“Pokémon GO” is a global phenomenon. The free-to-play augmented reality mobile game was well-received in many markets that developer Niantic Labs almost couldn’t keep up with the demand for it worldwide. Less than a year since its release however, the safety of its players still remains an issue given that it is designed to be played outdoors.
Last September, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo introduced Pokémon GO Plus, a small device designed to notify players whenever a Pokémon or a PokéStop is nearby. Just like the IOS and Android mobile app, the accessory also became a smash hit that Nintendo had to apologize to customers due to shortages a month after its launch.
Given the success of Pokémon GO Plus, it appears The Pokémon Company is willing to do a follow-up to the tracking device. “Together with Nintendo, we are thinking of developing a new device that can be played more safely,” The Pokémon Company President Tsunekazu Ishihara recently told Nikkei.
Ishihara mentioned the possibility of creating a new “Pokémon GO” companion device when he was asked to comment about the series of accidents that involved players of the popular gaming app. In his response, he acknowledged the dangers of having to play the game outdoors. “We intended to make a game for people to play outdoors … The potential that players could become too involved in playing the game was already an issue at an early stage,” he said.
Ishihara also indicated that Pokémon GO Plus was actually made with the safety of players in mind. That’s why it minimized the amount of time players spent on looking down at their smartphones while playing the game. “To avoid the danger, we also released Pokémon GO Plus, the smartphone-linked wearable device, so that ‘Pokémon GO’ players [did] not have to always be looking down at their smartphone screens,” Ishihara said.
It can be noted that The Pokémon Company originally intended to launch Pokémon GO Plus alongside the “Pokémon GO” mobile app. However, the $35 accessory’s release was delayed by almost two months, as per Gamespot. Nintendo admitted at the time that the demand for the device “far exceeded” the projections it made.