'Pokmon GO' release date: Niantic CEO John Hanke talks about augmented reality gaming


In a recent interview, Niantic Labs Inc. CEO John Hanke went out and discussed, in a rare chance, the upcoming “Pokmon GO” augmented reality (AR) game and detailed what fans can expect from it.

“We know that dynamic from the ‘Ingress’ experience works really well, drives a real-world social dynamic,” Hanke told The Verge. “It’s something you can do, like seeing a movie, going to a baseball game, going to the park. It’s something you can do with your friends, and go outside.”

Niantic’s close working relationship with both Nintendo and The Pokmon Company, Hanke said, has helped them develop “Pokmon GO” to not be something that is a recreation of “Ingress” but instead a new AR game that has a unique identity of its own.

When it comes to capturing Pokmon, Hanke also shared that while fans from the classic games all the way from the first Game Boy game may have been used to the capturing mechanics for Pokmon, they do not intend to adapt that to the new game, so as to promote an easier and more enjoyable Pokmon capturing experience. In the old games, players needed to scour grass patches in order to find wild Pokmon and mostly, it would only be the same Pokmon over and over again.

“We’re not trying to re-create the experience of the game. Those are great experiences. It would be silly for us to try and port that to mobile,” he added.

As for the game’s locations, Hanke explained that the game would not only have people go out but they would also experience “Pokmon” in real life scenarios. The locations wherein Pokmon and Gyms would be placed would also allow players to visit and perhaps appreciate the beauty of the landmarks in their local locations.

“The key points in ‘Pokmon Go’ are built around historical places, museums, a fountain in your park,” he said. The game aims to make players go out and “help people discover the awesome stuff in your town.”

The future of the game is uncertain now players could very well be one day wearing virtual reality glasses and see digital Pokmon walking beside them in a fully developed AR world. However, that day may still a long way off; as more powerful and technologically advanced hardware would be needed. “I think we’ll get there, but it will be a few years,” Hanke said.

“Pokmon Go” will be released for Android and iOS devices later this year. Niantic aims to launch the game simultaneously worldwide.