If you, like many of us, have been sucked into the vortex of Pokmon Go madness since the game released, chances are you’ll have also heard murmurs about the Pokmon Go Plus – a smart little item which allows you to catch Pokmon in Pokmon Go, collect items from passing PokStops, and be alerted to in-game events without having to keep your phone open in hand.
So what exactly is the Pokmon Go Plus, how much does it cost and when will it be available?
What is Pokmon Go Plus and how does it work?
The Pokmon Go Plus is a peripheral for Pokmon Go which can be worn either on the provided bracelet band, or as a pin on your clothes. Shaped like a combination of a Pok Ball and the Google Maps pin – because, you know, Pokmon Go is essentially Pok Balls plus maps – it’s around the size of a large smartwatch, although of course only provides functionality when used with the Pokmon Go app.
The main point of the Pokmon Go Plus is to enable you to enjoy the game – or if you’re anything like me, compulsively obsess over the game – without having to use your phone. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and will notify you of a nearby PokStop with a vibration and blinking LED. It looks like you’ll actually still have to get your phone out to check in to the PokStop and get any items however, as the official Pokmon website notes: “If you find any items, swipe or tap them to add them to your inventory.”
The Pokmon Go Plus functions in a similar way for catching Pokmon with Curveballs in Pokmon Go, as the peripheral’s light will flash when a new ‘mon draws near. The great thing here is that you don’t need to whip out your phone to then catch the Pokmon – simply press the button on the Pokmon Go Plus to throw a Pok Ball, and you’ll be notified with another flash and vibration if you were successful. The catch, however, is that you can only throw a Pok Ball if you’ve already caught that Pokmon.
The greatest benefit, really, is the fact that you can do these things without draining your phone’s battery life at anywhere near the usual rate – helpful since battery drain in Pokmon Go is a recognised issue. We still don’t know if the Pokmon Go Plus has a built in pedometer – much like the PokWalker which came with Pokmon HeartGold and SoulSilver, if you recall – and so it’s not clear if you’ll be able to rack up the mileage on your Egg hatching by wearing it.
Pokmon Go Plus Android, iPhone support – what devices will it work with?
According to the Nintendo store, the Pokmon Go Plus will be compatible with iPhone 5/5C/5S/SE/6/6S/6 Plus/6S Plus and operating systems iOS 8 – 9, following an update to the Pokmon Go app.
As for Android users, you might be in for a little bit of a wait, with Nintendo’s store claiming: “As of July 2016, the Pokmon GO Plus compatibility with phones using the Android operating system is under development.” There’s no indication at the moment of when that development will come to fruition. But when it does, then we can recommend a cheap phone for Pokmon Go that costs less than 60 / $99.
Twitter user NintendoTweet shared some images of the Pokmon Go Plus, including one of the accessory on display next to both an iPhone and Android phone last year:
— Queen Kirby Pupupu (@NintendoTweet) September 10, 2015
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Pokmon Go Plus release date, price and UK pre order
The Pokmon Go Plus is priced at 34.99 with free delivery in the UK, according to Nintendo’s own official merchandise store, however it’s currently listed as “Out of Stock” on their site.
In fact, the Pokmon Go Plus is, at the point of writing, listed as out of stock or otherwise unavailable on every online store, including Amazon, which holds the message “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” If you’re desperate to splash the cash, sellers on eBay are listing “guaranteed pre orders” of the Pokmon Go Plus for anything between 60 and 100, although there’s no guarantee of the shipping date itself.
That’s because, until now, there’s been some confusion over the actual release date of the Pokmon Go Plus. That’s finally been cleaned up by Nintendo however, with the company announcing that the Pokmon Go Plus will now release in September 2016, instead of the previously announced window of late July. There’s still no specific date within that September window.
The #PokemonGO Plus accessory will arrive in Sept. instead of the originally expected end of July. Thanks for your patience, Trainers!
— Nintendo of Europe (@NintendoEurope) July 27, 2016
Even then however, you may not be able to get your hands on one right away; Nintendo has placed a one-per-customer limit on purchasing the item, although again it’s unclear how that will play out with secondary retailers like Amazon or GAME. Either way, it’s reasonable to expect some pretty significant scarcity when the Pokmon Go Plus does finally release.