TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s the Pokemon Company said on Wednesday it was developing “Pokemon Sleep”, a mobile app, which numbers of players are sleeping and uses the data for the gameplay, with a release date for next year.
Tsunekazu Ishihara, the chief executive of the Pokemon Company, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Sam Nussey
“We want to turn sleep into entertainment,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive from the Pokemon Company, which helps manage the Pokemon franchise, at an event in Tokyo.
At the same event, Kyoto-based Nintendo Co Ltd said that it is developing a sleep-tracking successor of Pokemon Go Plus device, which allows users to “catch” Pokemon without their smartphone.
Augmented reality smartphone game “Pokemon Go”, developed by the San Francisco-based Niantic Inc., became a worldwide phenomenon after its launch in 2016 if players have plenty of living rooms on the streets to hunt for Pokemon.
The Pokemon Company was founded with investment from gaming companies Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures. Spread over products including video games, movies, and cuddly Pokemon is a home-grown contender for a Disney-like pop-culture empire.
The first two Pokemon titles launched for the Nintendo Game Boy handheld console in 1996. Since then, the game series has sold more than 340 million units worldwide.
Pokemon Sleep will make use of data points like how long the user slept and when they woke up, to change the gameplay – although the Pokemon Company did not elaborate on how the gameplay would change.
The title might help to anchor Pokemon appeal outside of the core gamers, and tap into a growing market for health-tracking services.
Nintendo has been trying to attract casual fans of Pokemon, Go to the hybrid-Switch games device with two beginner-friendly “Pokemon Let’s Go” titles, which have sold more than 10 million copies, such as at the end of March.
It will release two full-fledged Pokemon titles for the device at the end of 2019.
Pokemon’s global appeal is reflected in the success of the film “the Pokemon Detective Pikachu”, which has more than $120 million at the box offices in North America. The move has the yellow Pikachu character – is often the face of Pokemon as a Sherlock Holmes-like crime-buster, complete with deerstalker.
A sequel to the Detective Pokemon game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console will be released for the Switch, the Pokemon Company said.
Pokemon’s success comes as Nintendo expands the range of outlets for the popular characters, with the Italian plumber Mario feature at a Nintendo-themed land under construction at Osaka Universal Studios Japan theme park.
On Wednesday, the event in Tokyo, Chinese partner NetEase, Inc., that the launch of a local version of the mobile game Pokemon Quest – also said that the purpose to be more Pokemon games to China.
Nintendo is also working with Chinese gaming leader Tencent Holdings Ltd to launch its device in the country.
Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Himani sarkar Cushing and Christopher