Niantic, Inc., a San Francisco software development company, has teamed up with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company to co-develop Pokemon Go, a new reality Pokemon game for mobile gamers. The game recently announced their closed beta release for the upcoming winter, with a tentative release date set for early 2016, according to Venture Capitalist Post.
Pokemon Go can played on a smartphone with a mobile app, but developers are working on a smartwatch device called Pokemon Go Plus for an even greater virtual experience. Pokemon Go players will be alerted to virtual Pokemon near their location, which can lead to different phases of play in the mobile app, according to The Verge. Pokemon Go will use location markers to allow players to hunt, catch and train virtual Pokemon through searching real life surroundings and locations. This will mean that virtual Pokemon will appear right on RIT’s campus and the local community around RIT.
Ultimately, Pokemon Go allows millennials who grew up watching the classic series and playing the card game to play in a more realistic manner, every day. With RIT having been named the Geekiest Ccampus by a number of students and various news outlets, we can only guess that this game will be a giant hit at the Institute.
Courtney Desimone, a second year Illustration major, the secretary of the Electronic Game Society (EGS) and a lifelong Pokemon fan, believes that Pokemon Go could disrupt RIT campus life.
“If the Pokemon Go app delivers on what it promises, chaos will ensue on this campus.” Desimone said. “Pokemon Go will be confusing for non-players. People will potentially stop in front of bikers and longboarders just so they may battle each other using the app or catch Pokemon. Students may even leave in the middle of a class if a Pokemon pops up that they really want.”
Niantic is best known for the reality Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) game Ingress, a game that the Pittsburgh City Paper describes as a virtual capture the flag played around the world. Pokemon Go will seek to follow in the footsteps of Ingress by letting players find virtual Pokemon and battle with them in the real world by utilizing GPS. In Ingress, players use GPS devices to find portals to capture near real-world locations and monuments.
Dave Edborg, a Patrol Major for Public Safety asked that RIT students handle Pokemon Go in a similar manner to Humans vs. Zombies. This means maintaining situational awareness while playing Pokemon Go. Try to stay clear of the roads and bike paths, restrict physical contact with other players, remain respectful to other students and faculty not playing the game and try not to be disruptive to other people or especially in classes and the professor teaching the class.
The Verge reports that prices for Pokemon Go and the Pokemon Go smartwatch have not been set at this time.