Pokemon Go

22/07/2016

Pokemon Go is taking over our lives, whether we want it to our not. This article explains how it has the ability to change things for the better - especially when it comes to advertising.

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The world exploded last week following the launch of Pokémon Go. The game, which is now more popular than Tinder, twitter and catching up with Instagram, snuck up on us in a week of political and worldwide turmoil.  Downloaded over 10,000 times on day one, the app now boasts somewhere between 9.5 – 21 million active users (no one is really sure it seems). These very users are spending 43 minutes a day walking around the real world but seeing it in a very different light.

So what on earth has caused such a storm? I remember Pokémon growing up. Most of us had the trading cards and watched the TV programme. I didn’t really have a clue what on earth it was all about but my boy pals were obsessed with Charmander, Baulbasaur and the creepy one with the wings on his head. Back then, that was as close as we got to what’s now known as massive multiplayer games (MMORPGs).

Pokémon Go is the most advanced MMORPG we have to date. Its success, I believe, is centered on this and the fact it is uniquely social. People advise on the best spots in their area to catch Pokémon. They arrange walking trips together to catch them all. Hoardes of people rushed to Central Park when a rumour of a rare Vaporean circulated. They discover parts of their city they never have before…

It is an incredibly simple concept, but this game has real ability to change the world. Sure, Uber changes our need to hang around in the cold. Just Eat changes our need to cook. Ever again. But never before has an app changed human behaviour on such a mass scale.

In the past, we have been attracted to the sense of adventure and endless possibility, but it was mainly a one player experience. Now, we are playing with millions of others. There are at least 10 Pokémon players in our office alone. When you walk around with your phone, doing a mad flicking motion, other plays nod knowingly – and often start chatting. The lines between gaming and reality are blurred. As such, the opportunity for technology’s impact on our future is incredibly exciting.

This hot new topic, which is known as proximity gaming, was around long before Pokémon Go. Ingress, a Google collaborated product, is designed to drive engagement with the physical world in new ‘Gamified’ way. Additionally, some UK retailers have started to investigate the use of proximity to drive traffic to their locations, for example Schuh: http://goo.gl/Aw5WFT

Location has been used in many campaigns over the last few years. Some of the more interesting ones are:

 Proximity gaming is now beginning to evolve by including ‘laser tagging’.  Father.IO are fusing augmented reality and proximity into a new game played on our streets, check the kit out here: https://goo.gl/JkbV39 a giant game of laser quest – amazing!

It’s clear to see we have only begun to scratch the surface of Augmented Reality. Sure there are downsides. People are walking off cliffs, finding bodies, being shot – this further blurs the weird line between gamification and reality. There are also advances that need to be made in terms of network and speed to fully explore the full potential of AR. But I think we’re not far off having the tech that allows us to change the future and allow the online world and reality to seamlessly integrate. Once we work that out, the opportunities are endless.

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