Pokémon GO fans will surely be in a state of frenzy as the accompanying accessory to the immensely popular mobile game has just been made available today. Their agitation will surely be elevated a notch higher when they discover that the wristband comes in short supply and that the accessory, as a result, has been sold out in several retailers in no time.
The announced retail partners include Amazon and GameStop. As of this writing, however, a quick check to these online stores revealed a buying experience that is as frustrating as catching Mewtwo. At GameStop, the supply has been depleted, period. At Amazon, the device is being sold at a staggering $80, which is radically higher than the officially announced $34.99 price tag. Also, that pricing does not include shipping, which should set a buyer back around $4 more. The situation should be the same in eBay. To top it all, preorders have already been sold out for weeks.
For those who are wondering what the fuss is all about, the Pokémon GO Plus is the accessory that Niantic previously announced alongside the game. It is used to track distance, catch Pokémon and collect items at Pokéstops without using one's smartphone. It will supposedly allow users to do just about everything in the game with the exception of gym battles.
"Pokémon GO Plus ... connects to your phone over Bluetooth low energy (LE), allowing you to keep your phone in your pocket and go about your day-to-day activities," Niantic and The Pokémon Company said in an official statement last week. "With Pokémon GO Plus, you'll be able to play and enjoy your walk, run, hike, park trips, or visits to the library without having to look at your screen all the time."
The Pokémon GO Plus accessory turns the Pokémon GO app into a more well-rounded game than the traditional Pokémon titles. Along with the buddy system, for example, the game assumes a fitness-app character as it forces players to walk and track distance in order to hatch eggs, hunt for monsters and acquire candies, among others. The gadget is seen as part of Niantic's effort to improve gameplay and keep players engaged in the game overall.
Meanwhile, players should pray that Niantic has enough people and facilities working to replenish the Pokémon GO Plus supply in store shelves. As we inch toward the holiday, the demand will surely increase further, possibly driving the scarcity until 2017.