It’s about to become a lot easier to play Pokémon Go — if you have an Apple Watch, that is.
Niantic announced on Wednesday that its popular augmented reality game will debut on the Apple Watch some time before the end of this year. This new version of Pokémon Go promises to let people catch Pokémon, interact with PokéStops, and keep track of their activity levels without having to use their smartphone.
“Apple Watch will add a seamless way to interact with the game through easy trackers, haptic notifications, and quick taps to keep playing,” Niantic posted to its website. “Additionally, the Pokémon GO app for Apple Watch encourages workouts with summaries of your activity, which fits in nicely both with Niantic’s mission to get you moving as well as with the way many people already use their Apple Watch.”
The Apple Watch version of Pokémon Go won’t replace the Pokémon Go Plus hardware — which also notifies people when there’s something to do in the game, and was developed by Nintendo — that is set to debut later this month. Instead, it’s supposed to give Apple Watch users a more convenient way to play that allows them to keep their phones in their pockets.
Niantic chief executive John Hanke said during the announcement at Apple’s iPhone 7 event in San Francisco, that Pokémon Go has been downloaded 500 million times since its release. He also said that the game’s players have walked 4.6 billion kilometers while searching for Pokémon.
This new version of Pokémon Go could revitalize interest in the game, which has started to shed users, and convince existing players to give it another shot. While executives didn’t give a firm release date — Niantic said only that it will come later this year — people should have plenty of time to become Pokémon masters once it comes out.
Photos via Inverse, Giphy