[ed. note: We got this one wrong. We had heard a similar story to the reddit post from a 3rd party that was working with Niantic on the Pokemon Go Watch. That person explained that Niantic was focusing on their own wearable and not the Apple Watch App.]
At this point it is clear that our source was wrong and we were wrong. Sorry for blowing that one, we’ll do better in the future.
Back in September, Apple and Niantic announced that the popular game Pokémon Go was coming to the Apple Watch before the end of this year. Since then, however, no news has come concerning that release and now it appears that the plans have been scrapped altogether…
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After rumors emerged claiming that Niantic had ceased development of Pokémon Go for Apple Watch, 9to5Mac has confirmed with a source with knowledge of the plans that the Apple Watch app has for now been shelved. Reports claim that what Niantic demonstrated on stage at Apple’s iPhone event in September was an “unfinished port.” Referring to the Apple Watch app as a “port” is somewhat interesting as it was originally described as being a companion app, with features such as the Apple Watch tapping your wrist as you approached a Pokéstop. At this point, Niantic hasn’t offered up any official details as to why it ceased development of the Pokémon Go Apple Watch application. In a customer support email response, an alleged Niantic representative stated that while plans have been ceased, “if demand for an Apple Watch port increases, we will continue development of a port.” Of note, 9to5Mac reached out to Niantic earlier this week to confirm if the company would hit its end-of-year target ship date for the Apple Watch Pokémon Go app, but the company didn’t offer a statement one way or the other. The Pokémon Go app for Apple Watch was widely believed to be a way for Niantic to continue tempting users to regularly play the game. While the game was initially a smash success, interest has waned over recent months. Niantic has been rolling out features such as a special one-day events and rewards for using the app daily as a way to drive users to the app. Niantic notably released its own wearable for Pokémon Go back in September. Called Pokémon Go Plus, the wearable connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and flashes a built-in LED light to notify you of nearby players and Pokémon. Niantic’s Pokémon Go Plus wearable makes the company’s decision to cease development of the Apple Watch app even more interesting. The wearable sold out nearly instantly, thus signaling that there is a market for Pokémon Go on the wrist and that the Apple Watch app would have been popular had it come to market. It’s unclear what the decision to stop development for Apple Watch means for the game coming to other hardware devices or the future of the company’s own wearables. Perhaps the opportunity with its own hardware was part of the reason it’s not planning to release for Apple Watch. Most recently, Pokémon Go added more Pokémon including a holiday-themed Pikachu and characters from Gold and Silver video games. Additionally, it was revealed that Pokémon Go was teaming up with Starbucks and Sprint for promotions. While the Apple Watch Pokémon Go app may be no more, you can still download the original app from the App Store and everything will continue as normal.