So, it looks like people have a new addiction. The world is getting crazy about this new hype: Pokemon Go. Twitter, Snapchat and other media are overloaded with stories on how to catch 'em all, chasing virtual creatures across the real-life landscape. I always thought, while growing up, that I would never hear the word 'pikachu' ever again - obviously, I wasn't that hooked. But many of us are (again), and Pokemon has come back to life. People are swarming on the streets, with merely their eyes on their screens.
The hype's here..
So, the hype is here, but didn't this technology already exist? Pokemon Go is not the first augmented reality game that was developed. We were already familiar with Niantic's other location based gaming app, Ingress, which also combines technology with social. We've been writing about the life cycle of technologies in a previous article. Most innovations have been out there for a while. They require some time to develop, before showing up as "new" ideas and being hyped and subsequently adopted by the mass.
It's an exciting move in mobile gaming, as we are now more widely introduced to an accessible form of augmented reality, which is visible through the screen of our phones. However, this 'movement' that is emerging now is particularly flared up by a strong brand name such as Pokemon, which could respond to people's sentiment of nostalgia. Young and old are playing.
We are social!
The game's success is fascinating. This first week after its launch Pokemon Go has exceeded Twitter's popularity... and is now even chasing Snapchat. Jeez, is it getting us more social (ambiguously)?! Although you're playing mostly on your own and still spending hours on your phone, it actually gets gamers to go outside and discover the game in the real world. In any case, it brings us quite entertaining stories, such as the use of Pokemon Go to get a date. Anyway, Pokemon Go gamers are well prepared, making sure that their phone will last all day (and probably longer), as the demand for power banks has exploded after the release of the app.
So, if you see suspicious behavior, such as people roaming the streets or walking by several times, wait a moment and ask them first if they are playing Pokemon Go (before raising the alarm).
It's not yet possible to download the beta version of the app in the Netherlands, unless you create an App Store account from eg Australia, New Zealand, the US or Germany where Pokemon Go has already been released. Just a useful tip for those who wants to join the crowd. Catch 'em all!