Pokémon Go is a free, augmented reality Pokémon game for Android and iOS mobile devices created by Niantic and released in the US on July 7, 2016. It has since been released in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Plans are underway for release in Germany, Japan and other countries. This new Pokémon game allows players to search real-world locations for hidden Pokémon and capture them.
The story of Pokémon Go reads like a fairy tale of resurgence. A lot has been written in recent weeks about how Niantic and The Pokémon Company developed this record breaking game. But let us dig into the reasons for their success to understand where they are coming from!
Gaming has matured from the early 1970s curiosity of scientists to an industry of $95 billion revenues in 2015. With new titles being released almost every quarter, and an increasing appetite for complex and reality based games, there is a demand for bigger budgets not just for the developers, but also for the players who need ever more expensive hardware gadgetry to indulge themselves.
The developers of Pokémon devised a simple, internet-based game that runs on a smartphone and utilizes virtual reality to maximize interaction between people and their environment. Its popularity has shot through the roof as people turn their smartphones into Poké Balls to capture and train Pokémon. The game already commands more mindshare per user than apps like Snapchat or WhatsApp and is poised to have more daily active users in the U.S. than Twitter in a short time.
In stark contrast to the original 1990s’ version, played on a Nintendo Gameboy, this augmented-reality game forces its users to explore the world around them to catch the 150 Pokémon currently available, battle against other users, and collect items to power up their arsenal of pocket monsters. It is undoubtedly the best game of the summer, rewarding users for walking around and discovering new places; connecting people, and helping businesses to attract new customers. Just see this article by IGN.com on how Pokémon Go has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on local businesses. Never before has a game so successfully integrated into our real life scenarios.