Pokémon Go, Nintendo's smartphone game built using technology from Google spin-off Niantic, has begun to roll out globally on Android and iOS.
The game was first announced in September 2015, and released as a closed beta in March. It represents one of the first steps by gaming giant Nintendo into the mobile realm, and has been eagerly anticipated by fans of the Pokémon franchise.
The app uses geolocation technology and smartphone cameras to create an augmented reality experience where players can capture, collect, trade and battle Pokémon. The technology was previously used by Niantic to create a similar game called Ingress.
Players can roam the real world seeking out the creatures, receiving notifications whenever one is nearby, while real life landmarks will be used to gather players together for special events. Users can also take control of 'gyms' scattered across the world, in a similar manner to Foursquare's 'mayor' feature, but with an additional gameplay element.
The rollout appears to go staggered, with the game appearing in app stores for Australia, New Zealand and certain US markets so far, although a global release is planned.
The app is free on both iOS and Android, but does include micro-transactions that range from $0.99 to $100 (£0.76 to £77), and Nintendo has also created a wearable device, available for $35, that fans can purchase which enables them to interact with the app without having to unlock their phone.
While the release was scheduled for 2016, it has come as something of a surprise, with both Nintendo and Niantic avoiding dropping hints about specific time frames.
Don’t forget to enter the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards. The Early Bird deadline for submissions is 22 July. More details here.