According to YouTuber Eric F., the above footage was shot during a gaming panel with Niantic Labs CEO, John Hanke, at SXSW in Texas last week. While neither Nintendo, Niantic, nor The Pokemon Company have officially confirmed that the footage is of the upcoming mobile augmented reality game, Pokemon GO, is in fact real, it appears to be fairly obvious.
It’s hard to tell what Hanke is talking about in the background of the video, but the footage shows the players catching an Ivysaur, one of the original 151 Pokemon. In Pokemon GO, players will be able to not only catch hundreds of Pokemon within the game like they’ve been doing for years, but players will get to actually go out and catch them in the real world. By using GPS tracking inside your phone and augmented reality features from your front-facing camera, Niantic’s game is expected to finally bring the pocket monsters into the real world.
Originally, Pokemon GO was expected to make an appearance at GDC last week, but plans were canceled to focus on development more closely ahead of launch later this year. Currently, Japanese players are testing the game in an early access state, which should open up to other countries soon.
Niantic is no stranger to location-based apps and games. John Hanke, Niantic CEO, is the creator of Google Earth and was part of the team that brought one of the first 3D MMOs, Meridian 59, to life. Prior to Pokemon GO, Niantic has been working on their GPS-based tourism game called Ingress. With Pokemon GO, Niantic is finally making the jump to more mainstream applications of geolocation and augmented reality-based technology.