After a day of bizarre hacks and workarounds, the augmented-reality game Pokemon GO is officially released on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.
Although nobody from Niantic or The Pokemon Company have confirmed that Pokemon GO was supposed to launch today (or last night), it is already a strange enough launch to go down in the history books with Diablo 3 or GTA5 Online. The app appeared in the Google Play Store last night and seemed to be region locked everywhere except New Zealand and Australia. After a day of hacks, conspiracy theories, and lots of crying Pokemon gifs, the official Pokemon GO app is now available on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.
Pokemon GO appeared on the Play Store last night around 7 p.m. ET with a 'Not currently available in your country' message for most of the world, but tonight around the same time the error message was replaced with a download button. We have successfully installed and started playing (despite what it does to our battery level...) the game on multiple Android devices, so despite the radio silence from the developers and publishers, it appears to be official this time around.
In addition, the app has now appeared on the Apple iOS store. There is no longer a need to create a new Apple account with a New Zealand address, so users can safely download the app with their real accounts. Gamers are hoping for an official statement from Niantic or The Pokemon Company that could help clear the air about the weird rollout, but the project's creators have been so quiet up to this point that it's hard to predict when an official statement will be released.
Many fans are frustrated over the staggered release, but it seems likely that Niantic is attempting to gradually roll out a soft launch in an attempt to not overload the servers all at once. The servers were stress tested during the field tests, but there is a big difference between region locked closed beta tests and a simultaneous worldwide release. The servers were taken down (or possibly crashed) earlier today, but there is no official word on the cause. The biggest theory was that Niantic took them down in preparation of launching the U.S. servers and tonight's activities suggest that may have been the case.
The game can be a little intimidating at the start and doesn't offer much of a tutorial. Here's a crash course in capturing Gyms and a guide to microtransactions, but check back throughout the week for more game guides and tips as we level up.
Many Pokemon fans will likely be chasing monsters around augmented reality this evening and hopefully fans in every country can join in on the fun as soon as possible. Be safe out there, like some police officers have already been suggesting, and have a great time!
Will you be catching Pokemon tonight? Let us know in the comments.
Pokemon Go is currently available for Android and iOS users is some regions. The full launch has been been confirmed yet.