Pokémon GO: three months later

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Pokémon GO: three months later

The app that took the world by storm looks to keep players interested

Pokémon GO players visit iconic locations to battle gyms and collect items at PokéStops. Photo by Julia Andrews.

Pokémon GO launched in July and instantly became a global phenomenon. It gained more daily active users than the social media juggernaut Twitter, Google Maps and even landed a partnership in Japan with McDonald’s. There was not a park in sight that did not have hopeful trainers striving to be the very best like no one ever was. However, Pokémon GO peaked on July 14th at 25 million users and has since been on the decline. Three months later, is Pokémon GO a fading trend, or does it still have some life in it?

If you still have PokéFever or missed the boat, do not fear. Developer Niantic is still supporting the game, arguably now more than ever. At the September Apple Event, it was revealed that the Apple Watch Series 2 would be getting a Pokémon GO app for all those who do not want to have to constantly check their phones. Hackers were also able to data mine the latest update for Pokémon GO and find coding for compatibility with Android Wear.

If you are unable to spend a few hundred dollars on a smartwatch to play Pokémon GO phone-free, Nintendo has recently released a peripheral device called Pokémon GO Plus. It’s a $35 wristband that lights up with various signals to cue the player when Pokémon or Pokéstops are nearby. A simple press of a button allows you to catch already obtained Pokémon (all unknown Pokémon must be caught via your smartphone). It also tracks your steps via Bluetooth if the app is open on your phone.

These pushes toward extra hardware show that Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are continuously looking for ways to make the game easier to play. Furthermore, a new update to the core mechanics of the game allows users to travel with a “Buddy Pokémon.” Buddy Pokémon obtain candy the longer you walk with them. Also, as a neat bonus, if you walk with Pikachu for 10 kilometers it’ll hop up on your shoulder as it does with Ash in the anime series.

Overall, Pokémon GO has a bright future with battling, trading, and more updates on the way. With over 800 Pokémon currently discovered in the Pokémon universe, there will always be plenty more to add and more available for trainers who “gotta catch ‘em all.”