The release date of Pokemon Go Plus has finally been announced.
According to the official Pokemon Go website, the product will be released on Friday, September 16th. It is priced at $34.99.
So what exactly is Pokemon Go Plus? Essentially, it’s a wearable device that serves as a companion to the mobile app. You strap it on your wrist, and you can then receive important notifications throughout the day without needing to always have your phone on. It will light up and vibrate when you pass by a PokeStop, and you can then tap the button to collect that Stop’s items.
You will also be alerted when there are Pokemon nearby, and pressing the button allows you to attempt a capture (but only if you’ve already captured that species before).
The device connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology, and according to Nintendo’s website, it works when the app is running in the background. However, it will not track distance unless the app is actually open and running in the foreground.
There still exist a few key questions about this device that are not answered in Niantic’s announcement or Nintendo’s product page. For example, what factors determine whether you are able to catch a Pokemon using the Plus device? All you can do is press the button, but Nintendo’s phrasing that the device will “flash and vibrate to let you know if you were successful” obviously implies it’s possible to be unsuccessful. How does that happen? Is it just completely random? In the app itself, Poke Balls can often miss their target, the Pokemon can escape, and trainers can make use of several different kinds of balls. It’s unclear how any of that will work on this wearable device that only has one button.
The most useful feature of the device seems to be getting alerts without actually having to have your phone out all the time, as well as being able to collect items from PokeStops by just pressing a button.
In addition to Plus, Niantic Labs is also working on a Pokemon Go app for Apple Watch, as they announced at Apple’s keynote this week. This app will apparently perform all of the functions of Plus and more, so those who have an Apple Watch or are planning to buy one may just want to wait for that app to launch later this year.