Pokémon Go fans have finally received the news that they have been waiting for: the long-awaited Pokémon Go wearable is coming, and it’s coming soon. Fortune reports that Nintendo has announced the release of the highly anticipated wearable accessory, known as Pokémon Go Plus, and that it will be available “in most countries” on 16 September.
— PokéSteal (@PokeSteal) September 8, 2016
While it is not yet known what “most countries” includes, it is hoped that the majority of Pokémon Go fans will be able to access the wearable accessory shortly after its launch next week.
The new Pokémon Go wearable device, set at a surprisingly affordable price point of $35, is reportedly powered by Bluetooth Smart, a low-energy version of Bluetooth that was designed specifically for similar health and fitness wearables. The new device can be worn as a pin or on the Pokémon Go players wrist, and is designed to light up and vibrate when the user is in the vicinity of a Pokéstop or a Pokémon ready to be caught.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) September 8, 2016
The new wearable may even go some way toward satiating Pokémon Go‘s critics, who argue that the app is distracting and even dangerous. Many reports have emerged since the app’s launch two months ago, including the death of two men who walked straight off the edge of a cliff while playing Pokémon Go in California, as well as several mild injuries, robberies, and an alarming surge in reports of trespassing.
While the new Pokémon Go Plus wearable may not prevent trespassing, it will hopefully go some way towards preventing injuries that have been caused by Pokémon Go users being distracted by the phone-based app.
Gizmodo was less than impressed with the news of the soon to be launched wearable, calling it “little more than a hunk of plastic that vibrates and flashes when any activity occurs in the Pokémon Go app.” It did, however, provide another important detail about one of the functions of the wearable: that a Pokémon will be able to be caught directly from the Pokémon Go wearable without the player having to pull out their phone, provided that they have already caught that particular Pokémon before.
— The Straits Times (@STcom) September 8, 2016
While the popularity of Pokémon Go has admittedly (and somewhat expectedly) dipped since its launch two months ago, Gizmodo seem to be of the opinion that Pokémon Go is on its way out. Indeed, The Verge reported that Pokémon Go saw 45 million active users at its peak in late July, which dipped to 30 million active users around the middle of August.
It is perhaps to be expected that, as with any new fad, and given the unprecedented amount of media attention that Pokémon Go received shortly after its launch, there would be a sizable number of people who would download and begin to use the app, even if just to see what all the hype was about. The fact that the number of active users remained at 30 million in mid-August speaks, some would argue, to the app’s relative success and suggests at its longevity.
— Pokémon GO News (@PokemonGoNews) September 8, 2016
Gizmodo, on the other hand, seems to be of the opinion that Pokémon Go was only ever popular with the elderly, saying that people should check with their “geriatric parents” before buying the new Pokémon Go wearable as a gift.
“Maybe double check with your geriatric parents to see if their [sic] still playing before dropping mystery amounts of dollars on the device for them as a gift.”
Only time will tell as to whether Pokémon Go will continue to succeed as much as it has done in its first few months, but in any event, Pokémon Go fans are eagerly anticipating the release of the new wearable.
[Photos courtesy nintendo.com, ©2016 Pokémon. ©1995-2016 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.]