In an interview with Nikkei, Pokemon Company president Tsunekazu Ishihara said player safety was always a concern while developing Pokemon Go, as the publisher was worried players would be too engrossed in their phones to be aware of their surroundings. The game was linked to a number of deaths last summer.
"We intended to make a game for people to play outdoors, instead of at home," Ishihara said. "The potential that players could become too involved in playing the game [that they might walk into danger] was already an issue at an early stage.
"To avoid the danger, we also released Pokemon Go Plus, the smartphone-linked wearable device, so that Pokemon Go players [did] not have to always be looking down at their smartphone screens. Together with Nintendo, we are thinking of developing a new device that can be played more safely."
Pokemon Go Plus was a wrist-mounted device that made playing the critter-collecting game safer and more convenient. It launched in September, after the release of the base game. The Plus was originally supposed to release in July, closer to the launch of Pokemon Go. However, the accessory was delayed. In its pre-sales phase, it sold out and started appearing on eBay for prices upwards of $100--some were even on sale for more than $200. Nintendo later apolgized for the stock shortages, promising to expand production.