Pokémon Go’s best year yet shows novelty doesn’t have to wear off

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Pokémon GO’s best year yet shows novelty doesn't have to wear off
"You mean, people are still playing it?"
Photo: The Pokémon Company

No game dominated the summer of 2016 quite like the augmented reality blockbuster Pokémon Go. Raking in massive bucks and plenty of virtual column inches that summer, the game became a massive smash hit — before fading from view.

At least, that’s the perspective of people who wonder if anyone still plays Pokémon GOIn fact, not only do people still play it; the game just had its best year to date. What’s the secret to its longevity? And why is that a good thing for gamers?

Mario Kart Tour has the second best debut month ever on mobile

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Mario Kart Tour has the second best debut month ever on mobile
Mario Kart Tour lags only behind Pokémon GO.
Photo: Nintendo

Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s long-awaited Mario Kart game for iOS, enjoyed the second-biggest mobile game launch month in history. (And Nintendo’s biggest.) Across both Android and iOS, the game racked up 123.9 million unique downloads in its first four weeks.

That’s more than 5x the downloads that Super Mario Run‘s 21.8 million downloads.

Team Rocket hot air balloon signals Pokémon Go arrival

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Pokémon GO’s best year yet shows novelty doesn't have to wear off
Pokémon GO’s best year yet shows novelty doesn't have to wear off
Photo: The Pokémon Company

A Team Rocket hot air balloon flown over Dortmund, Germany, this week all but confirms the evil gang’s imminent arrival in Pokémon Go.

Emblazoned with a Team Rocket logo, the balloon appeared on day one of Europe’s first ever Pokémon Go Fest. It’s the latest in a number of teasers Niantic has put out to signal Team Rocket’s introduction.

But what will it mean for Pokémon Go?

Everyone’s a wizard in upcoming Harry Potter AR game

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The first AR Harry Potter game promises spell casting in the real world
The first AR Harry Potter game promises spell casting in the real world
Photo: Niantic and WB Games

In Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,  players must seek out creatures, objects and people that have made their way into the muggle world through the magic of augmented reality. 

The developers have revealed a first look at this upcoming game that has quite a bit in common with Pokémon Go.

Take the fight to other trainers in Pokémon Go battles

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Pokémon Go trainer battles
Can you be the very best?
Photo: Niantic

Pokémon Go has finally added Trainer Battles, giving players the opportunity to fight against their friends.

Developer Niantic first made battles available to level 40 players, but they are now accessible to those as low as level 10. Here’s everything you need to know about battling your friends.

Pokémon Go player-vs.-player battles teased again

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A major missing feature from Pokémon GO will be added soon.
A major missing feature from Pokémon Go will be added soon.
Photo: Niantic

Every version of Pokémon is about players using pocket monsters to battle other trainers. Well, every version except Pokémon Go, which conspicuously lacks the capability to let you go head-to-head with another player.

Game developer Niantic promised this feature would arrive before the end of the year. The company suggested today that the wait is almost over.

Next Harry Potter game will be Pokémon Go for wizards

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A teaser trailer reveals the theme of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
A teaser trailer reveals the theme of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Photo: Niantic

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will use augmented reality to let players seemingly cast spells in the real world, while encountering characters and creatures from the Wizarding World.

It had been scheduled to be released before the end of this year. Instead, all we’re getting is a teaser trailer and a promise that this AR game will be out in 2019.