pokemon

Pokémon GO update bringing ‘mon from the Sinnoh region is live

Posted by | Apps, augmented reality, Gaming, Mobile, niantic, pokemon, Pokémon Go | No Comments

If you’ve been laying off the Pokémon GO for a while due to a lack of new monsters, prepare to be glued to your phone again. Niantic is now adding pokémon from the rugged Sinnoh region that first appeared in 2007’s Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games.

Of course, it’s not so simple as a dump of a hundred new ‘mon into your area. The new guys are arriving in waves, likely meaning the most common sorts will start appearing today, while cooler ones and sets of themed critters will arrive over the coming weeks.

These are part of the Generation 4 set, but it’s not clear yet which will be appearing first or indeed at all. It’s entirely up to Niantic and you can be sure they’re going to mete out these little guys over several months, interspersed with other events — anything to keep you catching.

Everyone will probably have a Chimchar on their shoulder soon, because that sucker is cute, but ultimately everyone is going to want a Dialga. I get the feeling they’re going to be a regular feature at gyms soon. I for one will be working to evolve a Glaceon.

There are also some new evolutions, so don’t trash your mid-tier pokémon just yet. Magmortar, Electivire, Tangrowth and Rhyperior mean you’ll have a use for all that extra candy.

Update your app and start draining that battery, Trainer! And don’t forget that we’ve got Niantic’s Ross Finman at our AR/VR Session in LA this Thursday. Drop by if you’re in the area.

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That weird nut Pokémon that showed up in Pokémon GO? It’s official now

Posted by | Gaming, niantic, pokemon, Pokémon Go, TC | No Comments

This past Saturday, something pretty weird happened in Pokémon GO: Immediately after the monthly “Community Day” event came to a close, a strange, new, never-before-seen Pokémon showed up. And by “showed up,” I mean it was everywhere. Around the globe, this thing was spawning every few feet. A grey blob with a hex nut for a head; it wasn’t like anything that anyone had seen in-game before.

It looked like this:

Weirder yet: No one could actually catch it. If you managed to get it to stay in a Pokéball, it would always turn into something else (in most cases, it turned into a Ditto). Just a few hours later, it was mostly gone.

Was it just a glitch? Many players assumed that Niantic put this thing in as a placeholder and a glitch brought it into public view. Or did they really just drop an entirely new Pokémon into the game out of nowhere?

Three days later, we’ve got an answer: It’s not a glitch.

This video just popped up on the official Pokémon YouTube channel, shining a bit of light on what’s going on:

In short: Its name is Meltan, and it’s an upcoming Mythical Pokémon. It all seems to be a big publicity tie-in with the upcoming Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! titles that’ll launch on the Switch next month. Based on the limited info we have so far, it seems like to get a Meltan in the new games, you’ll have to catch him in Pokémon GO.

This whole stunt was pretty damned clever. Thanks to special, limited-time spawns, Pokémon GO’s Community Day events are when just about anyone who still plays the game will be actively looking at their screen. By sneaking Meltan in there for a bit at the end, they pretty much guaranteed a wave of “WTF?” would roll around the world. All for a little grey blob with a nut on his head.

As for how to catch an actual Meltan rather than a Ditto-lookalike: that’s still a mystery. Catching Mythical Pokémon in GO thus far has involved “Special Research” quests — a series of tasks that take a few days or weeks of play to complete. We might be looking at another one of those here.

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Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Posted by | Gaming, Media, pokemon, streaming, television, tv, Twitch | No Comments

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers, SNL, and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new.

According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard.

This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time, as a result. The first was a “watch and win” extension during a Doctor Who broadcast, but it was different as it focused on collecting contest entries.

Twitch also notes this will be the longest viewing event it’s ever held.

The binge will see 16 movies and 19 TV seasons with 932 episodes streamed across Twitch’s network, starting on August 27, 2018, and spanning until 2019. This will kick off with the first season, Pokémon: Indigo League at 10 AM PDT on the 27ths for audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The content will air on TwitchPresents and on its companion channels in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese.

“The Twitch community has a passion for Pokémon based on the warm embrace the series received when we celebrated the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as the cultural milestone that was set when over a hundred thousand Twitch members played Pokémon together,” said Jane Weedon, Director of Business Development at Twitch, in a statement about the launch.

The viewing event comes at a time when reports claim Twitch is going after a wider audience than just gamers. The company has been wooing creatives like vloggers, cooks, artists, and others to come to its site, instead of only broadcasting on YouTube. And it’s been airing non-esports content through marathon events like this new one with Pokémon. According to Bloomberg, TV show livestreams are one of the two fastest-growing genres on the site, the other being “IRL” (in real life) content.

The Pokémon viewing event, in particular, is aimed at a younger audience who may not have the level of nostalgia for the classic TV shows Twitch previously aired. Instead, Twitch says the livestream is appropriate for fans 13 and up – which means it could attract those whose first real exposure to Pokémon was the mobile game that went viral following its launch in 2016.

The dates and times of the Pokémon series and movies will be on Twitch Presents. The binge fest won’t include newer series, like the Sun & Moon or Sun & Moon Ultra Adventures, however.

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Pokémon GO is getting PvP by the end of the year

Posted by | Gaming, Mobile, niantic, Nintendo, pokemon, Pokémon Go | No Comments

As popular as Pokémon GO is, it has always been missing one major feature: pitting your Pokémon directly against another trainer’s. Strange, since that was the entire basis of the franchise to begin with! But the mobile game will at last get this much-requested feature by the end of the year, the company told Polish news site Gram.

After a record-shattering debut and then a long slump as players perceived the game’s shallowness and abandoned it en masse, Pokémon GO is having something of a renaissance. Improved gym and social mechanics, better reliability and, of course, a host of new ‘mon have brought players back, and it seems that features will continue to be rolled out.

What exactly the PvP mode will consist of is not clear. Chances are it will require players to be near each other, like the trading function. Though it is likely to produce some kind of reward, it likely will be limited in some other way, via a stardust or candy cost, to prevent people gaming the system.

Niantic’s Anne Beuttenmüller, in her interview with Gram, didn’t get specific. She was more interested in talking about the upcoming Ingress Prime, a sort of relaunch of the game on which Pokémon GO is essentially based; that will also be released toward the end of the year.

As for the highly anticipated Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which will no doubt involve people waving their phones around and uttering magic nonsense in full view of the public, her lips were sealed. It too will release around the end of the year! It’s going to be a busy holiday season.

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Niantic explains how and why it bans players in Pokémon GO

Posted by | Gaming, niantic, pokemon, Pokémon Go, TC | No Comments

Getting banned for cheating is nothing new in Pokémon GO. There’ve been big ol’ ban waves every few weeks for ages now.

The policies have never been totally set in stone, however — at least not publicly. Like many of the game’s mechanics, the player base has had to share info amongst themselves to figure out the offenses and their relative punishments, from slaps on the wrist to lifetime bans.

At long last, Niantic has published a proper “Three-Strike Discipline Policy.”

As the name implies, most infractions will be handled on a three-strike system. Niantic notes, however, that “some misbehaviors” (they leave that one pretty open-ended) will work out to an instant perma ban.

So what’s worthy of a strike? Spoofing (making the game think you’re somewhere you’re not), using modified Pokémon GO clients or bots or doing something that accesses Pokémon GO’s backend in an unauthorized way.

On the first strike, you’ll get a warning message. You’ll still be able to play, technically, but you won’t see anything even remotely rare for seven days.

On the second strike, they’ll close your account for a month.

On the third strike, the account is banned for good.

And if you think you got stuck in the crosshairs by accident? Niantic has an appeal process for that.

It’s worth noting that these punishments aren’t really new; bans of all variety have been happening since shortly after the game’s release. This is just the first time Niantic has really put the hows-and-whys in stone.

Niantic could probably go a few steps further in their clarifications here, though, as plenty of players are still confused as to whether or not they’re breaking the rules.

Will they get in trouble for using third-party software (like an automated IV calculator) that doesn’t modify the client or access Niantic’s backend but does provide the player with more info? What about players using third-party versions of the Go Plus hardware, like the Go-tcha? That thing pretty much automates catching/spinning as you walk around… but it’s also been sold in retail stores for years now, likely to many players who’ve never considered that this thing they bought in their local GameStop might not be allowed.

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Hands-on with Nintendo’s Poké Ball Plus

Posted by | e3 2018, Gaming, Nintendo, Poké Ball Plus, pokemon, TC | No Comments

Nintendo doesn’t come out with a ton of hardware in-between system launches, but the peripherals it does come out with have a history of being pretty quality. That being said, the Poké Ball Plus may be the nicest little game-specific system accessory Nintendo has sold yet.

At Nintendo’s big, honking E3 booth I had a chance to go hands-on with the little golf-ball sized device. Nintendo was not allowing us to take video or pictures of it during use, but rest assured, this is exactly what it looks like in real life.

For what should by all means be a gimmicky little device, Nintendo put a thoughtful amount of engineering into the little ball, which was surprisingly fun to play the new titles with and seemed to offer a lot more than nostalgia for prospective owners.

Build-wise this thing feels nice and hefty with an experience that feels a bit more immersive than using a Joy-Con because you are holding a little ball rather than flicking a controller. Additionally, there are some lights on the joystick/trigger that light up to showcase when you’ve caught a Pokémon or are housing one. You can charge the Poké Ball Plus via USB-C and you’ll get about six hours charge on it, the company tells us.

You can navigate your character through the game with the joy-stick and push it in to make selections. When it comes to actually capturing Pokémon that you encounter, you can sort of flick the little ball — there’s a strap and a little ring to ensure the ball doesn’t go flying.

Will this be something that drastically improves your experience playing the varieties of Pokemon: Let’s Go? No, but you probably won’t feel like an idiot for spending extra money on something your system’s Joy-Cons can already do if more fun is an acceptable system spec.

It’s cool, it’s cute and tiny and, similar to the Pokémon GO Plus wristband, you’ll be able to connect this to your phone and catch the little creatures on-the-go, so you are getting some added functionality if you’ve bought into Niantic’s Pokémon world on mobile, as well.

Other features beyond being able to house a Pokémon that you have captured on the move is that you can actually shake the device and hear the sound of the particular Pokémon you currently have captured. As far as fun little features go, this has a lot to offer fans.

We don’t have an official price for the accessory itself, but Nintendo did reveal today that it will be included with a $100 bundle with a copy of Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu or Eevee. You’ll also get the mythical Pokémon Mew with your Poké Ball Plus.

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Pokémon Quest hits the Nintendo Switch with two more Pokémon titles on the way

Posted by | Gaming, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, pokemon, Pokémon Go, TC, The Pokemon Company | No Comments

Much like the unique and forking joy of catching an eevee you plan to evolve, Poké trainers have some exciting branching paths ahead of them.

In a dedicated press event in Tokyo, the Pokémon Company, Nintendo and Niantic announced three new Pokémon games, with another on the way in late 2019. The first game, a casual “free to start” RPG called Pokémon Quest, is already available for download on the Nintendo Switch.

With a team of up to three Pokémon, you can explore the secrets of Tumblecube Island. Battle wild Pokémon, gather treasure, and even befriend new Pokémon—if you have the right ingredients, that is! #PokemonQuest puts the power in your hands. pic.twitter.com/BuVVenFAYR

— Pokémon (@Pokemon) May 30, 2018

Pokémon Quest revisits the well-loved core cast of ‘mons from the Kanto region (think Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow era) but with a cubist twist. The game will hit the Switch first (it’s already there!) before expanding to iOS and Android later in June. Cube charizard, be mine.

Beyond the cute cubey apéritif, a beginner-friendly set of games called Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! will hit the Switch on November 16. According to its creators, the two titles “bring the experience of a classic Pokémon RPG to Nintendo Switch with gameplay that is easily approachable for newcomers to the series, but is also deep enough to keep veteran Trainers on their toes.” We’ll see about that.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, and the #PokeBallPlus will be released on November 16, 2018 worldwide! https://t.co/kXLdxUMjjA #PokemonLetsGo pic.twitter.com/bUU3ZcnApi

— Pokémon (@Pokemon) May 30, 2018

The Pokémon Company also explained that the two games will tie into the hit mobile experience of Pokémon GO, though we don’t know the full extent of what that looks like yet:

There is a deep connection between Pokémon GO and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! For one thing, Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region that you have caught in Pokémon GO can be brought into these two new Nintendo Switch games. That’s not all, though. Look forward to more details at a later date.

Beyond the crowd-pleasing option to center either pikachu or eevee (let’s be real, you’re picking eevee), the Let’s Go games will showcase a new peripheral for the Switch known as the Poké Ball Plus that’s designed to simulate the evocative gesture that seasoned trainers know so well. Apparently, Nintendo put plenty of thought into that experience, so we’re hoping that it really brings to life the sensation of a wild animal wriggling rhythmically as its freedom seeps away, second by second.

You can use the #PokeBallPlus as a Joy-Con in #PokemonLetsGo! Good things may happen if you place one of your favorite Pokémon into the device and walk around with it in the real world. It will be able to connect to Pokémon GO as well! pic.twitter.com/I18Y55odpp

— Pokémon (@Pokemon) May 30, 2018

Pokemon CEO: Nintendo engineers helped make the Pokeball. The idea was to create the closest thing possible to an actual Pokeball that really felt like it has a Pokemon inside. Bless 😭

— Yuji Nakamura (@ynakamura56) May 30, 2018

Again, these games aren’t the core handheld title that diehard pokéfans are after, but if you’re going to have to wait until 2019 for a proper main series Pokémon RPG experience on the Switch, today’s news should offer plentiful snacks to tide you over.

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Pokémon Go creator raises $200 million ahead of Harry Potter game launch

Posted by | Apps, augmented reality, Fundings & Exits, Gaming, ingress, john hanke, mixed reality, Mobile, niantic, pokemon, pokemon company, Pokémon Go, Software, Spark Capital, TC | No Comments

 Pokémon Go creator Niantic has raised a new $200 million in funding, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Series B raise was led by Spark Capital, and includes participation from Founders Fund, Meritech, Javelin Venture Capital, You & Mr. Jones and NetEase, Inc. Spark partner Megan Quinn is also joining Niantic’s board as part of the new financing deal.
Niantic is known for its… Read More

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Niantic’s follow-up to Pokémon Go will be a Harry Potter AR game launching in 2018

Posted by | Apps, augmented reality, Entertainment, fads, Gaming, harry potter, Mobile, niantic, Niantic Labs, pokemon, Pokémon Go, Software, TC | No Comments

 Niantic Labs had tremendous success with Pokémon Go, which paired their expertise in building location-based augmented reality mobile experiences with a top-flight IP with a ravenous fan base. So, it stands to reason that we should expect a similar fan response to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an AR title set to launch in 2018, co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its new sub brand… Read More

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