices and server side - updates of available content such as Pokémon, events and eggs.

Technical Issues

Main article: Pokémon GO/Technical Issues

In game there were and still are several glitches, bug and issues. Most of them have gone down in history but there are also several known issues, that the game creators are currently working on.

Regions

Main article: Regions

Unlike in other Pokémon games of main series, in Pokémon GO there are no generations. The whole game is consistent and publishers after releasing new Pokémon to the gameplay, they use term regions, as for example "Pokémon originally discovered in Hoenn region" or "Pokémon known from Johto region".

In original Pokémon games, regions were an organized areas of the Pokémon world known from previous games about Pokémon such as games from core series. In Pokémon GO there are currently only four regions referred, which are Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Alola.

Events

Main article: Events

Since the October, 2016, there have been various events in game that had positive impact to the gameplay. During events certain features of the game were changed to grant players with extra bonuses such as double amount of gained candies, XP and stardust. First, historical event in Pokémon GO was Halloween event in 2016.

Game Anniversaries

Pokémon GO had already two anniversaries — in July 2017 and July 2018. Both of them were celebrated with certain events such as Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago.

Device compatibility

There are few technical requirements that devices have to met to be compatible with the game. [23]

Devices with Android

Following requirements apply to all smartphones, "phablets" and tablets running on Android operating system:

  • Android 4.4 or later;
  • Preferred resolution of 720×1280 pixels (Not optimized for tablet);
  • Strong internet connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G);
  • GPS and Location Services.
  • AR+ support for various devices that are running Android 8.0 or later. See Supported Devices | ARCore | Developers for more info.

Rooted devices are not supported.

Devices with iOS

Following requirements apply to iPhones and iPads running on iOS:

  • iPhone 5s or later, [24]
    • The iPhone 5c, although newer than the iPhone 5s, is not supported;
  • iOS 9.0 or later, [24]
    • Devices need to be capable of running iOS 11 as this is the preferred OS version;
  • Strong internet connection (Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G);
  • GPS and Location Services.
  • AR+ support for iPhone SE or later and iPad 5th generation or later. See: iOS - Augmented Reality - Apple for more info.

Jailbroken devices are not supported.

Apple Watch

Pokémon GO is also available for Apple Watch of Series 2 and later, that are running on WatchOS. [25]

Game promotion

Sponsorship

Main article: Official Partners

Promotional pictures

Trailers

There were three cinematic style trailers of the game.

Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!

Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!

Pokémon GO - Adventure Together for Legendary Pokémon!

Pokémon GO - Adventure Together for Legendary Pokémon!

Pokémon GO - More Pokémon, More Adventure

Pokémon GO - More Pokémon, More Adventure. Now with Dynamic Weather Gameplay!

Trivia

References

  1. Developer Insights: A look into Pokémon GO Loading Screens. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-12-21.
  2. Cancelled: Catch 'Em All: 'Pokemon GO' and Real World Gaming. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  3. Pokemon Go GDC Presentation Canceled and Here's Why. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  4. Niantic. (2016, July 6). Break out the sneakers and Poké Balls!. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  5. Niantic. (2016, July 13). We are excited to announce that Pokémon GO is officially available to Trainers in Germany.. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  6. Niantic. (2016, July 14). UK Trainers, the wait is over. Pokémon GO is now officially available to be installed from Google Play or iTunes.. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  7. Niantic. (2016, July 15). Starting now, Trainers in Italy, Spain, and Portugal can download Pokémon GO officially from the Play Store or App Store.. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  8. Niantic. (2016, July 16). Pokémon GO Available in Twenty-Six New Countries. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  9. Niantic. (2016, July 17). Pokémon GO is now available in Canada! Discover and capture Pokémon all around you.. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  10. Telemundo PR. (2016, July 19). Pokémon Go Now Available in Puerto Rico. Telemundo – Puerto Rico. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  11. PokemonGoApp. (2016, July 21). Pokémon GO is now available to download in Japan!. Twitter. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  12. PokemonGoApp. (2016, July 23). Trainers, we are proud to reveal that #PokemonGO is officially available to download in France.. Twitter. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  13. Niantic. (2016, July 24). Pokémon GO is now available in Hong Kong! Put on your shoes, step outside, and explore the world with Pokémon GO.. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  14. Niantic. (2016, August 3). We are excited to share more details about Pokémon GO including the launch across Latin America!. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  15. Niantic. (2016, August 5). Pokémon GO is now available in countries and regions across Asia and Oceania. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  16. Niantic. (2016, September 29). Pokémon GO available in five new countries and regions. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  17. Niantic. (2016, September 30). Pokémon GO available in six new countries. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  18. Niantic. (2016, October 4). Pokémon GO available in thirty-one new countries. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  19. Niantic. (2016, November 17). Pokémon GO available in eight new countries in the Middle East. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  20. Niantic. (2016, December 13). Pokémon GO is now available in India and other South Asian Countries!. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  21. PokemonGoApp. (2017, January 23). We’re excited to announce that Pokémon GO is now officially available for download in South Korea. Get up and GO!. Twitter. Retrieved on 2017-06-22.
  22. Pokemon Go finally available in Russia (both Google Play and Appstore). r/TheSilphRoad. Retrieved on 2018-09-19.
  23. Niantic, Inc. - Supported devices
  24. 24.0 24.1 Pokémon GO to discontinue support on Apple devices that are not capable of upgrading to iOS 11. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2018-01-10.
  25. HEADS UP!. Pokémon GO Live. Retrieved on 2016-09-07.

External links

Official download