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This page attempts to create a timeline of events leading up to the release of the Pokémon GO app.

Initial AnnouncementsEdit

On 10th September 2015, the project Pokémon GO was announced by Niantic Labs, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. 

Pokémon GO「株式会社ポケモン新事業発表会」記者会見- New announcement about『Pokémon GO』01:14:39

Pokémon GO「株式会社ポケモン新事業発表会」記者会見- New announcement about『Pokémon GO』

Question Answer
How are Pokémon GOing to appear and how are you going to catch them, game mechanics-wise? So, I’m not so sure how many people here have played Ingress and the [main series] Pokémon games, but if there are anyone in the audience who’ve played both games, you might get a better idea of what it’s like. On your mobile device you’ll have a map, and on that map Pokémon will appear. You’ll go there, you’ll encounter them, and you’ll try to catch them. Whether you’re able to do that or not—there’s a variety of factors. And then of course you can use those Pokémon to battle other players. It’s very similar to the concepts that were shown in the [trailer].
Won’t this game compete with the traditional games? This is obviously something we discussed in great length with Nintendo, and we needed to make sure the games won’t cannibalize one another—to use one expression. So after a long discussion, we found a way to make this game fit with smartphones, which so many people have. At the same time, have it so its not competing or cannibalize the sales of the traditional games, but rather augmenting and putting strength into those sales as well.
Will this be Free-to-play or pay to download? The business model is called “Free-to-start.” You can download the app for free, and there will be purchases available in the app.
What Languages or regions will this be available for? In terms of regions, we’re planning on a world-wide release of the game. As far as languages, the main games support a wide-range of languages already. We’re working to include as many languages as we can.
So in terms of where the Pokémon are going to appear in the world, is that mainly going to be based off of what Ingress uses? For example, in Ingress you’ll get [unclear] where a lot of people show up, but also have certain in-game stuff on the tip of Mt. Fuji. But considering this game is going to be played by kids as well, will there be attention to where people go? Will there be water Pokémon near the water, for example? What are you planning for that? So first, that was one of the biggest topics we discussed at length when we first started this project. Where would Pokémon appear, where will we have people go? Of course there are issues where we don’t want people going into traffic, for example. So this is something we considered very heavily when developing the game. Ingress has been going on for quite some time now. I think people have been playing for 3 years now, and it’s definitely shown a lot of results. We have a lot of data and learning that we’ve gotten from Ninantic that we were really able to use to come up with ideas—ways to place the Pokémon, ways to use the data from Ingress, in a way that’s safe for the players.
Are Pokémon GO and Ingress going to be a separate world from one another? Will Pokémon GO affect the world of Ingress? It’s its own independent world. But we expect the communities to do things together, and for many people in the Ingress community to embrace this game as well. But they are separate worlds.
I saw a lot in the video about catching Pokémon, but how is the battling of the game going to work? So in terms of how the battles are going to work… In Ingress, there are Portals a player can either defend or attack. In this game, I can’t say very much, but imagine that these portals are instead a secret base—or perhaps there is Pokémon there—and maybe there is some reason to battle them.
Pokémon is known quite a bit for raising and training Pokémon as well. Is there going to be any of these elements in Pokémon GO? In terms of, for example, Pokémon trading. That’s something we really put a lot of care into all of our Pokémon games. In the video, you saw a little of that came out as well. We’re trying to envision what players will want to do in the game, and considering this game [unclear] connected to a server, we’re hard at work coming up with ideas on how to facilitate that best.
You mentioned a few times in the conference that the late Mr. Iwata was involved in this project. What do you think his thoughts of this project were, in your words? So in our discussions of how Pokémon could really work on smartphones and mobile devices, one of the things that always came up is that we needed to do a new type of gameplay that had never been done before. And I think we really found that with this project. This may sound pretentious, but by adding this element of the location based data to the gameplay of Pokémon really will take it to a new dimension and the next level. And I think this will be a new stage for games.
You mentioned there will be in-app purchases, which we’ve seen in a lot of games. Players with more economic power—players with more money—are able to spend their way to be able to win. How are you planning on tackling [in-app purchases] and what sorts of in-app purchases are you going to offer? So this is actually one of the things we’re most hotly debating at this moment. Of course, the direction that we’re trying to take is the model in which players—we’ll have a lot of players making purchases but they don’t have to spend a lot. That’s what we’re trying to do, instead of focusing on a small group buying a lot. So I’m not able to speak to any of the specifics right here and now, but the main idea is… well, there are games out there that focus on getting a lot of money from a very small group. I can say that we’re trying to do the very opposite of that. That’s the direction we’re trying to take.
For the Pokémon GO Plus, what price-point are you guys thinking of offering? My other question is, how big of difference will there be between players who play with the Pokémon GO Plus and players who just play on their smartphones? What other functionality does it offer? So in terms of the price-point, I obviously can’t say the exact number right now, but we’re hard at work with Nintendo trying to offer it at a price that people find attractive. To your question of the difference between players who have it and players who don’t: right now we’re not planning on implementing a ton of extra functionality, so there’s not going to be a massive difference in what you can do with the device and without. Of course we really want to make a product that players who have it will feel like they are getting an added benefit. But at the same time we don’t want to make players without it feel like they are missing out dramatically on something.
At the same time the initial trailer was released:
Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!03:05

Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!

  • Niantic CEO John Hanke was going to present details and demonstrate Pokémon GO during the Game Developers Conference[1] in San Francisco on 14 of March 2016. The description said "Attendees will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.". Unfortunately this was canceled on 3rd March with the following explanation: "We have decided to forego our GDC talk on Pokemon Go in order to focus on getting the product ready for beta test and launch. As much as we hate to disappoint those in the industry attending GDC, we feel our time and energy right now are best spent on making sure every aspect of the product is where we want it to be".[2]
  • On March 19th at SXSW, some footage was shown:
Pokemon Go Gameplay First Look SXSW Gaming01:14

Pokemon Go Gameplay First Look SXSW Gaming

Closed BetaEdit

The game was then planned to go into closed beta before it was released. It would be then called field test and it was released at different dates in different locations around the world.

  • 28th March - Japan
  • 25th April - New Zealand / Australia
  • 25th May - USA

The closed beta would finish on 30th June for all locations.

On the 16th June, the game was showcased at E3:

Pokémon GO - Demonstration - Nintendo E3 201644:24

Pokémon GO - Demonstration - Nintendo E3 2016

ReleaseEdit

  • 5th July 2016 - Released in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
    • Server issues delayed further releases to other countries.
  • 13th July - Released in Germany.
  • 14th July - Released in the UK.
  • 15th July - Released in Italy, Portugal and Spain.
  • 16th July - Released in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • 17th July - Released in Canada.
  • 21st July - Released in Japan.
    • Due to technical difficulties and an increasingly unhappy consumer base, Niantic released a video statement:
      Pokémon GO 開発者メッセージ01:33

      Pokémon GO 開発者メッセージ

  • 24th July - Released in France.
  • 25th July - Released in Hong Kong.
  • 4th August - Released in South and Central America.
  • 6th August - Released in Brunei, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • 29th September - Released in Albania, Bosnia and Herezgovina, Macau, Macedonia and Serbia.
  • 30th September - Released in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • 4th October - Released in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar,Malawi, Maruitania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
  • 17th November - Released in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates
  • 13th December - Released in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • 24th January 2017 - Released in South Korea.

Important QuotesEdit

  • "Pokemon, obviously, you’d go out into the real world and find Pokemon and battle them against other players and trade them and go to gyms. That’s how it’s going to work." - John Hanke [3]
  • "We’ve learned a lot on those fronts with Ingress. Even if you’re in a small town — I grew up in a town of 1,000 people in Texas. We had that as a design goal. If we’re going to build a game that works with location, it has to be fun for people anywhere to play, in small towns as well as San Francisco. If we designed something that only worked in San Francisco, it wouldn’t be a real success. We wanted it to work globally." - John Hanke [3]
  • "Our goal is to make it so you can walk out of the house and within five minutes, you can find Pokémon. It may not be the most rare Pokémon in the world, but there’ll be a population of Pokémon living near all our players. Gyms will be a bit more rare. You want to find gyms so you can level up your Pokémon and battle there, so it will take a little more effort to get there." - John Hanke [3]
  • "Pokémon will live in different parts of the world depending on what type of Pokémon they are. Water Pokémon will live near the water. It may be that certain Pokémon will only exist in certain parts of the world. Very rare Pokémon may exist in very few places. But you can trade. If you live in a place with lots of water Pokémon and you come to an event — we have these Ingress events that are getting bigger and bigger.John Hanke [3]
  • "We’ll have events for Pokémon as well. Those are competitive, but they can also be places to trade stuff with other players. Pokémon trading is going to be huge. You can’t get all of them by yourself. If you want all of them you’ll have to trade with other players. Or you have to be someone who takes time off work and travels the world for a year. There may be people who do that." John Hanke [3]
  • "There will be teams to join in Pokémon, more than two. Those teams will compete against one another.John Hanke [3]
    • [On the Pokemon Go Plus] "Why not have a little device that buzzes when you’re near something important? You can interact with it in some subtle way, and then later on you can open up your app or your tablet and you see, 'Oh, I got this or did that.'"  "It’s more limited, but it’s heads-up gameplay. I can show you the design prototype. It’s very slightly bigger, a bit heavier, but this is pretty much the size of it. It comes with a bracelet so you can wear it like a wrist device. It’s Fitbit-ish in terms of size. Battery lasts a long time. You don’t have to worry about charging all the time. This is a multicolor LED and button. You’ll notice that it’s the Google Map pen with the Pokeball shape and color fused together. You can imagine kids going to school with this on their backpack." John Hanke [3]
  • Like most free-to-play games today, Pokemon Go will rely on microtransactions to generate revenue. A spokesman for Niantic declined to say what kinds of items will be for sale but said the the game won’t include ads.[4]
  • In the interview -- via Serebii -- Japan, Europe and North America were revealed to be the first regions to receive the mobile app. Ishihara did say in the interview that South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East will get the mobile game later on.[5]

References Edit

  1. Cancelled: Catch 'Em All: 'Pokemon GO' and Real World Gaming. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  2. Pokemon Go GDC Presentation Canceled and Here's Why. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 How Pokémon Go will benefit from Niantic's lessons from Ingress on location-based game design. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  4. How Pokémon 'Pokémon Go' Wants to Take Monster Battles to the Street. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.
  5. 'Pokémon Go' Release Date: Pokémon Company CEO Talks Rollout Details And An Upcoming 'Big' Project. Retrieved on 22 August 2016.

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