'Pokémon Go' challenges you to photograph its AR creatures

That's one way to keep you playing.

Now that Pokémon Go has a photo mode, Niantic is encouraging you to use it the best way it knows how: the promise of goodies. It's launching a Go Snapshot Challenge that rewards you for taking photos that include the game's augmented reality critters. A Buddy Challenge category encourages you to take selfies with your favorite creature, a Habitat Challenge asks you to take a picture based on a Pokémon's 'natural' element, and a Go Create Challenge allows more free-form photography.

The prizes are the same in each category, and are destined to pad your ego. Two runners-up will get a special PokéStop with their photo that will stay up for "no less than three months," while the winner will get both a PokéStop as well as a tickets to a Pokémon Go Fest of their choosing.

You'll have plenty of opportunity to go on photo safaris, since the competitions take place in phases. The Buddy Challenge runs from April 15th through April 24th, while the Habitat phase starts on April 29th and lasts until May 8th. The Go Create phase wraps things up between May 13th and May 22nd. Is it a marketing ploy? You bet -- but it's also a clever way to foster AR photography at a time when it's still a novel concept for many people.