By far, the most annoying thing about Pokémon Go is that you need to have the app open on your phone to make any progress in the game.
If you tab away from the game to answer an email or check Facebook, for even a few minutes, you’re not accruing the vital walking distance you need to hatch and power up your Pokémon.
Good news, then, for those who are willing to shell out for Nintendo’s $35 Pokémon Go Plus accessory, which launches on Friday: Nintendo confirms with Business Insider that so long as you’re wearing the Plus, your step count will increase even when the app is in the background on your phone.
“Even while Pokémon Go is operating in the background, the walking distance needed to hatch eggs or get candies is reflected,” says a Nintendo spokesperson.
That’s a pretty big plus for the Plus. Additionally, the Pokémon Go Plus will actually automatically catch (or try to catch) Pokémon for you as you pass by, as well as automatically trigger Pokéstops. All you have to do is walk around the real world, and the Pokémon Go Plus will take care of most of the game’s busywork for you.
It doesn’t totally replace the act of playing the game for you. Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, has said that it won’t capture Pokémon for you that you haven’t already encountered in the wild, meaning you still have to pay attention to the game if you’re on the hunt for something really rare.
And, naturally, it won’t compete in gym battles on your behalf. So there’s still stuff for you to do.
But Niantic CEO John Hanke has said the point of Pokémon Go is to encourage people to explore the real world and make friends. Removing the need to pay attention to your phone’s screen to play the most tedious parts of the game seems like a big step towards that goal — which is also why the game is coming to the Apple Watch, too.
If this made you want a Pokémon Go Plus, though, there’s some bad news: It’s been back-ordered since it first went up for preorder around the game’s July launch.
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