Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have announced that the Pokémon Go Plus wearable for the hit smartphone app will finally release on September 16. The peripheral was announced back in June, but was delayed in July with no reason given at the time.
Pokémon Go Plus is a companion device for the monster-catching app that allows players to capture Pokémon without using their smartphone. After linking the bracelet to their smartphone via Bluetooth, it will vibrate whenever a creature is close enough to be caught.
Trainers can use a button on the device to lob a Pokéball at beasties that come within range — or to collect useful items from any Pokéstop locations that they pass by. While your smartphone will still be active, the fact that its screen isn’t in use should cut down on some of the app’s battery life issues.
A blog post announcing the new release date praises the device for its capacity to “blend Pokémon Go even more seamlessly into family and fitness activities.” Restricting play to a one-button bracelet should make it possible for trainers to catch Pokémon even while they’re concentrating on doing something else.
Of course, Pokémon Go Plus is no longer the only way to play the game from your wrist. Yesterday, the smartwatch version of Pokémon Go was unveiled at a high-profile Apple event in San Francisco.
The real question at this point is whether the wearable is launching too late. At the height of the game’s popularity, Pokémon Go Plus pre-orders were fetching two or three times their retail asking price on eBay, but it’s no secret that the Pokémon Go player base has dwindled since then.
Hardware like this isn’t likely to recoup interest — players are more interested in seeing new features and new content.