Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game was the result of a collaboration between Niantic and Nintendo, by way of The Pokémon Company, and was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. The game utilizes the player’s mobile device’s GPS ability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, which appear on the screen as if they were at the same real-world location as the player. The game features a freemium business model and supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items.
Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews, with critics praising the game’s concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing frequent technical issues that were prevalent around the time of the original launch. Despite such reviews, it quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most used and profitable mobile apps in 2016, having been downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality technology, promoting physical activity, and helping local businesses grow due to increased foot traffic. However, it also attracted controversy for contributing to various accidents, as well as becoming a public nuisance at some locations. Various governments also expressed concerns over the security of the game, with some countries passing legislation to regulate its use.