Pokémon Go has grown so fast for many reasons including its augmented reality function, the blending of the real and digital world interaction and because Pokémon was already very popular.
I like many others have been playing Pokémon Go almost every day since it was released on June 6th, 2016. Since then it has quickly taken over the world.Pokémon go is now available in 26 Countries and is averaging 4 – 5 million downloads a day. People can not get enough of the game. It’s getting People all over the world to get off the couch and going out into the world to Catch them all.
Users have started to take over many tourist locations due to a large amount of Pokéstops that are there. For instance, I was at the Santa Monica pier on Saturday, a place where I usually go to walk around and take in all the beautiful sights. But this time I was there strictly to catch Pokémon and I was not alone. There were about a few hundred other people there for the same reason and by the time I left at 3 am it was still packed mostly because of the constant lures going on there throughout the night. As you can see in the screenshot to the right.
These mass gathering of people playing Pokémon Go are not uncommon. It has been happening all over the world. Places like Central Park in New York city, Sydney Oprah House in Australia have become hot spots for users to get out and catch them all.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Not only can you catch Pokémon in the real world but the game also has an augmented reality feature that uses your camera to make it look like the Pokémon are right next to you. It even lets you take a picture of the Pokémon in the real world. Pictures of people catching Pokémon in random places have been going viral. While this is one of the main attractions that gets people to download the game a lot of avid players prefer to have this feature turned off.
A lot of avid players I have spoken to have stated that while it is cool at first the AR feature has a few downsides. I talked to a 20-year-old user named Bubba Robinson about this feature.
“The AR feature was one of the many things that first attracted me to the game. While I really enjoy the AR feature and when catching Pokémon I find that most of the time I rather have it turned off because of the battery usage it uses and it makes it a lot harder to catch the Pokémon because you must have the phone pointing in the direction of the Pokémon and you can’t move your phone or the Pokémon will whereas when it is off I can have my phone in a comfortable position and the Pokémon will not move.”
Real World Interaction
Another huge attraction of Pokémon Go is that you have to get out of your house to play. It gives people a reason to go for an adventure. Pokémon has succeeded in getting people active again through its egg feature. Each egg has a set distance of either 2, 5, or 10 kilometers and you can’t hatch it till you walk the desired distance. Before this game I was not a very active person but since this game has come out I have been going out for at least two hours to walk around. Through Pokémon Go’s eggs, it is encouraging people to go out and walk. I’ve started to walk an average of 5 kilometers a day so I can hatch my eggs. I also talked to Bubba about this to see how this has helped him stay active even though he is confined to a wheelchair because he recently broke his leg.
“If it wasn’t for Pokémon Go I would probably be sitting at home on my couch complaining about my leg. Instead, Pokémon Go has encouraged me to stay active even though I am stuck in a wheelchair. I have been averaging around 7 kilometers a day of rolling around catching Pokémon. Which is more than I was walking before I broke my leg.”
Altogether the main reason Pokémon Go has become such a big hit is because it’s Pokémon. I Like many other millennials grew up playing Pokémon on Game Boy. With 46% of Pokémon Go users being millennials it’s clear that bringing back a favorite childhood game is a big reason for its mass success. Most of the players I have talked to have told me that Pokémon was one of their favorite games when they were a kid. When I asked Bubba bout this he told me.
“I remember playing Pokémon on my Game Boy all the time when I was a kid it was one of my favorite games. When I heard that Niantic was making Pokémon Go and I would be able to find and catch Pokémon in the real world I got excited. When I first downloaded Pokémon Go it brought me back to when I was younger and playing it on my Game Boy.”