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Pokemon GO

Progress is still being made with Pokemon GO, and one of the game’s biggest steps yet is happening in Japan later this month. Niantic has now opened up sign ups on its website for a Japanese field test. This will be taking place later in the month.

As Niantic said today:

“The Pokémon Company and Niantic will be inviting users to field test Pokémon GO in Japan later this month. The Pokémon GO field test program will give users the opportunity to share early feedback and help improve the Pokémon GO experience. Please stay tuned for information about expansion of the field test to other markets.”

Sign ups are live here. But note that, again, this is only for Japan.

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Earlier today we reported that the Pokemon GO presentation scheduled to take place at Game Developers Conference this year has been cancelled. Initially, no explanation or reason was given – the presentation was simply listed as “cancelled” on the GDC website.

However, GameInformer has reached out to developer Niantic and received a reply. Here’s the statement from Niantic’s CEO John Hanke, who was going to host the now-cancelled presentation, in full:

“We have decided to forego our GDC talk on Pokémon GO in order to focus on getting the product ready for beta test and launch,” says Niantic CEO John Hanke. “As much as we hate to disappoint those in the industry attending GDC, we feel our time and energy right now are best spent on making sure every aspect of the product is where we want it to be.”


So there you have it. Certainly disappointing, but an understandable reason. Hanke doesn’t mention any development hiccups and stresses that the product is heading for its beta test and launch, so it doesn’t seem like the game is going to be delayed significantly.


The Game Developers Conference (GDC) will take place in San Francisco from March 14th to March 18th. Pokemon GO developer Niantic was set to hold a presentation about the game there where they would reveal new info and presumably show actual gameplay footage for the first time. Unfortunately, it seems that this will not be happening as the Pokemon GO presentation is now listed as “cancelled” on the GDC website.

Right now we don’t know why it was cancelled – it’s also possible that it’s just getting rescheduled and will take at another time during GDC. Cancelling such an anticipated presentation less than two weeks before it was supposed to take place is definitely unusual. We will keep you updated.

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John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic, says that the company will have more to say about Pokemon GO “soon.” That information comes from an interview conducted by GamesBeat.

Hanke told the site:

“Pokémon Go is looking good. We’ll share more details with the world soon. There certainly are a lot of fans.”

In other news, Niantic has raised another $5 million from companies such as Alsop Louie, former Havas boss David Jones, Fuji Television, Lucas Nealan, and Cyan and Scott Banister. The Pokemon Company, Google, and Nintendo also invested $30 million last October.

Niantic should be discussing Pokemon GO at GDC 2016 next month. Attendees “will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.”


Recently it was revealed that there will be a Pokemon GO panel at this year’s Game Developers Conference in March. The panel is scheduled as follows:

  • Europe: 12AM (March 15th)
  • UK: 11PM (March 14th)
  • North America (ET): 6PM (March 14th)
  • North America (PT): 3PM (March 14th)
  • Japan: 8AM (March 15th)

However despite this upcoming panel, some of the new details about the game have been released through Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper which published an interview with Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara. Ishihara shared that Pokémon GO would first launch in Japan, Europe, and North America, and then South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East at a later date. In addition to this, he revealed that the Pokemon Company is working on another large project besides Pokemon GO but did not share the platform it was for.

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In Famitsu last week, Niantic went more in-depth with the origins of Pokemon GO. The magazine caught up with Setsuto Murai, representative president of Niantic Japan and Kento Suga, marketing manager of Niantic Japan.

As has been mentioned before, you could say that the concept was born after Google teamed up with The Pokemon Company for an April Fools event back in 2014. Murai and Suga touch on this, and then explain how things carried on from there.

Head past the break for our full translation.

Pokemon GO will be receiving a dedicated session at the Game Developer’s Conference next month. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, will host “Catch ‘Em All: Pokemon GO and Real World Gaming”.

Here’s a description of the event:

“Over the last three years, Niantic, Inc. has been defining the genre of Real World gaming, using smartphones and tablets to connect the digital world to the physical world. Niantic’s newest game, Pokemon GO, ups the challenge of real world gaming design, taking a beloved franchise and setting its hundreds of brightly-colored monsters loose across the globe, adding a new Bluetooth wearable device created by Nintendo to the mix. Join Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke as he discusses how the company has developed a unique vision for delivering a mobile Pokemon experience that gets would-be trainers into the outdoors.”

GDC’s website also states that those who attend the session “will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.”

A specific date for the Catch ‘Em All: Pokemon GO and Real World Gaming session has not yet been announced. GDC 2016 takes place between March 14 and March 18.

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Earlier today, GamesBeat went live with a new Niantic interview. The site spoke with chief executive John Hanke as well as chief marketing officer Mike Quigley.

Pokemon Go was, as one would expect, a pretty big part of the interview. Between Hanke and Quigley, they discussed its origins and having Nintendo on board, how the game could reach a massive audience, and the Pokemon Go Plus device the Big N is making. There are also comments about things like how Niantic wants players to be able to participate no matter how small their area is in terms of population.

Head past the break for a roundup of Hanke and Quigley’s remarks. For the original interview, visit this page.

YouTube issued some information today about gaming videos on its website for 2015. In terms of trending videos, Pokemon Go’s debut trailer was included in the list.

Here’s the full lineup of trending videos this year:

Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
Real GTA
Star Wars Battlefront Reveal Trailer
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 Teaser Trailer
WARNING: YOU WILL DIE | Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 – Part 1
Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!
Fallout 4 – Official Trailer
Elders Play Grand Theft Auto V (Elders React: Gaming)
Halo VS Call of Duty
Final Fantasy VII – E3 2015 Trailer | PS4

According to YouTube, top trending gaming videos are “based on views, shares, comments, likes and more.”

Source: YouTube PR

Niantic, developer of the mobile game Pokemon Go, has opened up an office in Japan. This will be the company’s first subsidiary overall.

The office was created on December 3 in Tokyo’s Minato ward. It’ll be used to develop top-level real-world games as well as a platform using AR and mapping. Industry insider Dr. Serkan Toto also offers up the following speculation:

“Generally speaking, Japanese gaming companies (I mean Nintendo in this specific case) love going vertical by becoming platforms if any opportunity to do so opens up: so it might very well be that Pokemon is not the only Nintendo mobile game that will make use of AR and GPS going forward.”


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