Today’s press conference, designed to give players “an idea of the future of Pokemon,” offered some very interesting insights into the diversifying interests of the Pokemon Company and Nintendo. The conference took things in interesting directions and touched on some surprising new developments, ranging from quality-of-life apps to textiles.
Detective Pikachu Switch
According to CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara, the conclusion to the Detective Pikachu series will be coming to the Nintendo Switch. As the first game on 3DS ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, this new entry will feature “a different take on the ending than what you saw in theaters” and bring a console experience to the franchise.
Next, Junichi Matsuda took the Pokemon Press Conference stage to reveal Pokemon Home, a box-like program to create “a place where all Pokemon can gather.” Using a cloud-based service, Pokemon Home allows players to bring Pokemon from Pokemon Go on smartphone, Pokemon Let’s Go or Sword/Shield on the Switch, and the Pokemon Bank on the Nintendo 3DS to a single integrated platform and allow for easy trading and storage.
Nintendo promises the trading functionality “anytime, anywhere, as long as you have your smartphone with you,” giving players options to connection locally or over the internet. Launching early 2020, the app will also support future Pokemon titles to preserve the connection that players feel with their Pokemon.
After Pokemon Home, The Pokemon Company announced the development of a quality-of-life program entitled Pokemon Sleep. According to Ishihara, the app seeks to advance upon the health-conscious integration of walking in Pokemon Go to “turn sleeping into entertainment.”
Although details are scarce, Ishihara stated that the game uses “your time spent sleeping to affect gameplay” and help players “look forward to waking up every day.” With the help of SelectButton, the company that developed past Pokemon app Magikarp Jump, Pokemon Sleep takes the time spent sleeping and waking up to “create a new kind of gameplay.”
The app is planned to release in 2020 and takes interesting advancements in the quality-of-life direction. A personal favorite of past CEO Satori Iwata, Nintendo has long sought to integrate sleeping into their business model but have never released any sleep tracking software onto the market. Time will tell how this new venture pans out.
Pokemon Go Plus +
Alongside Pokemon Sleep, Nintendo announced the oddly named Pokemon Go Plus +, the next iteration of the bluetooth device that connects with the Pokemon Go app. This small, flat piece of hardware features an internal pedometer and a sleep tracker, both made possible by an internal accelerometer, and it interfaces with the Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sleep apps. The device also has a front LED to alert players of nearby PokeStops.
A universal device that works with both Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sleep, the Pokemon Go Plus + seeks to transform “the time spent walking during the day and the time spent sleeping at night into something more fun and enriching for everyone.” By working both at night and during the day, Niantic and Pokemon hope to incentivize players to get a good nights rest and be ready for another full day of walking.
Ending their discussion of sleep integration, CEO Ishihara then teased new information regarding a Pokemon game coming to smartphones, Pokemon Masters. In the title, supposedly “all of your favorite Pokemon trainers as well as their partner Pokemon will appear.”
In a very brief trailer, Misty, Cynthia, Brock, and Blue were shown in a 3 vs 3 battle using their signature Pokemon to battle against rival trainers. In the end, Brock appears to use a Z-move from the Sun/Moon series. The title is scheduled to release on Android and IOS in 2019. More details will be provided in June, perhaps at E3.
In an odd finish to the press conference, Tsunekazu Ishihara announced Pokemon Shirt, an online service that allows fans to “mix and match” Pokemon designs to create unique button-up shirts. The program features the first 151 Pokemon in original designs and the apparel can only be made using an online service.
Currently, the shirts are only available in select Asian territories, but more regional expansion is planned in the future with additional details to come.
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