After hitting the rest of the world in July, Pokemon Go is finally available officially in India via Google Play and App Store. Developer Niantic is bringing Pokemon Go to India by partnering with Reliance Jio.
“We are delighted to partner with Jio to launch Pokemon Go in India,” said John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Niantic. “It’s exciting to see Pokemon fans in India step out and explore their neighbourhoods in search of Pokemon, and Jio’s disruptive high speed 4G LTE Network will be an excellent way to experience the game.”
Perhaps what Hanke doesn’t realise is that Indians have been playing Pokemon Go ever since it was released globally. Whether you’re new to Pokemon Go, or simply coming back because more people might give it a shot now that it’s out officially, we’ve got you covered - here's everything you should know.
How to download and play Pokemon Go
You can now download and play Pokemon Go officially in India via the App Store or Google Play. If you live in a region that doesn't have Pokemon Go yet here's how you can get the game for iOS or Android.
What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is a game for smartphones based on Nintendo's classic Pokemon games. It's available for both Android and iOS. It uses your phone's camera to show you cute monsters (Pokemon) you can collect for points. You can also train these Pokemon up and make them battle in 'Gyms''. Less than a week after its release, Pokemon Go was already more popular than Tinder.
Nintendo did not make Pokemon Go
A common misconception is to confuse Pokemon with Nintendo. We can’t blame you for that considering that the Pokemon games have been available on Nintendo’s consoles for the longest time. Pokemon Go is developed by The Pokemon Company — the firm responsible for marketing and licensing the Pokemon franchise; and Niantic — which used to operate as a part of Google, and was later spun off as a separate company when Google became Alphabet.
You don’t need Reliance Jio to play Pokemon Go
Although Niantic has partnered with Reliance Jio to launch Pokemon Go in India, the game is playable on other operators such as Airtel and Vodafone too. Of course, with Jio's ongoing free data services, you can use it to download and play Pokemon Go without incurring further costs.
Reliance Digital Stores and the company's select partner premises in India will appear as PokeStops or Gyms within the game from Wednesday, but this won’t be restricted to these either. With Starbucks and McDonald’s being sponsored locations globally, you can expect others to come on board soon enough. And yes, there will be in-game advertising to boot.
A possible reason for India’s late Pokemon Go release date
In a post on Niantic’s website, the developer explained the reason for its delayed launch outside a few select markets.
"We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokemon Go to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokemon Go around the world an... interesting... challenge," admits the company, reiterating its desire to bring the game to other nations. "And we aren't done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available)."
This could explain the delay in launching the game in India given that Pokemon Go is dependent on you being always online to play it.
Pokemon Go review
In our review, we opined that Pokemon Go is a well-designed app as far as interface is concerned, but wasn’t exactly bug-free, riddled with crashes and bugs galore. It will also drain your battery life, and the battery saver mode in the game is not much help. Will this change with its official release and a wealth of updates, some of which fix our biggest concerns? We hope so. For now though, we’d recommend you keep your power bank or charger close.
(Also see: Pokemon Go Review)
Important things to know before playing Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go will possibly destroy your phone’s battery life and demands a good 3G connection at the very least. Aside from that, there are some other important details we have covered in depth here.
Pokemon Go tips and tricks for beginners and pros
While Pokemon Go might be one of the biggest successes of the year, it isn’t the best explained. We’ve covered some necessary tips and tricks to help you be the best trainer around. If you’re an advanced player who understands the basics but needs help with some of the finer points, this guide may be of use.
(Also see: Pokemon Go Tips and Tricks)
You won’t burn through your data plan with Pokemon Go
Network analytics firm P3 Communications Inc. has discovered that the app only uses around five to 10 megabytes of data per hour. As a comparison, an hour of HD video weighs in at about 350 megabytes.
Pokemon Go is not on Windows 10 devices
Despite attempts from rabid Windows 10 users to get Pokemon Go onto their devices, Niantic has focussed all its attention on the iOS and Android versions of the game. A petition did surface, hitting 41,600 signatures in short time, and Microsoft Portugal did put out a statement that it would end up retracting soon after, but it is safe to say that you won’t be able get it on hardware running Microsoft’s OS anytime soon.
Catching Pikachu in Pokemon Go won’t be easy
The mascot of all things Pokemon isn’t simple to get. Don't worry though, as we've found a few tricks to help you get the little guy if you want to. Here’s a guide to help you do just that.
(Also see: Pokemon Go: How to Catch Pikachu)
There’s already an Indian app that’s trying to be the next Pokemon Go
Hyderabad-based Empower Labs, a funded company that got started in December 2014 working on its own AR game called Delta-T, is hopeful that Pokemon Go signals the start of a trend that will help boost the whole category.
"If you look at it, Ingress is much more of a game [than Pokemon Go] but Pokemon Go comes at the right time," says Krishna Milan Rao, the CEO of Empower Labs. "But I'm happy because it's creating a market, people are much more open to AR games, and now you don't have to explain how the general concept works, how you'll move around on the map and capture locations. The basics are being seeded."
Pokemon Go new features
Months after release, Niantic revealed a slew of updates. One of these made it easier to catch rare Pokemon, another allowed for daily bonuses and the Nearby feature, which was in need of a revamp to let you track Pokemon more accurately was done as well.
(Also see: How to Get Pokemon Go Daily Bonuses)
Some not so pleasant side-effects of playing Pokemon Go
We’ve seen the Prime Minister of Norway caught playing Pokemon Go in parliament, a Russian blogger charged with offending religious sensibilities for playing it in a church, a Pokemon Go-playing Japanese truck driver running over a pedestrian, and countries banning it in specific locations or altogether amidst security concerns. Hopefully Indian players are mindful of their surroundings before putting themselves or others at risk.
Are you still playing Pokemon Go? Or do you plan to go back to the game now it’s available officially? Or would this be your first time playing it? Or do you prefer Pokemon Sun and Moon instead? Let us know via the comments.