Niantic Inc and The Pokémon Company have announced that smash-hit augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go has been downloaded over 500 million times in the two months since it first launched on iOS and Android devices.

The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara said: "The phenomenal success of Pokémon Go during the brand's 20-year celebration is an incredible reminder of how many people around the world love Pokémon.

"The team at Niantic developed a unique experience that merges their expertise in cutting-edge location-based technologies with the beloved characters and classic gameplay of Pokémon. This ideal match of the right brand and the right technology has resonated with hundreds of millions of existing and new fans around the world."

Last night (7 September) at Apple's iPhone 7 announcement in San Francisco, Niantic Inc announced that a companion app for the game is to launch on the Apple Watch. The app will share much of the functionality of Nintendo's Pokémon Go Plus peripheral, allowing users to hatch eggs, interact with PokéStops and find Pokémon, but not catch them.

To catch them users will need to use the watch's accompanying iPhone. The Apple Watch app does have one advantage over the Go Plus however, the use of a screen allowing users to see Pokémon found and hatched from eggs.

Released in July as a free-to-play game, Pokémon Go was the major gaming phenomenon of the summer, played by millions around the globe and raking in millions of dollars through microtransactions.

Utilising augmented reality (AR), Pokémon Go tasks players with hunting down, catching and powering-up Pokémon that litter real world locations, before using them to fight for controls of Gyms located at local landmarks.

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