The Pokemon GO Plus Accessory Is Too Little, Too Late

I’ve been terribly wrong. I thought that the Pokemon Go Plus accessory, releasing on September 16, would change the way people were playing Pokemon Go. I thought it may even revive some people’s interest where it has wavered. Now, the week before its release, I’ve realised it’s... not great.

I went for a walk on my lunch break the other day, and after completing a full round of Sydney’s Botanical Gardens realised that I’d missed an opportunity to hatch the eggs I’ve been incubating for at least a month now. Pokemon Go Plus would fix that, I thought. But in reality, it won’t.

The Pokemon GO Plus is a small wearable device that notifies you when Pokemon and Pokestops are nearby. Using the button on the device will throw a Poke Ball without having to use your phone, and the device will indicate whether the catch was successful or not. You can also use the button to collect items at Poke Stops.

This device comes with two big caveats, however:

** Pokémon GO Plus is unable to provide an alert for any Pokémon attracted by the in-game item Incense. ***Pokémon GO does not track distance walked when running in the background.

Many others seemed to be under the same impression as I was — that the Plus would function as an offline pedometer, letting you use your daily steps to hatch a bunch of happy little Pokemon. In fact, the device (despite its similarity to other wrist-mounted step counters) cannot track your steps at all.

If you want your steps to count towards eggs hatching, you’ll have to keep your app open in your pocket the whole time. And if you’re keeping the app open, you might as well just take it out of your pocket to catch Pokemon. The Pokemon Go Plus is not very useful at all.

Catching Pokemon and collecting items from Poke Stops can work when the app is running in the background, however, but this brings up its own unique questions. For one, you can’t tell what Pokemon you’re catching on the device, so you may log back in to your phone to find twenty new Zubats.

It’s also unclear how catching Pokemon will work with just a single button — will it be easier, or will we be subject to the same dismal catch rates as you see in the app? How will the app decide what type of ball to use? Will there be some notifier if you run out of space and/or Poke Balls? I have a lot of questions that haven’t been answered by any of the official materials thus far.

The timing is not ideal, either. Interest in Pokemon GO is waning, and people are still too burnt out on the initial rush to get into a regular (if casual) pattern of plan again. Most of the comments on the Facebook announcement seem to mirror this — going along the lines of "two months ago I would have jumped at this".

Australia and New Zealand will get the Pokemon GO Plus on September 16, and can be purchased either from EB Games (with pre-orders opening Monday 12) or Nintendo's eBay account. Check out the details here. The Plus will retail for $49.95 in Australia. Granted it’s a lot cheaper than the soon-to-be-Pokemon-GO-compatible Apple Watch, but I’m just not sure there’s a real reason for this gadget to exist.


Comments

    $50 at EB which is probably the only place that will be selling this.
    If it worked without the app needing to be open or there was even a low power companion app just for this device, I'd love it. But there is no point if you have to have the full app open anyway. I'm still going to need to to take a battery pack with me.

    Last edited 09/09/16 2:09 pm

      New Nintendo AUS/NZ ebay store will sell it as well

        Source on this?

          http://www.nintendo.com.au/goplus

          Pokémon GO Plus will be offered for pre-order at EB Games before launch, and from the new Nintendo AU/NZ eBay Store from 16th September.

            Cheers, shall have both open come midnight then :)

              12pm isn't midnight, it's midday, also it's only being sold on day of release on the ebay store from 9am.

              Last edited 09/09/16 3:15 pm

                Monday 12th. Where does it say 12am

                  On here for the preoders https://ebgames.com.au/featured/pokemon-go (says 12pm Monday 12th)
                  and here for the ebay store "with orders able to be placed from 9:00am AEST 16th September."
                  http://www.nintendo.com.au/goplus

                  Last edited 09/09/16 3:30 pm

                  Can't reply because we have gone too far down the rabbit hole, but thanks!

      pedometers sell for less than $5. spend the other 45 on a helmet you zealot

        My phone has a pedometer already so I guess I am saving $50 for not buying this.

      game and phone don't need to be on to track distance or to catch pokemon

    Oh.....That's a bit of a let down.

    I was hoping it would tick all those boxes too, but if it's just an accessory with no real benefit, what's the point.

    the game is really boring now. the only way that sparked my interested was installing the hacks and now its like playing pokemon on the DS which is at least entertaining.

      I for one always considered it boring. I also never considered it to be a game. It's about as much a game as stamp collecting is a game.

    I've been keeping my account completely hack free - currently only level 23 though (got to 20 in like the first week and slowly progressed from there).

    I Agree the hacked version of the game where you can joystick around looks way funner.

    I also would note to anyone thinking of buying one of these - sadly you're account would be better off with you spending the money on pokecoins instead of this device.

    Which is sad. We'll probably see these selling for nothing in a couple years or knock offs that still work just the same for a few bucks within months of release.

    Yeah, I already knew it was a waste of time/money. What i'm curious about is if this works the same way the apple watch app will work.

    I don't have an apple watch but if the app has more utility than the specifically designed PoGo accessory then they have their priorities wrong.

    That said I've pretty much stopped playing PoGo now. I might start up again if/when they release a significant amount of content and fix the other parts of their game. It's a pretty badly designed game to begin with though, more about just grinding rather than actually training Pokemon like every other game.

    Last edited 09/09/16 3:15 pm

    It's going to be limited too. The email I got from EB says one per customer. (email image here: http://i.imgur.com/ApcqZrVl.jpg) Too bad if you have multiple players in your family, I guess? I am puzzled as to why its limited... surely they want our money, right?

    Last edited 09/09/16 3:25 pm

      They do want your money, but they don't want to sit by jealously while some enterprising person or persons buy up large quantities and sell them at a vast mark-up :-)

    I don't know if it's just me, but Pokemon Go got mighty boring after level 20.. So much so I no longer bother playing.

      I powered up to 18 before they totally borked the tracking system, and I still haven't made it to 19 since because the game lost everything that was fun about it.

    I think I'll wait for a tear down of the device and how the app communicates with it. That'll answer all the questions about what it is actually doing. If the device is simple enough, it'd be interesting to see how easy it'd be to program another device to act like one.

    I've kind of got bored with it too, no real extra content, the buddy system doesn't seem to give enough to play ... started a 'hacked' account as a precaution, kinda cool see all the pokemon in game for a change but apart from that .... not much really keeping me on it anymore.

    They've dropped the speed so low for eggs you can't even go for a damned run and have it count. Average 12kmph on a run, apparently my 11km counts as 2.8km of egg walking one time, 1.7 another time with the app running the whole time.

      You're better off leaving your phone on under the bed and let the GPS bug out.

        Yeah, I wouldn't do that.

        The battery would probably get so hot it'll burn the house down. That our turn off after 30 minutes of GO running.

        Last edited 09/09/16 5:04 pm

          Not just that..Niantic has been hard on the ban hammer lately, you'll probably get banned for gps spoofs :p

      It's almost like Niantic WANTS people to get the shits and give up on the app.

      I went for a bit of a trek yesterday. Google Fit says I was averaging about 12k an hour and I had several eggs hatch during the time. Was this with the latest update? Rumours are it's better at tracking.

        Nah I've barely picked it up the last few updates. I lost interest when they tanked Pokémon tracking by ditching the feet to pokemon, and then really lost interest when they banned the tracking websites I used to pick up the slack. I want to hunt pokemon, not use all my phone battery hoping I'll randomly run into one.

    the hack is the only thing keeping me interested in this game anymore, and even that is starting to wear thin.
    for me anyway, the appeal is dwindling. eh, it was fun while it lasted I guess.

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