If you live anywhere with an internet connection, which I’m assuming you are if you are reading this (unless you are one of the few subscribers who insist on having new posts delivered by owl), you will have probably seen a lot of news about the recently released Pokémon Go game/app.
For those who haven’t heard and as a basic overview, it is a game that requires you to walk around the real world in order to catch virtual creatures, imagine walking around with a sat-nav and things jump out at you on the screen and you’re most of the way there.
I think this game has become such a success due to players of the original series (launched in 1998) now being of the age where the majority of them have hobbies consisting of socialising and possessing smart phones. The game harks back to it’s roots by only including Pokémon from the first generation, as well as positioning points of interest in pubs and bars amongst other social areas. It’s also a novel concept (ignoring Ingress, which the game is based upon), having to actually move out of the house to play a game, what a time to be alive.
Alongside this, the game makes it very easy to screenshot and share images from the game, increasing it’s social media presence, which in turn will lead to more people playing the game, leading to more presence etc. in a loop until we have what has happened with Pokémon. A game which has shot to the top of the charts and surprised everyone involved which it’s success. This is aided by the augmented-reality feature which overlays the Pokémon with footage from your camera, who doesn’t like to see Pokémon on the toilet?
Companies can also benefit from the frenzy too, by opting to have their businesses as ‘PokéStops’ or ‘Gyms’ they can attract large numbers of players, who in turn may end up purchasing goods at said business.
Although this silver lining does come with a cloud, the games servers have been massively overloaded due to the unpredicted popularity and this has caused issues for many players. This puts Niantic (the developer) in an awkward situation, they have two options. They can either splash the cash and increase the number of servers at the risk of wasting money once the initial hype has died down, or to slowly increase the number of servers to meet the long term user base at the expense of upsetting people now and possibly tainting their reputation.
Whether Pokémon go is here to stay, or just a passing fad soon to be forgotten is anybody’s guess, but for now at least it’s getting people out and active!
(And yes, I did post this at 5am, the night shift at work can get a little slow sometimes!)