As was recently announced Pokémon GO field tests have begun in Japan. Although no similar tests are available for other regions yet, we still can learn a lot from looking at the Japan tests—and it will be helpful for any of you currently in Japan.
For Android users, you must have version 4.3 or higher. For iOS users, you must have an iPhone 5 or better.
There are a few other interesting things to note about the Pokémon GO field test. First, a smaller amount of iOS players will be able to participate in the test than Android users. Exactly why is unclear, but it seems they have technical concerns about the iOS version.
Second, it looks like players of Niantic’s other augmented reality game, Ingress, stand a better shot of getting into the field test. The Japanese registration page asks for your Ingress username and level, if you’re a player, which suggests they take it into account.
While that might initially seem unfair to Pokémon fans who have no interest in Ingress, it makes sense when you consider the point of the field test. This isn’t just to give fans an early taste of Pokémon GO. Rather, it’s to test the game, search for possible issues, and give Niantic a better idea of what they should change and improve. The ideal testers in that case are people familiar with this type of game, so Ingress players are a logical choice. It also helps guarantee people who sign up for the field test have a device capable of playing it.
Finally, there has been some confusion over whether or not this is actually a beta. The term “field test” has left some fans wondering if this is something different, with a beta to start later on. However, Niantic founder John Hanke calls it a beta, so it’s just using a less common term.
So, to sum everything up, if you’re interesting in participating in the first-ever beta test for Pokémon GO…
- You must live in Japan.
- You must have a version 4.3 Android device or higher or an iPhone 5 or higher.
- Being an Ingress player gives you a better chance of being selected.
Fans outside of Japan are eagerly awaiting news of further field tests. Until then, we’ll pay close attention to feedback from the lucky Japanese players chosen to participate in the first look at Pokémon GO.