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Video Game / Pokémon GO

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Imagine Pokémon in The Real World.

Pokémon GO is an Augmented Reality Pokémon game for mobile devices made as a collaboration between Niantic Labs (creators of Ingress), Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company. It allows players to journey to real-world locations to find and catch wild Pokémon, as well as battle other trainers and participate in large group events. The game was planned to be released alongside the Pokémon Go Plus, which uses a Bluetooth connection to notify users when a Pokémon is nearby, but these plans fell through as numerous server stress issues surfaced. It was released on July 6th 2016 for iOS and Android devices.

At release, the game initially only had Pokémon from Generation I (Pokémon Red and Blue), minus the legendary Pokémon and Ditto, which were eventually patched in. The full roster of Generation II Pokémon (Pokémon Gold and Silver), minus their legendaries, Smeargle, and Delibird, was added in February of 2017, though a few of the Baby Pokémon from that generation were added as part of the previous year's Christmas event. The majority of Generation III (Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire) was added in increments between October 2017 and February 2018. The first wave of Generation IV Pokémon (Pokémon Diamond and Pearl) arrived in the middle of October 2018, with a second wave arriving a week later, and a smaller third wave in May 2019. The first wave of Generation V Pokémon (Pokémon Black and White) came out in September 2019, December 2020 brought the first wave of Generation VI (Pokémon X and Y) Pokémon, and March 2022 would do the same for Alolan Pokemon (Pokémon Sun and Moon).

In June of 2017, raids were added to the game, which allows groups of players to team up to fight a single giant "boss" Pokémon. These were soon followed by raids featuring Legendary Pokémon, starting with Lugia and the three legendary Kanto birds. Legendary raids appear on a rotational basis, with a new species being featured approximately once per month. Initially there were five tiers for Raids, the upper level being reserved for Legendary Pokémon, but the September 2020 update brought down tier levels to just three. EX Raids, whose main feature was that anyone could be invited regardless if they were at a place or not, were introduced near the end of 2017. During the COVID-19 pandemic, EX Raids were halted and players could now invite up to 5 friends for any Raid.

In March of 2018, a Field Research system was added, which allows players to undertake daily quests for rewards. Quest chains called Special Research are also available, with the first two giving the mythical Pokémon Mew and Celebi respectively as rewards for their completion.

In late May 2018, it was announced that Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, a Nintendo Switch title that combines the catching elements of Pokémon GO with the mechanics of the main series Pokémon titles, would be released November 2018. The game is compatible with Pokémon GO, allowing players to upload Pokémon they've caught in GO into Let's Go!, although limited to Generation I Pokémon and their Alolan forms, and the eventually revealed Meltan and Melmetal. In May 2019, compatibility with Pokémon HOME, an early 2020 storage cloud service succesor to Pokémon Bank was announced. It would allow GO players to transfer (one-way only) Pokémon caught in GO to the service where they can be stored and later brought to the mainline games starting with Pokémon Sword and Shield. This functionality was enabled in mid-November 2020.

On July 25th, 2019, Team Go Rocket was unleashed, occupying Poké Stops with the goal of draining their resources dry and challenging Trainers to battles with corrupted Shadow Pokémon. On November 2nd, 2019 the Team GO Rocket Leaders (Arlo, Cliff and Sierra) as well as Giovanni, their boss, made their way to the game in the form of Rocket Radars and a dedicated mission chain. On June 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special balloons began appearing in the map, allowing players to fight Rockets, and later on, Jessie and James made their way into the game.

The game features a tie-in accessory, the Pokémon GO Plus, which allows players to play Pokémon GO passively by connecting to the user's smartphone and tracking steps taken, spinning Poké Stops, and attempting to catch wild Pokémon with Poké Balls even while the game is inactive. A successor, the Pokémon GO Plus+, was released in 2023, which adds the ability to throw Great Balls and Ultra Balls at wild Pokémon and features functionality with Pokémon Sleep. The Poké Ball Plus Joy-Con released with the Let's Go games also functions as a Pokémon GO Plus, in addition to its functionality as a controller/toy combination with its own game.

No relation to the fanfic of the same name. Or to Square Enix Montreal's Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deus Ex GO; which are also mobile spinoffs to console game series (though SE Montreal has cracked jokes about the similarity).

Compare Ingress, its predecessor, and its followups Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pikmin Bloom. The other three games made by Niantic and based on the same geolocation-based premise.

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