Pokémon GO became available for download on July 7 in the United States on Android and iOS devices.
Before its U.S. release, the game was available in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and beta testing was exclusive to only Japan. The app is free-to-play but supports in-app purchases. A Bluetooth bracelet will also be available for purchase to assist users who play.
Pokémon GO is an augmented-reality game that allows users to catch and battle Pokémon in the real world. Users are encouraged to go out and explore many cities and towns to discover many different kinds. Different types of Pokémon appear depending on the area. For example, if one were to be playing near a body of water, he or she should expect to catch water-type Pokémon such as Staryu or Magikarp. Likewise, in or near a desert, ground-types like Sandshrew are more common.
In addition, important places in towns and cities will be designated places that include Pokémon Centers, Gyms, Pokéstores and more. People can heal Pokémon at the Pokémon Centers, stock up on supplies in the Pokéstore and battle and defeat gym leaders at the Gyms.
So far, the game has been popular among fans of the franchise. Within the first day, the servers constantly went down due to overload, but the game is now more stable and acclimated to the multiple millions of people playing. It also tends to run battery life down, but has a battery-saver options in the settings.
Players have seen many positive changes from playing the game. Players have been more active, since the game requires players to go outside and walk to capture Pokémon. In addition, some users say the game has helped their mental health, by giving players a reason to go outside to experience the world. According to a study from Stanford in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people walking, hiking or just being in nature showed a decrease in depression and increase in positive thinking.
Many places, however, have warned fans to act too crazy. One notable problem came up due to people crowding into the Darwin Police Station in Northwest Territory, Australia because the app led the crowd to Pokémon within the station. It also led to a young woman finding a dead body while searching for water-type Pokémon in Wyoming.
While catching Pokémon is fun, it can cause people to pay less attention to their surroundings, including traffic, and will be a risk to avoid. Pictures have been spread across all social media to raise awareness to the dangers of playing and driving.
No matter what negatives may come out of this, the positivess of the game overshadow everything. With it being fun and beneficial to both physical and mental health, it is an app worth having.
The app is available now for free through the App Store and Google Play.