Pokemon was created in 1995. In the beginning, it was a video game designed for the Nintendo Game Boy called Pokemon Red. This game allows the users to emerge into a mythical land. There the players have to catch different monsters (having different abilities and appearances) and then to convert them into being the “good guys”.
These monsters learn to kill other “bad” monsters in the battle. Since 1995, many video games appeared on the market on the same subject. They even made television series and trading cards. On July 6, 2016, the company came up with a new app called Pokemon Go. This is a mix between virtual and real world. Niantic created the game for iOS and Android devices.
Facts about Pokemon Go
- This game was launched on the market as a way to celebrate Pokémon’s 20th anniversary.
- After signing in, the player can create right away an avatar.
- The player is the one that decides how the avatar will look like hair, eye color, skin, and style. He can also dress the avatar as he wishes because there are many outfits to choose from.
- After the player creates the avatar, he will have his current location displayed and a map of the player’s immediate surroundings.
- Some features on the map are referred as Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms.
- These are popular meeting places in the real world. They can be churches, parks, and touristic areas.
- What it is innovative is that when the player walks around in the real world, it moves the avatar in the game.
- Because there are many different types of Pokémon, they can live in the various countries in the world. Water-type Pokémon must live close to water.
- This game is a little bit different than the other series; the players in Pokémon GO do not have to fight negative Pokémon.
- The game is based on a unique rule: the player starts to throw a pokéball. He has to put the right force in it and to choose the right time. These two elements decide if the catch is successful or not.
- After seizing the negative Pokémon, the player can receive two types of currencies: candies and stardust.
- The men who came up with the idea of this game are Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company. On April Fools’ Day, they collaborated with Google to a project called Pokémon Challenge.
- On March 4, 2016, the company started a beta test in Japan. During the test, the players could contribute in refining the game before the company fully released it. They decided after that to expand the beta test in other countries as well.
- On July 6, 2016, the company released the in Australia, in the United States, and New Zealand.
- Niantic CEO John Hanke announced that the game would be released in other regions in the world at a later date after fixing some issues. At that time, they had to deal with a server strain from the high demand.
- The Pokémon Go Plus is designed as Bluetooth device. This device can be used by the player while walking without even looking at it.
- In 24 hours after the release, Pokémon Go app became very popular in many American App Stores.
- It was incredible to see how the share price went from 10% to 23% in a very short period.
- Pokemon Go had more people installing the game on their Android devices than Tinder had.
- It seems like a high percentage of people with Android devices in the USA decided to use the app, even if they didn’t download the app yet.
- Another report says that more than 60% of the people who have the app downloaded on their devices, decided to use it on a daily basis.
- This app could jeopardize the safety of players. That is why the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services recommended the players to be careful when they cross the street, to look away from their phones.
- It was very shocking for a player who used the app (in Wyoming) to see a dead body floating in a river.
- In another American state, eleven teenagers were threatened by four individuals driving a black BMW. The police caught the suspects later that day. They realized that these men lure the young people using Pokemon Go.
- Unfortunately, outside of the USA, players from around the world decided to download Pokemon Go using an illegal source.
- Specific Pokemon songs tripled their number on Spotify from the releasing date in July.
The effects Pokemon Go has on the real world
The game popularity is high
As we said before, Pokemon Go uses GPS to locate the players on a real-world map. This map is very similar to that created by Google Maps. This map helps them to find orientation in the real world when they are looking to catch the Pokemons. Gamers are constantly using this game so they are using alot of internet data.
Because the number of users is so high, the servers are struggling to keep so many players connected at the same time. This can be an issue because a player has to stay connected to play the game. Even so, Pokemon Go became very popular in a very short time.
We mentioned before it has more popularity than Tinder, but you might want to know that the game has almost the same number of users as Twitter does. For sure, it will not stop here.
New users are logging in daily, and the new features of the app (such as the power to trade Pokemon with the other players) are attracting more and more people into this half virtual and half real game making it a fun way for players to exercise.
All the users are aware that Pokemon can appear around their houses, but players know that if they want to make the game more interesting and fun is better to go outside, in the real world. When a player walks around, Pokemon can pop-up on his GPS map. Then something charming happens, the game moves into a real-world view. The user can see on his phone the animated character acting onto the real terrain. This is the moment when players throw the Pokeballs to capture the Pokemon.
Despite the common belief, that these players are sluggish, Pokemon Go made them move and even exercise against their will so to say. Many users commented on different social channels how tired they feel after a day of Pokemon chase. It was challenging even for users used going to the gym.
It was not the intention of Pokemon Go to transform this game into a way for users to become involved in physical exercising. It is more a consequence of playing the game. Nobody complained about it so far. The users are as enthusiastic as they were at the beginning.
Another advantage of playing PG is that American users have to learn the metric system to play the game. Most Americans never used the metric system before. The funny thing is, since this game was released, many of them not only they learned it, they started to use it every day in the game. They need to understand the distances, and if that means to convert kilometers to miles, they are doing it gladly.
The main feature of the game, called eggs, is the one responsible for this all of the sudden interest of the players in converting kilometers to miles. Most of them use Google to transform the kilometers in miles.
Eggs are hatching more Pokemons. Some of them can be used as upgrades. The interesting part is that the player has to hatch them while walking. The more a user walks, the better the prize is.
This is probably the explanation why on Google so many users searched to convert 2, 5 and 10 kilometers in miles. These are the distances where you can find the eggs. We have to admit it was an excellent way to raise the awareness of the metric system among American users.
Pokemon Go helped people to grow their businesses
This is a way to push people to exercise, walk and learn. Some Americans are not into walking or exercising. So, they find a way to make things differently, and they can find other people to help them with this. In many large cities, it appeared in only a couple of days on specific sites, ads with people willing to drive the players around the city to catch ’em all. Everybody is happy this way. The drivers can make more money and the players are enjoying the game without getting tired and earning the prizes at a faster speed.
“Pokestops” are real places where the players go to collect prizes, and “Gym Trainers” are physical places where captured Pokemon can be used. It is important for a player to get to these places as fast as possible. Many of them pay even $30/hour to drivers willing to get them fast in the requested area.
These designated cars offer snacks and drinks to the players. The users are also enjoying free Wi-Fi.
Some are convinced this will not be the last service that will be created thanks to the popularity Pokemon Go has.
Pokemon Go increased the risk for people to be robbed
The information exchange that takes place during this game is offering enough details for those interested in stealing something or robbing the users involved in the game.
In Missouri, police arrested four men for using the game to locate people to rob them. These thieves were smart enough to understand how the game is played and what attract other players in specific places.
The Pokemon Company recommended the players to play in groups in unfamiliar locations and to be careful with people they meet in those places. Police are hoping this will not become a trend and they will not have to be part of a real Pokemon chase once in a while.
Nintendo’ market value increased
Nintendo has always been a much-appreciated company. But the Wii U console it didn’t have the success that they expected. Fans were a little disappointed to notice that Nintendo’s console could not compete with that of Microsoft’s (Xbox) and with the console created by Sony (PlayStation).
It seems like Nintendo owns at this moment around 32 percent from Niantic Labs and from the Pokemon Company. Because of the great success that Pokemon Go had, Nintendo will have more cash to invest in developing new, innovative technologies. Specialists reported that Nintendo’s market value increased by 60 percent very fast, up to $12 billion.
Illegal versions of the game are damaging the Android devices
The game is free, but some people experienced difficulties in becoming players, they could not download the original version due to the heavy demand. Other people started to look for different ways to get the game before it was available in their region. Many users downloaded the game from obscure servers, and unfortunately, they downloaded viruses as well into their phones and Android devices.
A tool called DroidJack is responsible for installing a specific path that allows the installer full access and control of the infected Android device. People started to install it within 72 hours of the game’s release. Players should know that all legitimate app stores are verified.
Hopefully, hackers will have a hard time getting their counterfeit version onto players’ devices. The game’s popularity helps them in a way to keep trying in attracting people to use other versions than the original one.
Pokemon Go has access to every movement that millions of users are making every day
When you log in the Pokemon Go app you have to be aware that it uses and stores GPS location data. You have to agree that the Pokemon Company reserves the right to share your information with third parties. The sharing part it doesn’t stop here. The app knows exactly where you are located, and it has full access to your camera, contacts, and network connections.
Be careful if you log in with Google. The app will have automatically access to any Google Docs, Gmail, and other Google applications you might use. Niantic has the right to use this amount of data from users in any way they want. The company did not comment on this fact so far.
Of course, in the License Agreement, the company explains that the information can be provided to police if it is necessary at some point. Many people are talking about huge marketing opportunities that the company has from knowing every movement of millions of users.
Pokemon Go increased the traffic in some areas
Pokemon Go is having the same structure as Ingress had. Niantic also used GPS tracking and a real-world display to build Ingress. If Pokemon Go is using Pokestops and Gym Trainers, Ingress used “Portals”. These features could be found on the map, in real physical places. Many times in these areas, there were random businesses. Many people wondered at the beginning why they had so many people visiting their business all of a sudden. They quickly learned about Pokemon Go and now they make the best of it.
It is amazing that any businesses which haven’t been placed as an important stop on the map by Niantic can become a meeting point for Pokemon by simply using Lures. These are special in-app purchases that attract players for a temporary length of time. With Lures, the Pokemon can be found in any actual geographic place.
Some business owners start activating games and then setting lures inside the business. They could see many Pokemon-hunting players come visiting them. Using lures is even more effective for businesses who are already important Pokestop or Gym Trainer.
In some cases, Pokemon Go disturbed the activity of important institutions. It was the case of National Weather Service building. This building became a Gym in Pokemon Go. Meteorologists had to create signs for Pokemon Go players to let them know that they are not allowed in that area and they have to exchange or capture the Pokemon in other places.
How does the mix of real and virtual affect people?
Niantic is not the only company who used the concept of Augmented Reality. This type of reality is a combination of virtual elements and physical ones. Some they used it to create specific helmets for F-35 fighter pilots. Another company created a special filter which enabled people to record themselves and use in the video different digital animations.
The digital elements from Pokemon Go are blended extremely well with the real world, but they do not interact with physical objects. This type of blending of realities had a tremendous impact on the public consciousness.
Probably other companies will want to use the same concept to bring innovative games to the market.
We can say that Pokemon Go is becoming a unique phenomenon with unexpected effects and consequences on the real world and real people.