Pokemon fans in Japan can now sign up for a Pokemon Go “field test,” developer Niantic has announced. This field test will start in Japan later this month (Japanese gamers can sign up here) and will come to other countries in the weeks to come.
“The Pokemon Company and Niantic will be inviting users to field test Pokemon Go in Japan later this month,” Niantic said. “The Pokemon Go field test program will give a limited number of users early access to the app. These users will have the opportunity to share early feedback and help improve the Pokemon Go experience for everyone prior to public launch.”
Pokemon Go will let players catch, train, and battle monsters in the real world, though Niantic has yet to provide any specifics on how this will work. Users will be able to play the game with an optional device called Pokemon Go Plus. Much like a smartwatch, it can be worn on the wrist and used to execute in-game actions such as catching a Pokemon. The device will connect to smartphones using Bluetooth, and will flash its LED and vibrate to notify players about nearby Pokemon.
Pokemon Go is expected to be available on the App Store and Google Play in 2016 as a free download. The game will also have in-app purchases.
Niantic, which spun off from Google in 2015, raised $20 million from a round of investors that included The Pokemon Company, Google, and Nintendo last year. Just last week, Niantic raised a further $5 million, according to GI.biz.
In other news, Niantic recently canceled a Pokemon Go presentation at the Game Developers Conference.