Gotta catch some shuteye: Pokemon unveils 'sleep game'

Photo: AP

Having trouble waking up in the morning? Not getting enough sleep? The company that brought you Pokemon Go may have a solution: a game "played" by sleeping.

Pokemon Company said on Wednesday it would release a new smartphone game called "Pokemon Sleep" in 2020, turning sleep into entertainment.

The firm created the wildly popular Pokemon Go app, a game that let players walking the real world hunt virtual Pokemon, in 2016.

"Now we set our sights on sleeping," president Tsunekazu Ishihara told reporters.

"It's a game with which you look forward to waking up," he said.

"Turning sleeping... into entertainment is our next goal."

Ishihara offered little detail on the game, but Nintendo - which helped develop Pokemon Go - said during the press conference in Tokyo that they are rolling out a new device that can track players' sleep and send data to their smartphone.

The announcement sparked a social media frenzy, and plenty of quips.

"I can't wait to be an esports player now that sleeping is part of gaming," wrote one Twitter user.

"Pokemon Sleep. At last, a valid excuse for that extra six hours in bed," wrote another.

At the very least, the game seems unlikely to spark the sort of trouble caused by Pokemon Go, which saw players blamed for traffic accidents and other violations as they roamed the streets - buried in their phones - hunting "monsters".

The free game uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon characters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures.

Pokemon, short for "pocket monsters", has been a constant in Japan since it was launched as software in 1996 for Nintendo's iconic Game Boy console.

Its "Gotta Catch 'Em All" slogan has been turned into a song.

The game has expanded into other media, most notably a hugely popular TV animation show and a recent film.

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