The mobile game Pokémon Go topped 15 million downloads so far on Apple's App Store and Google Play, according to estimates from research firm SensorTower.
PokemonGo is a HUGE hit it's helped it's owners share price rise by $7 BILLION in a week... but what is really amazing... is that this game wasn’t made already. As Pokemon is 21 years old.
Augmented Reality has been around for years. Mobile gaming is huge. So is the rise of social media. So how and why is PokemonGo so big right now?
And it is BIG.
It's The Biggest (US) Mobile Game EVER.
With more search queries than porn.... I kid you not.
But surely it’s simple...
The beauty of simplicity.
Whilst this new game is simple geo location, mixed with augment realities and game mechanics. There must be something more to it’s success. As, this game HAS been made before without the brand and the meta narrative as the Google company Niantic made Ingress years ago.
Heck (and Creative England do take note) we made a bid for the funding of such a game three years ago, which never got past the first stage, much to my chagrin.
One of the main reasons why the game has done so well is the low learning curve needed for the game. i.e. the gaming dynamic being “basically” top trumps. Pick the right creature and play against each other. Add some special powers. After you capture creatures like Snorlax and you train them up and get more special powers.
The twist now, being the real world interaction and the physical movement in a world which before you could never visit i.e. the world of Pokemon.
How has it BECOME SO HUGE?
This is the $7 Billion question. One which, Nintendo nor Niantic can really answer. As if they had predicted this then their servers wouldn’t have broken and their global roll out paused mid flow.
I think it’s the following the perfect storm of three points.
- A powerful brand tied into nostalgia in a modern world that badly needed it.
- A generation used to social media and mobile wanted an excuse to get outside.
- The already known and easy learning curve of the game mechanics means it’s for everyone.
You need all three things for this to work. And my goodness it has worked and not just for the bank balances and reputations of the brands involved. In a deeper level this game is great for the world. And great for me too...
For me there are massive positives in the game. And it is not just the bringing to the masses the power of AR (which it might be) or how in marketing the product and perfect storm are more important than marketing dollars – as I don’t think PokemonGo have spent anything so far in above the line advertising this month.
And it’s not even about the power of local advertising and real time advertising into mobile, as businesses have now used "PokemonGo" to their benefit, including New York pizzeria L'inizio Pizza Bar, who’s sales went up 75 percent over the weekend after the owner spent $10 on "lure modules" part of the game mechcanics.
“Just imagine if Nintendo had joined forces with Facebook and done real time marketing for local businesses with credits in the game.” Dan Sodergren
For me it’s a personal reason for loving the rise and rise of the game.
As PokemonGo, even before it’s release in the UK today, has reawakening three things in me:
- My love of mobile gaming and its potential for good.
- My love of augmented realities and how they can change the world.
- My love of life itself and how as a species we can do much more than we think.
As a generation the next generation are not lazy, we just hadn’t motivated them enough. We needed games mechanics (and a strong brand) to do so. As anyone who walks 6 km’s to hatch a digital character doesn’t dislike exercise. They are doing exercise. I wonder, as I have done in many parts of my life, what else can be gamified to help people achieve more?
With that note I am off to hunt for Snorlax...
Who Aafter 6 generations of doing nothing...
Is now walking rather than sleeping and sitting...
A coincidence I think not....