The Pokémon Company has announced the next step in its augmented reality gaming future with a new direction: Pokémon Sleep, a game with the ambitious aim of turning “sleep into entertainment.”

Sleep will work by recording when players go to bed, wake, and how long they’re sleeping. According to the Guardian, the game will be accompanied by a hardware element, known as the Pokémon Plus+ (“plus plus”).

Developed by Select Button, with assistance from the Pokémon Go maker, Niantic, the game will work in tandem with the device, which can be worn around a user’s wrist or on a lanyard. It then transmits this sleep information to a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.

“In 2016,” the company wrote on its Twitter feed, “Pokémon GO turned the simple act of walking into entertainment, making the whole world into a game. We’re about to do it again, Trainers – this time, for sleeping.”

“Everyone spends a large part of their life sleeping, and turning that into entertainment is our next challenge at Pokemon,” said CEO, Tsunekazu Ishihara at an event in Tokyo, the Japan Times reported. Though the announcement was extremely short on details, the company did say that the game will be released in 2020.

In what was an extremely wide-ranging press conference, the company went on to announce a suite of further projects in the works. These included a Nintendo Switch console game based on the new movie, Detective Pikachu, which is also yet to launch (Nintendo part-owns the Pokémon Company).

Other ideas point to an agnosticism about the particular device on which the Pokémon experience will exist: Pokémon HOME is a cloud service that “will work with Nintendo Switch and iOS and Android devices, allowing you to bring over the Pokémon that you’ve shared adventures with throughout your journey.” This takes in other new games that it has announced for the Switch console: the more traditional role-playing Sword and Shield games.

The plans are undoubtedly ambitious and their presentation a bit of a mess. But, considering the company’s position as the first mass-populariser of augmented reality gaming, through the Niantic-developed Pokémon GO, it suggests an expanded universe, especially one that offers cross-platform access, could prove extremely powerful.

Look, for example, to Epic Games’ Fortnite title, which boasts 200 million players and enormous revenues partly because it is accessible across platforms – gaming consoles, mobile phones, and tablets.

Sourced from The Guardian, The Japan Times, Twitter, WARC