Why should you buy a $35 peripheral for a free-to-play game?
Pokémon Go is now available on iOS and Android for free — at least for those in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Japan — but the game is about to get a $34.99 add-on. ThePokémon Go Plus doesn’t have a release date yet, but when it launches, it will change up the way you currently play the game in some big ways.That’s because the Pokémon Go Plus is a standalone peripheral that lets you play without having to look at your phone’s screen the entire time. There are a ton of things we still don’t understand about how the peripheral will work, but here’s what we know so far
What is the Pokémon Go Plus?
The Pokémon Go Plus is a $34.99 add-on peripheral that interacts with Pokémon Go. The Plus resembles a Pokéball mixed with a Google Maps pin, which speaks to the game’s combination of Pokémon and real world travel. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your smart device, and you can clip it to your lapel or wear like a bracelet to stay connected to your game at all times.
What does it do?
The Plus lets you know when you’re near a PokeStop, the specially marked locations on the game’s map that come with items, Pokémon eggs and, if you’re lucky, Pokémon to catch. The peripheral will vibrate when you’ve approached a PokéStop in the real world.
Does the Plus help me catch Pokémon?
In a way, yes! The Pokémon Go Plus allows you to catch Pokémon without taking out your phone. If a Pokémon is nearby, the device will light up. At that point, you can throw a Poké Ball, just by using the device. This only works if you’ve already caught that Pokémon before, though; you won’t be catching any new Pokémon for your Pokédex using thePokémon Go Plus.
If it worked out, the Plus will vibrate to celebrate your achievement.
But does the Plus really work?
We haven’t had been able to test it out yet. We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we can.
When does the Pokémon Go Plus come out? And how can I get one?
There’s no release date yet. GameStop is the only confirmed retailer for the Plus right now, and the $34.99 device recently went up for pre-order there, where it’s listed for a July 31 release. It sold out quickly, and now resellers are offering the Plus for more than three times the retail price on eBay.
Toward the end of July, however, Nintendo of America tweeted that the peripheral wouldn’t hit stores until September 2016. Although the July release had long been teased, September is the first explicit confirmation of a release window from the publisher.
What should I do in the meantime?
You can keep playing Pokémon Go! Check out our FAQ for the basics, then branch out to the specifics on how to catch a Pokémon, how to find a PokéStop and how to decide which team you belong to.
Update: We’ve added the Pokémon Go Plus’ new, delayed launch window above.