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.

Nintendo also says that Pokémon Go Plus, a fitness tracker-style Bluetooth gadget that will allow players to get alerts or even catch "wild" Pokémon without taking out their phones, will also be available sometime in "late July," at least according to previous Nintendo posts on the subject. That date may or may not have been moved back, but the gadget now has a price: $34.99. That's a bit steep for an accessory for a free-to-play game, but dedicated Pokémon fans probably won't bat an eye at the price for a screenless add-on.


Pokémon GO will task players with going out into the real world to find, catch, and battle their Pokémon, adapting the decades-old gaming formula to an augmented reality setting a la Ingress. The free game will almost certainly include in-app purchases of some sort or another, though the exact nature of the model isn't known yet. Just like the portable games, players will need to level up and collect more powerful Pokémon to be able to battle "legendary" creatures and catch 'em all. Powerful players will be able to take over location-based Pokémon Gyms, where other players can come to battle their avatars.

Pokémon trading and more advanced features like interaction with the upcoming Pokémon Sun and Moon games won't be available at launch, but they're planned for later introduction. Nintendo didn't specify whether the iOS or Android version of Pokémon GO would be available first, but the development seems to have been fairly platform agnostic up to now. Hopefully they'll come out at the same time.