Photo of smartphone with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game
Niantic / WB Games

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic’s follow up to Pokémon Go just went live and is about to consume your summer

Here's how to download the game now — and yes, your name is probably already taken

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Niantic, the company behind the Pokémon Go phenomena just dropped the long awaited Harry Potter: Wizards Unite mobile game in the U.S and the UK. While Pokémon Go introduced the world, really to augmented reality gaming, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is taking advantage of a deep and passionate fandom. In just its first day of play, the hardest part was finding a name to register that hadn't already been taken.

The game makes use of the camera on smartphones to overlay augmented reality images on someone's screen. Every familiar Harry Potter character is expected to make an appearance in the game — Harry Potter himself, along with Hagrid and Hermione Granger showed in the first five minutes of play.

Familiar characters, like Hagrid seen here, show up in Wizards UniteFamiliar characters, like Hagrid, show up in Wizards UniteGearBrain

Here's how to download the game on to your smart phone:

  • Go to App Store if you have an iOS device, or the Play Store if you own an Android
  • Download the app
  • You'll need to register with a name, and your birthday
  • Prepare to give over a ton of permissions just to get started, including access to your camera, your location and notifications.
  • Pick a user name — and yes, the one you've already got in your head is gone, we guarantee it.
  • There's a 5-7 minute tutorial at the start of the game — this is worth watching because Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a bit more tricky than Pokémon Go.
  • Then you're off to play

The conceit of the game is to collect Foundables, magical objects that have gotten loose. You're actually a Wizard or Witch in the game — not a Muggle (congratulations) — and you can actually select your own House, as well as your own wand

The premise is that you're being asked by Harry Potter, now with the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement to find these objects before non-magical people get a glimpse.

In Wizards Unite, you're sent to search for magical creatures and artifacts known to the Harry Potter world that have gone rogueIn Wizards Unite, you're sent to search for magical creatures and artifacts known to the Harry Potter world that have gone rogueGearBrain

To grab these objects you'll need to locate them, and then cast spells. There are also magic items that you can earn as you go up levels, like keys and potions like the Baruffio's Brain Elixer and the Strong Exstimulo Potion, plus you pick up elements you may need as you walk around including wormwood, bitter root, bubotuber pus and dragon liver. These are stored in your suitcase (a nice nod to Newt Scamander.)

Visiting Inns earns you food — and energy — and you can return again for more, but only after a certain amount of time has passed. If this sounds like Pokémon Go, you'd be correct – even some of the Inns are located in points where Poké Stops and Gyms are in the original Niantic game.

You're also given daily assignments — and they're extensive. Clearly Niantic expects people to get hooked in to the game — and let's hope your smartphone battery is up to the task. How quickly will people likely start playing as they did Pokémon Go? With summer in full swing, school out in many parts of the country, indications are good that Wizards Unite will have players on the streets searching for Billywigs and Gnomes.

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