Update 7/6: Pokémon GO is now available via the Play Store for those in the US. Click here to view the listing and download.
Update: In a statement, the Pokémon Company tells US and Japanese customers to “please wait for a while” for the formal launch.
After a brief field test in May, Pokémon GO is now available on Android. The mixed augmented reality game made in partnership with Ingress-makers Niantic Labs allows users to collect, train, and battle Pokémon characters in the real world. The game is still rolling out on the Play Store and might initially only be available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
Upon setup, users create and customize a virtual avatar that will represent them in the game. Afterwards, a tutorial walks users through the basic mechanics of the game, like turning on the camera to capture Pokémon.
During gameplay, Pokémon GO players will be encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. Once they have joined a team, players will have the ability to assign their Pokémon to empty Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world, and because only one Pokémon per player can be placed at a given Gym, team members will need to work together to build a strong defense. A Gym claimed by one team can be challenged by the other two teams.
Those who have previously played Ingress will be familiar with the concept and even basic interface of the app. Users will get notifications to launch the app when a Pokémon is nearby. The Pokémon Company is also selling a wearable Bluetooth accessory that will notify users when a Pokémon is available for capture. The Pokémon GO Plus is available from Amazon for $34.99, but quickly goes out of stock. You can have Amazon send you an email when it is back on sale.
In version 0.29.0, the app installs but will not run on the Android N Developer Preview. Otherwise, it is available on devices running Android 4.4 and above. Pokémon GO is free to play, but there are a number of in-app purchases ranging from $.99 – $99.99 to get more equipment.
The app is still rolling out so users might see a “not available in your country” prompt from the Play Store. It should also be available on the iOS App Store shortly.