All About Japan

Break Out Your Real-World Pokéballs!

Gaming Smartphones Pokémon

Pokémon fans all over the world were thrilled by the reveal of Pokémon Go, the very first game in the franchise for iOS and Android devices. This isn’t going to be some reskinned version of a 3DS game, either, but an all-new augmented reality title in which players will have to venture out into the real world to catch wild Pokémon.

Pokémon Go doesn’t have a firm release date yet, but developer Niantic, which is producing the game in conjunction with the Pokémon Company, promises it’ll be ready sometime in 2016. First, though, the game needs to be play tested, and since Pokémon Go’s game environment is essentially the same as our actual one, that means Niantic isn’t holding a beta test, but a field test.

The company is looking for would-be Pokémon masters to help test a preliminary version of the game. Not all of the gameplay features have been implemented yet, and some that are present may not be working entirely properly, but nonetheless this is a chance to participate in what’s technically the very first real-world Pokémon hunt.

Participants must reside in Japan and have either an iOS or Android device (with an operating system no older than the iPhone 5 iOS or Android Version 4.3). You’ll also need a Gmail or Google account to register for the test. No compensation is offered, other than the satisfaction of helping to make Pokémon Go a more polished game—and of course some very impressive bragging rights among your gamer buddies.

The field test is scheduled to start in late March, and volunteers can apply online here.

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