Poke Ball Plus Release Date and Price: Just Another Nintendo Cash Grab?

Do you need one? No. Will you buy it? Probably.

In case you slept through the news last night, Pokémon is back. The Pokémon Company (a joint venture that’s one-third owned by Nintendo) just announced two new games and teased a third, but for some reason I can’t stop thinking about a new Poké-accessory called the Poké Ball Plus.

The Poké Ball Plus is designed to work with Pokémon GO and the upcoming Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee!, which launch on November 16. It will be sold separately, and probably won’t make much of a difference in the way you experience these games. Do you need one? No. Will thousands of people buy it anyway? Almost definitely.

The Poké Ball Plus is the closest we’ve come to a functioning, real-world Poké Ball. It can vibrate and even make Pokémon sounds, as if there was an actual Pikachu trapped inside your shiny plastic ball. You’ll also be able to use it to catch Pokémon in the Let’s Go titles in place of a Joy Con, or as a hub for transferring your pocket monsters from Pokémon GO to these new games.

Those are nice perks, but are they worth shelling out the extra cash on top of what you’re already paying for a new Nintendo Switch game? Probably not, but it doesn’t really matter.

Poké Ball Plus: We’ve Seen This Before

Nintendo and the Pokémon Company did the exact same thing with Pokémon GO and the Pokémon GO Plus, a watch-sized device that you could use to spin PokéStops and catch Pokémon without staring at your phone all day. It was a nice boost for hardcore players, but a totally unnecessary extra for everyone else.

At $35 it was also pretty pricey for a hunk of plastic with built-in Bluetooth and GPS, but that didn’t stop the Pokémon GO Plus from quickly selling out

Now that we’re getting an actual Poké Ball, you can expect demand to be even higher (even if Nintendo jacks up the price). You won’t actually need the Poké Ball Plus, and you’ll probably get bored of it after a few weeks. Still, that won’t stop thousands, or even millions, of kids and nostalgic adults from buying one when it launches in November.

As for the price, the Pokémon Company hasn’t announced that yet. $35 feels like a safe bet, but don’t be surprised if the Poké Ball Plus ends up costing even more.

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