Step into a populated area and there's a good chance someone nearby has their phone out on a mission to catch 'em all. Pokémon GO has taken the mobile gaming world by storm. Less than a month into its release, the game has seen record breaking downloads, making it the most downloaded mobile app in US history. There were a few server issues in the first week of release, but those have been fixed in time for the roll out to a much larger and more lucrative market -- Japan.
With Niantic's release of Pokémon GO in Japan, fans in that country will also be the first to experience the game with sponsored locations. These spots, McDonald's in particular at first, act as PokéGyms and allow opportunities for players in close proximity to battle each other for coveted Pokémon. Soon, there could be even more Pokémon market saturation with the news that a live-action film is in the works.
As reported by IGN, during the Pokémon GO panel at San Diego Comic-Con (the first game panel to take up real estate in the coveted Hall H), Niantic CEO, John Hanke, revealed that the developer has some interesting updates planned and introduced fans to the once silhouetted team leaders. Meet Candela (Team Valor), Blanche (Team Mystic), and Spark (Team Instinct) as these characters step out of the shadows:
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 24, 2016
For players that are questioning the endgame, Hanke told the packed room that the game is only about 10 percent of where Niantic wants it to be. He touched on expansion capabilities, mentioning that more Pokémon will be made available over the next several months. Eventually, players will be able to customize PokéStops, build Pokémon Centers (for healing), and there are plans to beef up PokéGym functionality. Hanke was not forthcoming with details and insisted that these ideas are still in the planning stages and are not actual confirmations.
Trading has been a big topic and feature that players have hoped for, but the CEO offered no information on that either. He did, however, make clear that server stability was their top priority at the moment because they'd have to be powerful enough to support trading. He sheepishly apologized for not having a trading feature release date yet.
Other ideas include the possibility for breeding and adding legendary Pokémon (which will likely be available once the game hits all its release regions). According to Hanke, there are still some easter eggs that have yet to be found. Happy hunting, players.
Pokémon GO is available for download on Androd and iOS mobile devices.