pokemon

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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Preschoolers get their own Pokémon game with launch of Pokémon Playhouse

Posted by | Apps, children, games, Gaming, kids, Mobile, Nintendo, parents, pokemon, Pokémon Go, The Pokemon Company | No Comments

 A new app called Pokémon Playhouse from the Pokémon Company, released this week, is bringing Pikachu and friends to preschoolers. Unlike the augmented reality game Pokémon Go, a collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo by way of the Pokémon Company, this latest game is not focused on capturing Pokémon, battling and raids. Instead, it’s filled with activities appropriate for… Read More

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Escher Reality is building the backend for cross-platform mobile AR

Posted by | Android, Apps, ARkit, augmented reality, Escher Reality, Gaming, MIT, Mobile, mobile AR, pokemon, Pokémon Go, smartphone, Startups, TC, Y Combinator, yc | No Comments

 Y Combinator-backed, MIT spin-out Escher Reality is building a cross-platform toolkit and custom backend for mobile AR developers — aiming to lower the barrier to entry to building “compelling experiences”. Read More

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I went to Pokémon GO Fest to (try to) play the game with thousands of others. Here’s what it was like

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

 “Do people still play Pokémon GO?” It’s a question that pops up pretty much any time the game gets mentioned. The answer: yep! It’s rarely the sidewalk-filling, flash mob-inducing hype monster that it was for a few weeks after launch — and that’s probably better for everyone. But lots and lots of people do still play. Read More

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Revenue, I choose you! The Pokémon Company’s profits jump by 2,500 percent

Posted by | Earnings, Gaming, Mobile, pokemon, Pokémon Go, TC | No Comments

 It’s been a banner year for The Pokémon Company: Pokémon GO was a global phenomenon and the latest full-on Pokégame for the 3DS sold very well indeed. One would expect the company to be doing well financially — perhaps even doubling or tripling last year’s profits. Well, apparently it quinvigintupled them, which is to say multiplied by 25 times. (I had to look it up.) Read More

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