Catch Pokemon in real life with Nintendo's upcoming mobile game

It's not the first Pokemon game available on mobile, but 2016's Pokemon Go is an augmented-reality game that lets humans capture, train and battle Pokemon in the real world.

Anthony Domanico
CNET freelancer Anthony Domanico is passionate about all kinds of gadgets and apps. When not making words for the Internet, he can be found watching Star Wars or "Doctor Who" for like the zillionth time. His other car is a Tardis.
Anthony Domanico
2 min read

Are you iPhone and Android users out there ready to channel your inner Ash and journey into the world to catch and train some Pokemon? An upcoming mobile game from Nintendo will let you to do just that.

Earlier this year, we learned that the perennial video game maker was finally planning to develop games for mobile platforms. On Wednesday, Nintendo shared a video on the official Pokemon YouTube channel announcing Pokemon Go, an upcoming augmented-reality game built by the folks at Niantic, a former Google startup that developed a similar game called Ingress.

In the clip, we see various people around New York City using their smartphones to track down digital versions of Pokemon creatures scattered around the metropolis.

Pokemon battle it out on a bridge in Pokemon GO. Video screenshot by Anthony Domanico/CNET

Like the various Pokemon games Nintendo has developed, users can catch these Pokemon, then train them to grow the creatures' strength and other stats and either trade with or battle other user's Pokemon. Or, users can team with other players around the world to complete challenges like the one in the video, where hundreds of people swarmed Times Square to defeat the powerful Mewtwo Pokemon.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing about Pokemon Go is that Nintendo has built a smartwatch of sorts -- the Pokemon Go Plus -- as an optional accessory for the game.

According to The Verge, Nintendo created the Go Plus to give gamers a way to play without needing to be constantly looking at their phones. The device looks like a Poke Ball used to catch a Pokemon and will both buzz and light up when you're near a catch-able Pokemon in the real world. Once you get the notification, you can take out your phone and capture the wild Pokemon to add to your arsenal.

Pokemon Go will come to Android and iOS sometime in 2016 as a free-to-play game with in-app purchases. We'll likely learn more about the game and its monetization model as 2016 approaches.

The Pokemon Go game is a pretty intriguing concept, and might succeed where Ingress has failed to attract a significant number of users. Because if anything can get people to play an augmented-reality game on their smartphones, it's Pokemon -- because you just gotta catch 'em all.