Pokmon Go arrives on the Apple Watch

Following an erroneous report claiming that Niantics plans to bring Pokmon Go to the Apple Watch were canceled, the company todayput those rumors to rest with more than a merestatement: it has now launched the Apple Watch version of itspopulargame. The new smartwatch app lets you more easily playPokmon without having to always pull out your phone. Instead, you can tap to find nearby Pokmon, collect items from PokStops, and even log your gameplay as a workout.

The AR and GPS-powered game, which has been downloaded 600 million times as of November, offers a unique combination of gameplay and physical activity that makes sense for a platform like the Apple Watch.

Thenew app will take advantage of the watchs fitness-tracking capabilities, as gameplay counts toward your personal Activity rings.In addition, your Apple Watch sessions will count toward hatching your Pokmon Eggs, too, as well as receiving Candy with your Buddy Pokmon.

Regular Pokmon Go players get a lot of exercise, of course. The company recently announced that trainers have walked more than 8.7 billion kilometers in their quest to capture 88 billion Pokmon to date. Thats the equivalent of 200,000 trips around the world, Niantic said.

The new game could encourage people to get out and walk even more.

In addition to fitness tracking, Pokmon Go will also tie into the Apple Watchs ability to push notifications to your wrist. The app will send alerts about a variety of important events, including when there are nearby Pokmon to catch, when youre near a PokStop, when your Eggs hatch, and when medals are awarded,says Niantic.

However, when it comes time to actually catch the Pokmon, youll still need to break out your iPhone.

The launch of the Apple Watch appcomes shortly after the smartphone app was updated with a number of new features, including the ability to hatchnew Pokmon charactersoriginally from the Pokmon Gold and Silver video games, the addition of Ditto, as well as the ability to catch the special edition Pikachu thats wearing a festive holiday hat.

The company has also been steadily upgrading standard features like the tracker, while collaborating with big brands like Starbucks to serve as destinations for Gyms and PokStops.

However, many of Pokmon Gos moves as of late have focused on re-engaging lapsed users, too like the in-game event over Halloween, for example, or the daily bonuses.

Launching on the Apple Watch may give these more casual players a reason to return, as the initial hype aroundthe record-breaking gamebegins to wear off.

Niantic had first announced there would be an Apple Watch app at Apples September event, and just this week, its code was found to have references to Apple Watch features. However, some have been concerned whether the company would meet its earlier stated deadline of reaching the Apple Watch before year-end.

The app is rolling out nowin all markets where Pokmon Go is available.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/22/pokemon-go-arrives-on-the-apple-watch/