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Niantic CEO Says The Goal Of Pokémon GO Isn’t To “Catch Them All”

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Polygon got the chance to speak with The Pokémon Company’s senior director of consumer marketing J.C. Smith, as well as Niantic CEO John Hanke about Pokémon GO. Hanke mentioned that the primary goal of Pokemon GO isn’t necessarily to catch them all, as per usual for the main games in the franchise, adding that it’s still possible “to compete for gyms and progress.”

 

Hanke also spoke to the importance of accessibility for both newcomers and long-time Pokémon fans alike:

 

“We’re trying to make the game accessible to a person who doesn’t yet know how much they want to commit to the game, who just wants to explore. That includes not just the Pokémon newbie, but those on the opposite side — a diehard who’s played all of the RPGs but isn’t sure if an augmented reality game that requires them to get up off the couch is really their speed. At the same time, we think that there’s an opportunity to build depth. There’s an emergent complexity that doesn’t hit you over the head at first blush, [from] trying to power up your Pokémon and evolve and ultimately start competing for gyms.”

 

Additionally, J.C. Smith said that their goal was never to “recreate the video game experience,” but rather to “make a new experience that was native to mobile.”

 

Smith also had the following to say in regards to Pokémon GO Plus:

 

“It could be that you’re out walking in the park with friends and meeting friends somewhere, and may not want to interrupt the conversation and break the social dynamic that’s going on [to check Pokémon Go]. With a few clicks of the button, you can harvest items and catch Pokémon and continue to build up progress in the game. In all of those scenarios, it would be really awesome to have a device not to completely replace interacting with the phone, but supplement it.”

 

Pokémon GO will release this summer for iOS and Android devices.

Casey