Pokémon Is Making a Game You Play by Sleeping and I've Never Felt More Sure of Myself

By Catie Keck on at

During an announcement-packed press event in Tokyo this week, the Pokémon Company unveiled a handful of new services and hardware, including what I believe is the clear standout in this collection of new products: a game called Pokémon Sleep. And based on the limited information I have about how it works, I’m confident that I’m going to absolutely kill it at this game.

In its coverage of all of the forthcoming products announced at the event, our sister site Kotaku had the official overview of the game, which “aims to turn sleeping into entertainment by having a player’s time spent sleeping, and the time they wake up, effect the gameplay.”

Further details about the game are pretty limited for the time being, but the company said it’s slated for a 2020 release and that more details about the way it works will be released at a later time. Here’s what we know for now, per Kotaku:

[I]t was announced that a new device from Nintendo, Pokémon GO Plus +, will connect to Pokémon Sleep and launch with the app. The device will use an embedded accelerometer to track a user’s time sleeping and send this information to their smartphone via Bluetooth. This new device also has the same functions as the original Pokémon GO Plus, so Trainers can use it with Pokémon GO during the day and with Pokémon Sleep at night.

Accelerometers are commonly used in personal sleep tech to measure body movements while you’re dreaming, and from what I understand they are not a perfect science. As Niantic has released little information about how this game actually will work, it’s tough to know how sleepers will be rewarded (duration, routine, or restlessness, for example, might be factors the game takes into consideration). However, Niantic CEO John Hanke said during this week’s event that much like Pokémon GO helps enable exercise, Pokémon Sleep is meant to facilitate healthy sleep habits.

“At Niantic, we love exploring the world on foot. And that can’t happen unless we have the energy to embark on these adventures,” Hanke said, per TechCrunch. “We’re excited to find ways to reward good sleep habits in Pokémon GO as part of a healthy lifestyle. You’ll be hearing more from us on this in the future.”

The Pokémon Company certainly didn’t invent the first app or tool to gamify your pre-sleep or slumber, but it is arguably one of the most mainstream applications of this concept.

Listen, I am not especially skilled at catching Pokémon, but I crush the shit out catching some Zs. I, reader, am a perfect sleeper – a Sleep Master if you will. Play to win, you know? We have many months ahead of us before we’ll get to see what this game is all about, but in the meantime (and for a limited time), Pokémon GO trainers who catch the best and most relatable Pokémon – Snorlax – will know the exclusive event move Yawn.

Who else is ready to Pokémon GO to sleep?