Like No App Ever Was!! Why is Pokémon Go So Successful?

Why is Pokémon Go So Successful?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!

If you somehow didn’t already know, Pokémon Go is the latest mobile phenomenon, acquiring millions of players over just a few days. In fact, it’s already surpassed Twitter’s daily users count, and has seen 21 million daily users in the US. Tinder has also been swallowed up in terms of user count, proving that Pokémon is indeed more important than love (or whatever Tinder stands for).

Why is Pokémon Go so successful?
Take that, Candy Crush! Pokémon is the new mobile king!

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 Technology

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.

Why is Pokémon Go so successful?
“Meowth withdraws its sharp claws into its paws to slinkily sneak about without making any incriminating footsteps. For some reason, this Pokémon loves shiny coins that glitter with light.”

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.

Why is Pokémon Go So Successful?
From Guy Blomberg. A gathering of Pokémon Go players in Australia’s Sydney Opera House! This means great things for the fandom’s health.

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.

A custom made quality meme

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.Why is Pokémon Go So Successful?

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,














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20 thoughts on “Like No App Ever Was!! Why is Pokémon Go So Successful?

  1. Great positive outlook on a great game. Many despise the new pokemon go game without reason. I like how you explored the benefits of the game and how the social interaction brings people together. Which right now is what we need.

    1. That’s exactly the point I was trying to make Gary. The social aspect is what makes it so different, yet enjoyable despite it’s flaws as a game. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I’ve never really cared to much about Pokémon Go but alot of people like it. It’s great post with alot of information which will help alot of people out. Also i heard about that body being found that was nuts to think something like that could ever happen. The post is great for the people that like the Pokémon Go keep up the good work.

    1. Hey Jeff! I was pretty shocked when I heard about the body too. I’m glad you liked the post, even if you’re not necessarily a fan. Thanks for your insight!

  3. Awesome article Makki! Really cool stuff man. I heard Pokemon Go was about to overtake Snapchat in daily users is that correct?

    I need to download it…just waiting for some free time…

    1. I don’t think it’s passed Snapchat completely, but at the time of writing they are neck and neck. As the worldwide rollout continues, it’s only a matter of time. Hope you have fun playing it Ryan! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Awesome question. I’ve been hearing about Pokemon Go from my niece and even my co-workers are playing it.

    It seems like a very successful app/ game. And I was curious why it’s the case. I guess the technology is one of the best part of it, the fact that you play it by hanging out, and probably is more likely to do so with friends.

    They also have the big meetups as well, that helps strengthen the fandom health as you put it.

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hey there Anh! You’re right on all points. The interaction is my personal favorite part. Pokemon has always been about interacting with other players. Go just took advantage of modern technology to expand on the concept. And those big meetups are just a blast. Meeting fellow fans is just a good experience. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Hi Makki

    Very enjoyable article! I watched the Pokemon series before when I was a kid, now I’m 31 already I’m still amazed by this show. But to tell you the truth, I don’t have interest in this game, but I want to try now because of your article here, I become kid again and you made me interested enough to try it. Thanks for sharing! Well done!


    1. Your case is similar to many others. You were a fan at one point, but now you have the chance to experience it again! I hope you enjoy it Eric! Thanks for the praise! I appreciate it.

  6. I was a bit too old for the original Pokemon craze but even I think the new Pokemon Go game looks like a lot of fun. I can definitely see the social aspects of it as a major plus as well. I am very old school and started in the original Dungeons & Dragons role-playing days. I moved up to LARPS (live action role playing games) and I think this like another offshoot of that genre.

    I had not really previously thought much about joining in, but I think now, after your article, I may just have to give it a “go”! (yes, pun fully intended)

    1. Pretty interesting RPG history you have! I guess you’re right that it’s sorta similar to LARPS. By all means, try the game out! It is free, so you have nothing to lose. Thanks for sharing Sue!

  7. i did not realize how popular Pokemon has become! I remember playing Pacman at the arcade and pinball. I have tried a few different games but not much anymore. Since working so much I have little time for games but it sure sounds like a lot of fun for the kids.

    1. Totally understandable Ronald. Sometimes there’s just no time. It’s fun for the kids alright, but if you look closely, most players are much older than 18! Thanks for commenting!

  8. Makki,

    Thanks! I’d heard about Pokemon Go, but didn’t really have any idea what it was or how it works. I’m still not completely sure about that, but it sounds like it somehow superimposes Pokemon characters into reality. And then you try to catch them.

    I missed the Pokemon craze, though I did learn a bit about it from my nephews. They, of course, were shocked that I didn’t know every character, its powers, or how it changes.

    So could an older guy who missed the original craze figure this out and have a good time? Or should I spend a few weeks / months learning all about them first?

    Either way, I hope you enjoy your Pokemon, and that it continues to be a terrific success!


    1. That would be correct Roger. Augmented reality is what it’s called. I wouldn’t worry about your age. I’ve seen seniors playing it, probably for exercise. But you certainly don’t have to be an expert. This game is nowhere near hard. You’ll surely have fun and get moving at the same time!

      Thanks Roger! I hope the craze continues, I like mainstream Pokemon!

  9. I love it! I joined team Mystic! My two favorite Pokemon are Squirtle and Charmander! I was lucky enough to catch Squirtle and came withing the area of Pikachu! I think it really has some great aspects to it. With the way the world is nowadays, it’s really neat to be able t connect with someone you don’t know because of a game.

    1. That’s so cool Brianna! Nice favorites! Catching Pikachu is pretty lucky as well. You’re right, I love meeting new people, especially ones who like Pokemon! Thanks for the feedback!

  10. Dude,
    Pokemon Go has been insane!! I have never seen anything like it!! So cool. Great post!! They had a great foundation on the games before and the card game. What a great way to launch an app.

    1. Hey Shawn! Glad to you’re as enthusiastic about it as I am! This launch could not have gone better for anyone involved. Pokemon is just inherently popular, and the new AR technology and ubiquity of smartphones compounds that popularity! Thanks for sharing!

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