US Gamers Invited to Test Pokemon GO

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Real-world adventure game Pokémon GO is available now for testing in the US.

Unveiled last fall, the title takes players out of the digital world and into the physical one, using smartphone location information.

Users around the world are encouraged to tear themselves away from the couch and go outside—exploring their neighborhood, community, and beyond—to catch wild Pokémon with friends and other players.

The final iOS and Android app, produced by Niantic in collaboration with The Pokémon Company, is not yet ready for primetime. "Because the game involves numerous people playing in multiple countries at the same time, we have a lot to test before we publicly launch," the game site said.

Interested gamers in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand can sign up online; you must have a smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher or an iPhone 5 with iOS 8 or above. Keep in mind that the app has a limited set of features, some of which may not work properly.

Testers will be selected based on factors like OS types, experience in real-world games, and sheer luck. There are no premiums or monetary rewards, nor will users be reimbursed for data usage.

"Please consider the actual improvement of [the] game as the reward for participating in the program," Niantic said in an announcement.

Players are also asked to refrain from sharing content of the app "to have an element of surprise" at the public launch; no photos or videos on social media. "We hope that you—as field testers—understand this and will work with us to make the Pokémon GO game experience truly phenomenal," the game maker added.

Google's Niantic is best known for augmented-reality mobile game Ingress, which utilizes GPS technology to fuel a science-fiction story.

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