Tagged With Pokemon Go

Welcome back to Gaming Shelf, Gizmodo's regular column all about the latest in tabletop and roleplaying games. Things are a bit quiet right now, as many gaming companies seem to be saving their best stuff for San Diego Comic-Con in July and Gen Con in August. But we’ve still got some really cool games and stuff, including a new Dungeons & Dragons starter kit, a Stargate roleplaying game, and some news about the Pokémon Go folks diving into augmented reality board games. Check it out!

To celebrate the US and UK release of Wizards Unite (lucky us, we've had it for weeks), Niantic released a new launch trailer for the game that is less about the actual gameplay of Wizards Unite which, like Go, is all about using your phone to travel to real-world locations to encounter augmented reality recreations of fantastical creatures and beings. Instead, it focuses on the fantasy behind that idea, and in doing so, makes a pretty convincing pitch for a modern-day Potter spinoff in the process.

During an announcement-packed press event in Tokyo this week, the Pokémon Company unveiled a handful of new services and hardware, including what I believe is the clear standout in this collection of new products: a game called Pokémon Sleep. And based on the limited information I have about how it works, I’m confident that I’m going to absolutely kill it at this game.

With Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, trying to decide if you want to get in on the latest Pokémon game is a relatively straightforward affair. You’re either someone who will get a kick out of a reboot of the original Pokémon games featuring all the new visuals, updated mechanics, and multiplayer features that entails, or you won’t.

The more difficult question is for figuring out if you should spring for Nintendo’s new Poké Ball Plus controller for the game because depending on how deeply you love those little pocket monsters, this accessory is much more than a spherical hunk of plastic.

More than a year after its initial launch, Pokemon Go is often remembered for its rabid players that overwhelmed parks and swarmed streets looking for cute little pocket monsters. But people tend to forget that Pokemon Go was also many people's first experience with augmented reality. And while today's trainer count is down from peak numbers last summer, Pokemon Go creator Niantic says the game's augmented reality features were noticeably improved thanks to an integration with Apple's ARKit on iOS.

Since Pokemon Go's launch in July last year, the Augmented Reality phenomenon has been downloaded over 750 million times and made more than $1.5 billion. That's not a typo. While more than 80 per cent of players (myself included) haven't opened the app in months, 60 million people are still playing today.

That's a lot of people getting out and about, increasing their physical activity, getting fitter. But does the gamification of exercise actually work? Short answer: yeah, it does.

The pitch was Pokemon GO meets Call of Duty. I couldn't quite fathom how that would turn into a cool as hell game, but it involved augmented reality, a key feature of Pokemon GO, and laser tag, and those are both very fun things. Then I sat down with the team from Skyrocket and got to actually hold one of the guns from its new Recoil laser tag system. "It's AR adjacent," the PR rep said. My interest plummeted, but I gamely let them set up the demo and tried to play for an hour. While it quickly became clear this was only Pokemon GO meets Call of Duty in the most high brow theoretical sense, it was also clear that Recoil could be the best backyard laser tag system built yet.

Apple released some figures last night that showed the global app store developer community has earned over $70 billion since it launched in 2008. And there's no sign of slowing down: in the past 12 months alone, downloads have grown over 70 per cent, says Apple.

The top grossing categories? Gaming and Entertainment, of course.

Thanks to its ability to attract non-gamers, nostalgic characters, simple mechanics, the novelty of augmented reality and its social nature, Pokemon GO reached a level of success in 2016 that eludes even some of the most successful traditional video games.

Record downloads, engagement and of course - revenue.

Last month, a grown man in fluffy Pikachu jammies performed a manic routine from Hell on Russian state-controlled Channel 1, complete with Pokébabes and Pokéhunks dancing with giant prop iPhones, half-twerking and bouncing about on blow-up Pokéballs.