Pokémon Go

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With Pokémon Go mania sweeping Oakwood's offices, we analysed the game to try to determine what makes it so successful.

Pokémon Go

Released on Android and iOS platforms, Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company.

Wandering around outside our offices it's clear to see that there are a lot of people currently playing this game.  They collect in the streets around the 'PokéStops' and 'Gyms' that exist in the game, and are tied to real life locations using GPS location data.  Near our office, a popular gym often has 10 or so people hanging around it, all looking at their phones.  Sometimes it sparks conversation, sometimes just awkward silences, sometimes stampedes.

Pokémon Go is already the biggest mobile game in US history. But why? Here are our thoughts on the matter:

  • Pokémon is a well-known brand. Everyone’s heard of Pokémon right?  This attracts young players as Pokémon is 'cool', but also older players for whom it gives them a nice nostalgic feeling of 1995 when Pokémon was born.
  • Augmented reality and a realistic local streetmap playing area using GPS is a great combination. Not the first, and certainly not the last, but it hits a sweet-spot.
  • The game's 'bar of entry' is very low.  You can start catching and collecting Pokémon around you straight away.
  • The game is deceptively complicated.  It’s not well documented, so you have to explore the game.  With an easy start for beginners, but a rabbit-hole of complex creature interactions and strategies is sure to keep hard-core games hooked.
  • Niantic have worked hard to make the day to day interactions with the game deeply satisfying. Hitting that Pokémon just-right with your Poké Ball and seeing it shrunk into the ball and captured successfully just keeps you coming back for more.
  • To play the game you need to explore, which means physically walking around outside.  Walking is of course physical exercise and it also helps you learn more about your local neighbourhood.
  • It has been reported to be beneficial to people suffering mental health issues

 

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An uncaught common 'Pidgey' Pokemon on Oakwood's office stairs.

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