As per usual, there is absolutely no official information coming from Niantic or WB on a possible release date. So there’s very little to go on. We have been speculating for some time now, wondering what those new ads could mean to the release date, or whether the Beta player survey is a sign that we’re still weeks away from seeing a game launch.
That is why today we decided to take a look back and compare how Niantic dealt with their flagship game, Pokémon GO, and the upcoming Wizards Unite.
A quick view of the timeline:
- Announcement: September 10, 2015
- Pre-registration: March 3, 2016
- Japan: March 28th, 2016
- New Zealand and Australia: April 25th, 2016
- USA: May 25th, 2016
- Beta Players Survey: June 24th, 2016
- Worldwide Launch: July 5th, 2016 – January 24th, 2017
- First Event: Halloween Festivities: October 25th, 2016
- Announcement: November 8, 2017
- Pre-registration: March 11, 2019
- Beta players survey: May 29th, 2019
- First Event: Fantastic Flora and Fauna: May 30th 2019
- Worldwide Launch: 2019?
The Official Announcement
Pokémon GO was first announced through a press release back on September 10th 2015. Here’s an excerpt of the announcement.
TOKYO, JAPAN—September 10, 2015—
The Pokémon Company, Niantic, Inc., and Nintendo Co., Ltd. today announced their collaboration on a new project for mobile devices called Pokémon GO. This ground breaking mobile game will encourage fans to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. Pokémon GO will be available for download at no charge on the App Store and Google Play in 2016.
“Our challenge was to develop a great game for smart phone devices that expressed the core values of Pokémon,” said Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company. “Pokémon GO is the answer to that challenge.”
“Pokémon GO is a wonderful combination of Niantic’s real world gaming platform and one of the most beloved franchises in popular culture,” said John Hanke, founder and CEO of Niantic, Inc. “Our partnership with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo is an exciting step forward in real-world gaming and using technology to help players discover the world and people around them.”
In the case of Wizards Unite, the announcement came on November 8, 2017. This is what they had to say:
“At Niantic, our goal is to leverage technology to create real world experiences that help people to discover the wonderful, and often magical parts of the world around them,” said John Hanke, founder and CEO of Niantic, Inc. “The beloved Harry Potter stories have captured imaginations worldwide for more than 20 years and soon we’ll turn the fantasy into augmented reality, allowing fans and their friends to become wizards and witches.”
“With this game, we are allowing the passionate, worldwide fan base to experience J.K. Rowling’s deeply powerful and imaginative universe in a new, truly immersive way,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “It is wonderful to have Niantic’s remarkable augmented reality expertise as we develop this incredibly rich wizarding world for players to explore in their everyday lives.”
Here is where we come up with our first big time gap.
Pokémon GO opened pre-registration early March 2016. This is roughly four months after the game was first announced.
On the other hand, Wizards Unite opened registration early March 2019 (and only on Android). This means we went some sixteen months between announcement and (limited) pre-registration. And of course do keep in mind that the entire game was supposed to release in 2018, so we’re already incredibly behind schedule at this point.
The first country to get the Beta version of Pokémon GO was Japan. Niantic announced the Beta on the same day as they opened pre-registration, March 3rd, 2016. The early access went live on March 28th. Once again, roughly four months after the original announcement and still in the expected year.
About a month after that, New Zealand and Australia got early access as well. This happened on April 25th, 2016 (with the release being announced on April 7th.
The last country to get early access to the game was U.S.A., about a month after New Zealand and Australia. This release was announced on May 16th and went live on May 25th.
Wizards Unite did not announce the Beta release ahead of time. The first country to be chosen was New Zealand. The Beta went live on April 17th 2019. The time between pre-registration and first Beta test is similar, approximately 25 days for Pokémon GO and 37 days for Wizards Unite.
Beta Players Survey
Pokemon GO contacted early access players asking for feedback on June 24th, 2016. That’s three and a half months after the first beta release in Japan and a month after the last beta, USA.
Wizards Unite sent their survey email to beta players on May 29th, roughly a month and a half after the first beta launch and a month after the second.
In this, too, the timelines seem to be similar, although the beta period for Wizards Unite was, in all, shorter. Assuming they won’t open any more beta regions now.
The First Event
Here we can see a big difference. Pokemon Go’s first event, a Halloween Event, took place in October, 2016. By then the game was already available in most of the world.
Wizards Unite, on the other hand, had an exclusive event starting on May 30th. The event was, naturally, only available for those in the beta regions: New Zealand and Australia.
With Pokemon GO, Niantic opted for a slow roll out that took about six months in total. It started on July 5th 2016, a little over a month after the last Beta release and ten months after the original announcement.
Wizards Unite…well, it’s been a month since the last Beta release (Australia) and about nineteen months after the original announcement. It’s all right there in the numbers, really. The Calamity is causing some serious delay.
Here’s what we think
But it’s important to note that the PoGO release happened just two weeks after the email went out to beta players asking for their feedback.
We don’t have a release date for Wizards Unite at the moment (because of course we don’t…), but the survey went out on May 29th, just before the start of the first event. The deadline for the survey was Sunday June 2nd.
While there’s no way to know if they’ll follow a similar timeline as with Pokémon GO, there are enough similarities (if we don’t look at the “year of silence”) to maybe get our hopes up thinking of a worldwide release within the next two weeks. For some reason, we still like to be hopeful.
What do you think? Will Wizards Unite launch this month? Later in the summer? Before 2039?
Let us know in the comments, and subscribe to keep up to date with the latest Wizards Unite news!
You can also join our discord and our forum so we can talk a little more about WizU. Or vent over the interminable wait. Or maybe share your thought on the game over some Butterbeer Just click the button you like most and you’ll find us on the other side!
And remember, keep your eyes peeled, your ears open and your wand ready. Wizards, Unite!