Pokémon Go is a popular mobile game that aims to replicate the fictional Pokédex, a device which allows players to find, capture, and battle Pokémon that are geographically scattered across different locations while integrating real-world gaming environments with augmented reality. Its progressive rollout that began weeks ago continues to take the world by storm with over 100 million global downloads and peaking at 15 million daily downloads on July 13.
Its rising popularity counters the bleak outlook of the mobile gaming industry which is chiefly dominated by a limited number of big players. While a recent report by consulting firm Deloitte suggests the plateauing profitability of mobile gaming, Pokémon Go embodies the light at the end of the tunnel for overnight app virality as witnessed with Flappy Birds. Attributed to its success are two main factors: the uprising of nostalgia and the successful integration of real-world dynamics into the game.
Combining the dormant nostalgia of the millennial generation with the changing dynamic of mobile gaming, Niantic has yielded one of the most profitable mobile ventures. The historical significance that Pokémon Go brings to those of the 90s has considerably contributed to the massive adoption rate of the game, with approximately 83% of Pokémon Go players being millennials. While the mobile gaming market becomes increasingly saturated with sub-par games that are often iterations of existing successful games, Pokémon Go introduces a new element to traditional gaming that is considered the reason for its success. The disconnect between reality and on-screen gaming that was once satisfactory was suddenly disrupted with the introduction of augmented reality coupled with the location-based gaming of Pokémon Go. With an emphasis placed on social community, the result has been mass migrations of players converging to specific areas where rare Pokémon have been spotted. A simple Google search yields countless results of such occurrences at major city centers such as New York’s Central Park and Toronto’s CN Tower.
Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 2016. Discover a whole new world of Pokémon right in the palm of your hand! Find out how Pokémon GO allows players to find and catch more than a hundred different Pokémon as they explore their real-world surroundings.
Being only 3 weeks old, Pokémon Go is already predicted to have altered the future of the mobile gaming industry as others attempt to replicate the aggressive speed at which Pokémon Go has been embraced. To create the “next big thing”, game makers must aim to build games connected to the physical environment, notably through the use of augmented reality. Even as a relatively young game on the market, it has already spurred spin-off applications including radars, widgets, and survey updates. As Pokémon Go continues to grow at record-breaking speeds, it is interesting to note the technical and legal issues that will rise with the new augmented reality and location specific element of the game.
What do you think of Pokémon Go? Is it justified to be the current leader in mobile gaming? Let us know what you think in the comments below.