Pokémon Go (and why I should care)
Gotta Catch Em All!
If you’ve been on Reddit or Fark or a myriad of other online aggregates and comment boards you have no doubt heard of something called Pokémon Go. If you’re around my age with an iPhone or Android device there is a good chance that you are already indoctrinated and you can just leave some high fives for your team or some grumblings about all your hundred Drowzees in the comments.
What is it?
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game made by Niantic (https://www.nianticlabs.com/) that uses a back end of maps and the user’s own foot power to replicate the original idea of Pokémon. As a user you travel around your city collecting Pokémon, visiting Pokéstops for resupply, and challenging other users for supremacy at gyms. All the while all of this is happening in a virtual overlay over our real world. The game itself is free to play with a component for micro-transactions to improve your performance. It is too early to tell if the micro-transactions are pay to win but from what I have experienced so far the transactions themselves are not extreme enough to be unbalancing.
Why as a lover of games should I care?
Pokémon Go is easily the first successful implementation of augmented reality in video games. While not perfect, its implementation is slick enough that the application has steadily climbed to beat Twitter for daily Android use, has added Nine billion dollars to Nintendo’s valuation, and showed that with the right implementation old IP can have life breathed out of it and our childhood memories can be used for good (especially as it involves a fair amount of exercise for the users). Even if you hate Pokémon or have no clue what it is the very fact that we have a successful implementation of AR for gaming is an exciting one.
I’m not a gamer, should I care?
Yes, yes, and a hundred times more yes. Augmented reality games in essence takes a camera view of the world and overlays something different on top of it. Take that in combination of Pokémon Go’s goal of sending people on long walks and the fact that Poké-Stops are actuall landmarks you have a potent combination for marketing. Already there are forward thinking businesses that are advertising that they are important in the game or offering discounts based on the usage of the game. Even businesses that aren’t anything in the game still have options to host players for a myriad of different reasons. A business that ignores, or worse insults and turns away, this opportunity is mad!
Let me know if your business has checked out Pokémon Go, if you have no idea HOW to check if it will be effective for you, or if you’re a player currently enjoying the game.
All images are of course from the program and effectively belong to Niantic through a licencing deal with Nintendo.