Pokémon Go is setting the world on fire, already becoming one of the most popular games in the world. That’s in part due to the fact that the game is totally free to play, with no in-app purchases required to get as much out of the game as you’d want.
But there do exist ways that players can spend a bit more money to get a better experience with Pokémon Go. For one, there’s Pokémon Go Plus, which will hit store shelves in September and which is already selling out in basically every store in existence. It will surely be one of the hottest items of Christmas 2016.
So what exactly is Pokémon Go Plus? Will it be worth buying? Here’s everything you need to know.
1. It’s a Wearable Device
Pokemon Go Plus sounds like some sort of premium subscription service i.e. Hulu Plus, but it’s actually just a wearable device that players use to enhance their gameplay.
Plus is essentially a wristband that has a Poke Ball shaped light attached to it. It’s not a standalone device, but rather a companion which uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the player’s phone. It’s kind of like a cheap smartwatch that only works with Pokemon Go.
If you don’t want to wear it on your wrist, the Plus device can also be detached from its strap and clipped on to a shirt or belt. Having one will eliminate the need to constantly be staring at your phone, and it will also make it much easier to play the game while jogging or riding a bike, for example.
2. It Costs $34.99
Though Pokemon Go might be a free game, players who wish to participate in Plus will have to drop some cash on it. However, the price is roughly in line with what a full Pokemon game traditionally costs anyway: $34.99. As of now, it doesn’t appear there will be any Pokemon Go Plus apps available for people who already own smartwatches.
This is all assuming you can actually get your hands on one anytime soon. Pokemon Go Plus is currently sold out in virtually every store, retail or online. Preorders for the device are selling on Ebay for up to $250, so if you don’t want to pay seven times the price, you may want to hold off for a bit.
3. You Can Catch Pokémon Without Using Your Phone
The main idea behind Pokémon Go Plus is that those who purchase it will be able to play the game without having to be staring at their phone all the time. Among other features, those who have one can catch Pokémon without ever having to take their phone out of their pocket.
When a Pokémon is nearby, a green light will flash on your Plus device. From there, all you have to do is press the button to throw a Poke Ball, and the device will vibrate if you were successful.
However, this only works for Pokemon species you have already captured. If it’s a brand new species, you’ll still have to whip out your phone to catch the Pokemon, which makes Plus a bit less exciting. And it seems there is also no way to control your throw, which is a valuable method for racking up XP in the main game.
4. It Notifies Players When They’re Near PokeStops
Another valuable feature of Plus is that players will always know when they’re near a PokeStop without obsessively checking their map while walking around.
When you’re in the vicinity of a PokeStop, those real-life locations that will give players items, the light will blink and the device will begin vibrating. You will apparently be able to collect items from the PokeStop using the Plus device itself, although it’s not yet clear how that will work.
Either way, it’s mainly a nifty little way to get a heads-up that you should check in on the game, whereas players without Plus might not realize they were passing a PokeStop at all and might miss out on many items.
5. It Comes Out in September
So when can you get your hands on a Pokemon Go Plus device? Well, the device was originally scheduled to be released at the end of July, but Nintendo recently announced that the product had been delayed until September.
Nintendo did not provide any explanation for the delay, and no specific date in September was provided.