I love Pokémon. One of my favorite video games. It’s on my About Me page, so you know it’s true.
It’s the late 90’s all over again. We all know how much of a craze Pokémon was back then, and all of a sudden it’s exploded once more!
It’s even beaten Candy Crush Saga and Clash Royale, which is cool for me since I hate those games.
Pokémon Go is even claimed to be the biggest mobile game ever released in the US, according to SurveyMonkey. That’s great news for Niantic (the developer), Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company. But why is this simple augmented reality game such a hit? Let’s take a look through our business lens!
The talk of the town in the electronics world is virtual reality, but the truth is augmented reality has much more possibilities.
Microsoft’s Hololens is an example of the potential AR was thought to have, being a powerful head-mounted display full of possibilities. Though Pokémon Go doesn’t use especially advanced AR technology, it does use it in an innovative and just plain fun manner.
I mean, look at this! Any Pokémon fan would (well, is) kill for a chance at mixing the game with real life.
Admittedly, for some people the technology is the main ‘lure’ (in-game joke) of the game. It’s like the novelty of the Wii, in a way.
It’s not the most lifelike game, but seeing reality augmented (heh,heh) like that is surely a great incentive to download and play a free app.
Go is basically what we can expect from future AR games. It’s really the first case of AR (or VR) breaking into mainstream pop culture.
The Social Aspect
This is probably the biggest reason for Pokémon Go’s success. Pretty much everyone agrees that the potential to meet new people and socialize is the number one draw of the game.
To be honest, the gameplay of Pokémon Go isn’t very good. Downright mediocre, as a matter of fact. You just swipe to catch a Pokémon, and there’s lots of grinding (video game speak for “repetitive tasks”).
As a matter of fact, Niantic, the developer, ‘swiped’ the gameplay right from it’s previous AR game, Ingress, which never really broke out.
So it’s not too much of a stretch to say that Go is more a social game. And that’s a great thing.
VR has a reputation for being a closed-off, anti-social form of entertainment. In some ways that’s true, though it’s a bit of an exaggeration. But Go has proved that AR is a useful socializing platform.
Just ignore the last part. It’s kind of a social network, to put it bluntly. You’re sure to meet up with other players- I’ve unexpectedly ran into fellow trainers at the park, even before I got the game, and I’ve become acquainted with some too.
I can’t forget the exercise involved in catching Pokémon. The game is a great fitness app.
I gotta say, Pokémon is, in my opinion, a lot more social than social media. Actually meeting and interacting with people is a blast, especially since you already know you have a common interest: Pokémon, of course!
The Nostalgia Rush
The Pokémon games are incredibly popular, but the anime is what a lot of fans dream of.
The games are adventure RPGs, but the anime showcases what it’s like to actually go on a journey catching Pokémon and bonding with them. As fans, we want it to be real.
There’s a huge Pokémon community online, in every corner of the internet. Fan sites are plentiful and social media is brimming with pages dedicated to the series.
So when a game bringing the world one step closer (maybe the closest for a long time) to real Pokémon is finally released, it’s kind of a big deal. With millions of now grown-up Poké-fans longing for the olden days, Go is a godsend.
I started out with the cartoon myself, and I was but a toddler when the Pokémon craze started. Now that history is repeating itself in 2016, I’m lucky to have an opportunity to see how mainstream Pokémon can really get.
There’s also the fact that the game only contains the original 151 Pokémon. This appeals greatly to the fans that left the series as the count ballooned to 716 over the years.
If you haven’t played Pokémon, it’s hard to understand, but the creatures themselves are like friends, even though they’re not real. Being able to see them on the street, while certainly not ‘real,’ is a great alternative.
Gotta Catch ’em All!! The Impact of Pokémon Go
Many naysayers will be quick to say that mobile games fall quickly. And that’s actually true. Nintendo themselves made an app, Miitomo, which was pretty successful upon it’s release in March 2016. It dropped like a stone and no one cares anymore.
Ironically, that app was specifically designed to be a social network.
But Pokémon is a giant, and the retention data proves it. SurveyMonkey reports that the retention stats “couldn’t look much better,” with 7/10 users playing the app daily (as opposed to the average 3/10).
It’s clear that people like the game, and the positive impact has made its mark. Businesses are profiting from the presence of Pokéstops in their locations, museums and parks are reporting increased attendance, and strangely enough, crimes are being solved!
Add in the obvious health benefits of walking and the social interaction, and you have a game that will hopefully be relevant for a while.
What are your thoughts on Pokémon Go’s success? Have you enjoyed playing it? What team did you choose? What’s your favorite Pokémon? Mine is Bulbasaur. I love to voice my interests!
Your partner is Pokémon,