Following the Pokemon GO field test in Japan last month, the Pokemon Company and Niantic announces that these field tests will be expanded to Australia and New Zealand.

Ever since Pokemon GO was announced at the end of last year, fans have been eagerly waiting for the opportunity to catch some Pokemon on their mobile devices. In an attempt to refine the game before its launch, developer Niantic launched a ‘field test’ in Japan last month, and Japanese fans got to experience what it’s like to capture a Pokemon in the real-world. It appears this initial test was successful, as Niantic recently announced that additional field tests outside of Japan are coming.

Australia and New Zealand are set to be part of Niantic’s Pokemon GO field tests, and those two countries will be the first Western locations to get its hands on an in-development version of the upcoming augmented-reality Pokemon game. For those interested in catching a wild Ivysaur in the middle of the Australian outback, or a Charizard in the picturesque New Zealand mountains, sign up at Niantic’s website. To be eligible, fans must reside in Australia or New Zealand, and have an iOS or Android device. The developer also states that playability may not be available at this stage, which is understandable given that this is essentially a beta test.

Pokemon Go Charizard

As one of Google’s most searched games in 2015, there are massive expectations surrounding Pokemon GO, and Niantic’s expansion of its field tests will go far in squashing any concerns about the final product. Having stated that different Pokemon types will live in different parts of the world, it is in Niantic’s best interests to test Pokemon GO beyond Japan. It remains to be seen whether other Western countries besides Australia and New Zealand will be included in these field tests.

Despite some concerns over Pokemon GONintendo, The Pokemon Company, and Google have invested an estimated $30 million into the game, suggesting that there’s confidence in Pokemon GO‘s prospects. It’s still early days yet, but based on what’s been revealed about the game – such as the Ingress play-style and the inclusion of gym battles – Pokemon GO looks like it is shaping up nicely, and the upcoming field tests can only mean good things for the final product.

With Pokemon GO set to corner the mobile game market, and Pokemon Sun and Moon coming later this year for the Nintendo 3DS, there is little doubt that 2016 is truly shaping up to be the year of Pokemon.

Pokemon GO is scheduled to launch this year for Android and iOS mobile devices.

Source: GameSpot