Another month, another lack of news about The Pokémon Company's upcoming collaboration with Google start up Niantic, Inc., best known for their AR game Ingress. It's all looking pretty exciting regardless though, especially after the recent #Pokemon20: Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial hit and gave us goosebumps all over again.
Even though we don't yet have a solid release date for the upcoming augmented reality mobile game it doesn't mean there isn't a hell of a lot of excitement being kicked up around it, not least of all what we've heard about it from the developers themselves.
A mobile game for iOS and Android, Pokemon GO allows players to interact with virtual Pokémon in real world surroundings. The launch trailer (above) landed a few months back and was met with universal excitement; it's certainly impressive to look at, especially for those who grew up alongside the evolution of the Pokémon games and spent childhoods longing for something like this.
The Nintendo NX
So though we haven't gotten much in the way of an official line (damn your secrecy Nintendo) there's been a lot of chatter recently about the possibility for Pokémon GO being the first game to run on Nintendo's new NX system.
The Nintendo NX is still a pretty mysterious piece of kit. It was first speculated to be an upgrade of sort to the Wii U, but Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima has clarified that it's not the next step in the evolution of the underwhelming Wii console but a new beast all together.
Describing it as a "different and obviously a new experience", Kimishima spoke to Time Magazine in December of last year about the new console and was sure to make a specific distinction between the NX and the Wii U:
"I can assure you we're not building the next version of Wii or Wii U. It's something unique and different. It's something where we have to move away from those platforms in order to make it something that will appeal to our consumer base."
As for further details the NX is still under development and - given Nintendo's track record of secrecy - it seems unlikely that we're going to get any further information on what to expect until closer to the undefined release date. What we do know is that "NX" is just a codename for the new device, with the official name still to be clarified.
Will Pokémon GO Run On The NX?
So the Super Bowl trailer has led to a lot of speculation that we're going to see Pokémon GO running on the Nintendo NX. As Nintendo's first augmented reality game it's got a lot of living up to do come launch date.
So the Express reports that recent patent filings "suggest that [Nintendo] could see new mobile games run on both NX devices" (the two devices being a "standalone-style controller device" and "a full home console launch" following later) including, obviously, their flagship mobile game Pokémon GO.
But How Likely Is This?
Honestly, not very. It all depends on the portability of the NX console.
The whole basis of Pokémon GO is that it's a mobile game, emphasis on mobile. Niantic CEO John Hanke explained that Pokémon GO exists to reward players depending on the extent to which they interact with the outside world: how far they explore and what places they uncover:
"[Pokémon GO contains] that same mechanic [as Ingress] of encouraging people to take a walk in the park and see some aspect of their city they haven’t seen before, to go explore a nook or cranny in a part of the city they haven’t been to before so they can get a new Pokémon, that will be at work."
If the Nintendo NX is a home console it absolutely removes the potential for this dynamic, you don't see people wandering down the street with their PS4 and Xbox Ones after all.
The only real way this could work is if the NX picks up the mantle of the portable 3DS system, but given that the New 3DS has already done that very recently it doesn't seem particularly likely. Of course there is still the possibility, given that it's been described as something completely new, but reports do seem to indicate that the NX is going to be a home console.
Of course the NX could still be used to battle other players remotely, but it does seem unlikely given how much Niantic have been pushing Pokémon GO as a physical exploration game.
You only need to take one look at the Pokémon GO trailer and Niantic's Ingress to understand the dynamic they're going for here and why the Google start up are the ones to do it, so porting it to the NX seems more like baseless rumors than actual fact at the moment.
"The fun of Ingress and Pokémon GO is not totally confined to what happens on the screen. A lot of it is the experience of being out, walking and seeing things, and interacting with other people."
As usual, we'll update as soon as we know more.