Pokémon Go – The Boost That Interactive And Social Gaming Has Been Looking For
Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
It seems crazy now after the apps launch and its sudden and dramatic widespread popularity globally, but Pokémon go began as an April Fool’s Day prank. The prank began in 2014 when YouTube unveiled a joke sales pitch. The pitch was for an app titled, “Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge”- featuring the map app populated with swarms of Pokémon creatures and critters.
The app marks a watershed, not just in mobile based games, which until this point have served as pit stops for people during their game but not taking advantage of the “on-the-go” mobile aspect that Pokémon Go has utilised, but also in terms of finally bridging the gap and creating a successful and popular link between a major console and mobile play. Notably, the two previous attempts, Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move, both failed to accomplish this.
By encouraging players of the app to visit new places, travel to landmarks and explore new destinations, in order to discover new Pokémon, the Pokémon Company have become the pioneers of utilising the true potential of mobile based gaming.
However, the pioneering aspect of the game is not merely limited to its tying of static reality to virtual reality on a map basis, its true victory lies in its utilisation of augmented reality. This is not a new concept, however prior to the release of Pokémon Go it has not enjoyed mainstream success. In essence, augmented reality makes use of a device’s sensors in order to blend the virtual and the real worlds together. This in the case of Pokémon Go enables players to catch a Zubat that has magically appeared in their car, or a Bellsprout that has jumped out from behind the storage cabinet in the office.
Whilst Pokémon Go is not the first game to make use of augmented reality, it is certainly the most successful. What it has demonstrated so clearly is the potential for augmented reality games to go mega-viral if developed well.
Much of the success that Pokémon Go has enjoyed can be linked to how social media friendly it is. Players have been seen widely sharing images and screenshots of rare Pokémon that they have captured, or images of them lurking in obscure location and around historic landmarks.
The success of Pokémon Go can be attributed directly to the high presence that the app enjoys within the real world. This is what sets it apart from its forerunners, and this is the aspect that future app designers will have to capture in order to enjoy the same levels of popularity.