Last week saw the release of Pokémon Sleep, the latest game in the hit Pokémon franchise. Developed by Niantic and Select Button, the app tracks the user’s sleep, allowing them to capture Pokémon with the aim of turning sleep itself into a form of entertainment.
So while Pokémon Go was all about spending your day times active and out there, Pokémon Sleep is all about snuggling up and getting a good night's kip.
The game sees players take the role of a researcher, teaming up with a Snorlax - a notoriously sleepy creature - to investigate how Pokémon sleep.
The game assigns users with a sleep score of up to 100, with a higher sleep score rewarding the user with rarer Pokémon. The score is then converted into sleep points which can be redeemed for in-game items.
Speaking to Reuters, The Pokémon Company product manager Yuri Horie explained that "Pokémon Sleep provides another opportunity for anyone with a smart device to interact with Pokémon and provides an opportunity to look forward to waking up in the morning and also to get lots of sleep."
Gotta catch ’em all
Nintendo, one of the Pokémon Company’s owners, has previously attempted to enter the world of sleep tracking with a platform first announced in 2014, which was being developed in partnership with American medical equipment manufacturer ResMed. The platform aimed to use entertainment to improve quality of life through the use of non-wearable technology.
This marks the third significant time that The Pokémon Company has released a game or app with a focus on health and wellness. Pokémon Go became a worldwide hit upon its release in 2016, and encouraged walking, while 2020 saw the release of Pokémon Smile, which helps players maintain their oral hygiene more effectively.
Pokémon Sleep also allows for a variety of sleep schedules, for example players who are unable to sleep for the maximum amount of time registered (eight and a half hours) consistently can boost their score by napping throughout the day.
However, unlike Pokémon Go, users are unable to connect the app to Pokémon Home, the service which allows the transfer of the creatures between servers and games. This will prevent users with high sleep scores from gaining an unfair advantage in the franchise’s mainline titles - or its thriving competitive scene.
The game is certainly attracting media attention due to its innovative gameplay. We'll have to wait and see if its originality can repeat the magic of Pokémon Go.
We listed Niantic as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022. We’ll be unveiling our list for 2023 in the coming months.