The Pokémon Company International and Niantic have announced that Pokémon GO will receive an update that adds an enhanced augmented reality (AR) experience exclusively on devices running iOS 11, that includes iPhone 6S and newer models.
The new AR+ (or AR Plus) feature continues to build on the core AR gameplay in Pokémon GO, with the developer leveraging Apple’s ARKit framework “to enhance the visuals and dynamics of catching Pokémon in the real world.”
Once activated in encounter mode, Pokémon will be more accurately positioned based on their surroundings and environment thanks to the six degrees of freedom the technology provides. And, thanks to ARKit’s advanced 3D AR scaling, a Pokémon’s size will be more accurately based on the world around them – changing in perspective and size as players move closer or further away.
Those that get closer to a Pokémon can receive a special capture bonus, but comes at the risk that, if you get to close, the Pokémon may run away. If successful, you could score a new Expert Handler bonus that will give you more XP and Stardust.
Niantic has broken down the improvements under scale, awareness, and Expert Handler bonus topics, which, for those interested in learning more, you can read below:
Scale: With AR+, Pokémon are now fixed to a point in space, meaning you can walk up close to a Pokémon to see to how they’ll look in the real world. Imagine looking up at a massive Onix or walking around a gigantic Snorlax blocking your path! This feature brings us one step closer to truly realizing Pokémon the way they are supposed to be represented in the real world. Pokémon GO AR photos will never be the same again!
Awareness: Pokémon will run away if they become aware of the Trainers getting close, so be careful. You can sneak up close to earn an Expert Handler bonus, but think twice before running right up to that Charizard! You’ll need to be extra cautious so you don’t scare it away. An awareness meter will appear next to the Pokémon, and if the meter fills up, the Pokémon will flee. If it does, you can try tapping on the tall grass nearby, which may cause the Pokémon to reappear and give you an additional chance to catch it.
Expert Handler Bonus: Think you have what it takes to be an expert Pokémon handler? While in AR+ mode, you’ll finally have the chance to prove it! If you’re able to catch a Pokémon while in close proximity, you’ll have a better chance at earning Great and Excellent Throw bonuses, as well as an all-new Expert Handler bonus that awards even more XP and Stardust.
This is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future. As you explore your local neighborhoods, remember to share your AR+ photos of your encounters on social media with the hashtag #PokemonGOarplus. And be sure to always stay aware of your surroundings and make sure you’re safe while in AR+ mode. We’d love to see all of your new adventures as they unfold.