Did you know that lacrosse is the official summer sport of Canada? Well it is. (I'll give you one guess for the winter sport.) But something tells me that Canada's population of idle kids, teenagers, and twenty-somethings won't be playing much this week, since Pokémon GO was just released in the Great White North. Players on Android and iOS can now download the game directly from the Play Store and App Store, respectively. It's a good thing they did release it in the summertime, since it's hard to hunt for AR monsters while trudging through snow and ice.
The United Kingdom seems considerably less, well, united than it used to be. But if there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that they want a chance to play Pokémon GO. Niantic's augmented reality take on the classic Nintendo franchise is a smash hit in its first week, though a limited launch means that only those in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and just yesterday Germany have been able to play it so far. Now that launch has officially expanded to the UK, according to the official Pokémon GO Twitter account:
There are few games more hotly anticipated than Niantic Labs' Pokémon GO, and now the first non-beta players are getting their hands on it. The Play Store listing is now live for everyone, but only those in select countries will be able to install it right now. Well, unless you head over to APK Mirror where we have the game available for download too.
Last month Nintendo started a closed beta program for Pokémon GO, the augmented reality catch-em-all game that the company has been working on with Niantic. It looks like we're very close to a public release, at least according to Nintendo's presentation at the massive E3 gaming convention. As reported by Polygon, Nintendo announced that the game will be released on smartphones sometime in July.
There are only a few months left (probably) before the young and young at heart will be able to live out their Pokémon fantasies in glorious augmented reality with the upcoming Pokémon GO game. But a select few will get an early ticket to Kanto (or wherever you set a Pokémon game with an entire planet's worth of playing surface). Today The Pokémon Company announced that it was looking for participants for the game's "Field Test," and registration is open on the US site. (It may be open to others, but we can't verify that.)
Field Trip is one of Google's less-known official apps (from the same people who work on Ingress), and appropriately, one of the most unique. The urban exploration app gets its 2.0 update today, bringing the user interface in line with Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. As nice as it is to see Google keeping its apps fresh, I have to say that the redesign takes something away in this case. Field Trip's warm texture backgrounds and custom icons were visually interesting and distinctive - the new version just looks sterile.
New above, old below
The app has jumped from version 1.22 all the way to 2.05.
Field Trip is an oddity in Google's app lineup. It comes from Niantic Labs (the people who went on to create Ingress), looks fantastic, and it's made for a very specific kind of user. The app highlights attractions of historical, cultural, and entertainment value in your immediate area, using GPS and services like Thrillist, Zagat, and Cool Hunting to create a "hyperlocal" experience. Of course, any travel app is only good if it works where you are, which was a sticking point for international users. Version 1.09 expands to more than 80 countries with support for over 30 languages.
If you've been paying attention to the news cycle lately, you've probably heard that Google—by way of the obscure "Niantic Labs"—released a game of some kind. You saw a trailer that depicted people discovering hidden energy fields within statues, landmarks, and artistic sculptures. You had no idea what was going on. You signed up for an invite anyway, because like any other weird Google product, you want in regardless of what it is. Well, I got my invite a couple days ago, and I'm happy to tell you, it's absolutely worth it.
To say that Ingress is amazing would be an understatement.
We've heard very little out of Google internal team Niantic Labs. Before today, their sole public presence was Field Trip, a mash up of Google Now and various hyperlocal points of interest. The team'' latest creation, Ingress, defies description: it's a virtual reality game in which players are tasked with going to real-world locations to harness a fictional energy source. Also there are two "teams" and every player in the world is one one or the other. Think Alliance versus Horde.
The premise seems pretty nebulous at the moment. A new source of energy has been discovered, and it's got the potential to control people's thoughts.