Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Secret History of Pokémon GO: How was Pokémon GO created?

Whether you love it or loathe it, you’ve got to admit that the Pokémon GO craze is more than a bit fascinating – and the secret history of how it was created may be the most interesting thing about it.

So what’s the inside scoop on Pokémon GO? It turns out the idea was actually spawned back in 2014 thanks to a Google April Fools’ Day joke.

Using Google Maps it created the Pokémon Challenge, a mini-game that encouraged you to try and capture the fictional monsters when using the app.

Releasing the video you see below, the company wrote:

“Dozens of wild Pokémon have taken up residence on streets, amidst forests and atop mountains throughout Google Maps. 

“To catch ’em all, grab your Poké Ball and the newest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android.”

Related: How to play
Pokémon GO – tips and tricks

Sound familiar?

At the time, Pokémon GO developer Niantic was part of the Google empire, and its CEO John Hanke apparently took the idea more seriously than most.

Niantic eventually split with Google and the rest, as they say, is history – Pokémon GO is now bigger than the likes of Tinder, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.

Not bad for a prank.

Watch: What is Pokémon GO?

Have you downloaded Pokémon GO yet? Let us know what you think of the game in the comments below.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.