Back on March 11th Niantic released actual Wizards Unite gameplay footage. On that very same day, Wizards Unite opened for pre-registration at the Play Store. (If you haven’t pre-registered yet, you can do it here). There was no mention of the App Store.
Will iOS devices get Wizards Unite?
Now it’s been almost a month. Let’s go over what we know as we try to make sense of what is happening.
The Samsung conspiracy theory
Late last year, we fond out Samsung made a ‘secret’ deal with Niantic. In exchange for their $40M investment, Samsung would get a Niantic Harry Potter game in exclusive.
The problem we came across when analysing this deal was that Niantic was in deep developing Wizards Unite. They were about to have offer company shares for the first time. Not just that, but they were also buying smaller companies working on AR technology. And they were partnering with German network companies to develop the technology needed for their multiplayer platforms (5G, low-latency networks).
All of this made it seem very unlikely that they would be developing a new, Harry Potter-themed game at the same time for Samsung. Which gave many of us pause. Was Samsung really getting dibs on Wizards Unite?
By now it’s clear that Wizards Unite will be available for download on all compatible Android devices. (There have been some ‘Device not compatible’ issues for Android phones when trying to pre-register. You can get more information in this thread). However, during the 2019 MWC Niantic was set up in Samsung’s stand, and allowed visitors to try a live version of Codename: NEON on the new Samsung phone. Maybe the exclusive Samsung will be getting won’t be another game, but compatibility with future game developments?
The original theory
Of course, once we saw that Wizards Unite was available at the Play Store it was clear Samsung would not be getting an exclusive. But soon iPhone users began to wonder why the pre-registration was only open for Android devices. What was happening?
So everyone interested in Wizards Unite started looking into it. If you think Potterheads wouldn’t make amazing detectives just check out some #WUtubers (Wizards Unite Youtubers) videos. They can delve deeper than a Niffler trying to get to a shiny.
The first thing we noticed (shout-out to @XpectoGO for the find) was this: According to App Store rules, games can only stay in pre-registration status for 90 days.
What we took from this was that Niantic wasn’t quite ready yet to give us that tentative date. If the game went to the App Store on March 11th, we’d be talking early June for wide release. That seemed a little too soon given what we know so far.
We’re beginning to worry
But as the days went by, we noticed something else. The App Store is not the only one with a 90-day rule. It turns the same time limit applies to Play Store pre-releases. So what is happening?!
We went a little bit deeper into the 90-day issue in this post. So right now I won’t go over it all again. I’ll just skip to the highlights.
Up until now, everyone assumed both Android and iOS users would get the game (If your phone uses another OS you might be out of luck. I’m looking at you, Windows!). In the post I went into why I thought Niantic only offered pre-release on Android despite the rules being the same.
My theory is that they found a loophole in the Play Store terms and conditions. They found a way for a beta release to fall within those 90 days and qualify as a release, so they would have more time until they have to release world-wide. Whether it’s because the Play Store is less strict or because Niantic has some serious companies backing the game, I think they found something to bend the rules for Android phones. And I think they couldn’t find a way to do the same on the App Store.
The window is closing for iOS
But it’s been a month. And everything seems to indicate that Wizards Unite will release before the end of June. To find out more about this check out @PokeFodder‘s video.
And here comes the tough part. We are already inside the 90-day window for a June 30th release. Niantic could make Wizards Unite available for pre-registration at the App Store and release the game within the first half of the year without breaking the 90-day rule. Yet they haven’t.
The AccioWU theory
- The game won’t release by end of June (if you watched the video you’ll probably agree it’s unlikely)
- They are trying to keep the actual release date secret (but how would that work considering it’s already available at the Play Store)
- Niantic won’t offer pre-release at all for iOS users and jump straight into the wide release (so no beta-testing for iPhones)
- They are having issues with compatibility so they’re not ready to offer iOS pre-release yet
- The game won’t be released on both platforms at the same time (if at all)
Now up until now we just assumed the game would be available for Android and iOS users alike. There were even some official mentions to that effect. So while it’s unlikely that iPhones won’t get Wizards Unite at all, none of the other options make much sense either.
So what do you think? Will the game release on both OS at the same time? Will iOS be the family Squib? Are you too happy to have an Android phone and just don’t care about what happens to iOS users? Do you have any other theories? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to join the Community to stay up to date with Wizards Unite and its future players.