On September 16th, Niantic will finally release the Pokémon Go Plus – a $35 accessory, promised since the game’s launch in July, that will make it much easier to catch Pokémon even when your phone is in your pocket.
Here’s Niantic’s explanation for how the Pokémon Go Plus will work, per a blog post:
As you pass by a PokéStop, Pokémon GO Plus will vibrate and light up and alert you to the location. You’ll even be able to collect new items just by clicking the Pokémon GO Plus. If there’s nearby Pokémon hiding in your area you’ll be alerted with lights and vibrations; catch the Pokémon with a button on Pokémon GO Plus and then continue on your way (later, you can check your Journal to see which Pokémon you’ve just caught).
It sounds pretty cool. But it may face an uphill struggle: While Pokémon Go has been downloaded over 500 million times, plenty of players have moved on following a quiet period without major new features or updates to the game. Still, the device has been backordered since it was first announced, amid the original phenomenon.
- The Pokémon Company/Niantic Inc
Furthermore, the die-hard Pokémon Go community has dug into the game’s files, and found that the Pokémon Go Plus seems to only work if the game is open on your phone. So even if your phone is in your pocket, the Pokémon Go app might still have to be on the screen for the Pokémon Go Plus to work its magic.
Meanwhile, the Pokémon Go community is still awaiting a promised “Buddy Pokémon” feature update that would make it easier and more fun to take a single Pokémon and raise it to be stronger – simplifying one of the game’s most annoying quirks.
Still, it’s a nice alternative to being glued to your screen all the time while you’re on a Pokémon hunt. To a similar end, Niantic also announced that similar functionality as the Pokémon Go Plus is now available as an app on the Apple Watch.