Its been little over a week since we've all learned about Pokemon GO, the augmented reality game that has become the most popular smartphone app trending globally. What I have personally found most interesting is the sheer scale of the popularity and what that has netted for the games creators, Nintendo. Increasing its market value by a whopping $9.3 Billion, certainly no mean feat for a company that has been in steady decline since 2011.
So just how popular is Pokemon Go? As of now, the application is available in the Australia, US, and New Zealand but in those countries, it has already caught fire. On July 8th, only 2 days after the app’s release, it was already installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US. If that doesn’t seem like much, consider that by Thursday, July 7th, Pokemon GO was already fast approaching the daily usage numbers that the likes of Twitter see across the entire Twitter network! (source Similar Web)
To get some greater context on just how popular the Pokemon Go app is I had a look at some current world headlines in the news at the moment. Utilising Google Trends I investigated the quantity of searches queried in Google for the term "Pokemon Go" versus the category (meaning all searches related to) "United Kingdom withdrawal from the European union". The grapoh is below, astounding that the term Pokemon Go has given the entire category of "United Kingdom withdrawal from the European union" a run for its money regarding searches queried!
So what is it that makes this application so popular?
Pokemon Go offers an unique approach to augmented reality where players get to blur the lines between their real world geographical settings and fantasy Pokemon Characters. (Blog Gizmodo’s recent headline nailed it: ‘Sore Legs Become Pandemic As Pokémon Go Players Accidentally Get Exercise.’) But beyond that, Go is boringly simple! Once you encounter a Pokémon in the wild, Go switches into “capture mode,” where users flick 'Pokeballs" at the creature until they nab it.
Whether the Pokémon Go craze lasts is an open question. Smartphone games have a habit of burning brightly and then flaming out. One thing is for sure, we can expect more games like this in the near future! The rewards are a plenty for businesses that are willing to think outside the screen and integrate applications, with the new and interesting world of Augmented reality!