Pokémon Go is launching on iOS and Android today

Surprise! It looks like Pokémon Go, the much-anticipated augmented reality game backed by Nintendo, is coming to Android and iOS devices near you today.

The game was released in beta in the U.S. back in May, and it appears to be rolling out to iOS and Android users in many other countries today. Initially, the app is limited to New Zealand, that’s a common first step when some apps are launched worldwide and a sign of imminent expansions. At the time of writing, the app is not available in the U.S. or UK, two major markets, but we can expect that it will be available more widely at some point today, Wednesday.

TechCrunch’s Greg Kumparak spent time playing the game earlier this year and, in a word, found it to be “awesome.”

If you grew up on Pokémon battle games — or still play them these days — then you’re sure to be into Go, which uses your smartphone to bring Pokémon characters and Pokémon battles to real life locations and landmarks in cities. The game is free to download, but has in-app purchases to unlock some characters. A $35 wearable device to accompany the game is set to go on sale later this month.

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The game is very similar to Ingress, the flagship game from Niantic Labs, the company behind Pokémon Go which was spun out of Google last year. Ingress is essentially a global battle between two different teams, who compete to capture flags and gain territories across the world. Unlike an online game, AR lights up Ingress by turning the world into the game’s battlefield.

Pokemon Go can be download for iOS (here — New Zealand only, for now) and Android (here). We’ll update these links as and when the app is available in more countries.