Remember Pokemon Go? The app made a big splash when it released way back in July 2016, and while the excitement for catching Pikachus, Bulbasaurs and Charizards may have cooled down a bit, you may want to think about re-downloading it. The reality game is about to get way, way better.
Niantic, the company that created Pokémon Go, is nearly ready to turn on an improved version of the game with a more dynamic, high-resolution augmented reality mode called AR+. If you don't speak tech, it means that for the first time ever, users will be able to walk around Pokémon and move closer to increase their ability to capture them.
Right now, when you encounter a Pokemon in the current version of the game, it moves as you move. But with the new AR+ mode, the creature stays in place and is aware of how close or far away you are.
The closer you move to the Pokemon the higher your chance of getting a special capture bonus. But if you get too close, your movements may spook it and cause it to flee. Basically, the new feature makes the game a hell of a lot less choppy and way more fun.
“It’s designed to be high risk, high reward,” Rob Giusti, the lead AR+ Mode engineer at Niantic said.
A new "!" icon indicates the Pokemon's awareness level. The more you move, the higher its awareness is, and the more likely it is to flee. Nanab berries can be used to calm the Pokemon down, allowing you to walking around it. If you're into that sort of thing.
But there is a catch. The new update is only available to players using an iPhone 6S or newer, an iPhone SE, or a 5th-generation iPad or newer. Sorry, Android users.
Considering the initial frenzy of Pokemon Go has faded since its initial release (it peaked at 28.5 million daily users and now has just 5 million), there's a good chance that the game's new feature will bring back Pokemon in a big way.
Just watch out for millions of people stampeding through parks again.