Unless you live in a cave, Pokémon Go took over the world in less than a month since its official launch. The videogame app, product of Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, literally ‘broke’ the app stores with millions of downloads in just a week or two.
The hype went so high in the Pokémon fandom and in the IT sectors, that even hacking groups were reported in the early stages of the game:
Conclusive reason for server delays this morning — DDoS attack (Denial of Service) by "hackers" from PoodleCorp.https://t.co/0m5e38XVbJ
— Pokemon Go Servers (@PokeGoServers) July 16, 2016
Not only that, but Pokémon Go has driven part of the society into some bad practices revolving around the pocket monsters frenzy, such as playing the game while driving or being at it without even looking to the both sides of the street before crossing it. And that’s just the ‘light’ part of the ‘problems’ around the app:
— Chris Greany (@CmdrChrisGreany) July 12, 2016
Ok, but what’s so great about Pokémon Go?
But let’s get right to the point. Besides all polemics and problems around Pokémon Go, this is one app that truly, truly knew how to unlock the potential of mobile gaming, augmented reality and a long going gaming franchise.
You have to know that Pokémon is, as of 2016, already 20 years old. Nintendo and The Pokémon Company really developed a winning formula around the base games when the Game Boy was still at stores, with the Pokémon Green and Pokémon Red versions in Japan (for Europe and America, it was Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue).
The game centered in an RPG style, in which the main character (literally, you) went into the adventure into the fictional Kanto region to catch a total of 151 different monsters, use them to battle and collect badges that would qualify you to enter «The Pokémon League», in which you would battle the Elite Four (the masters of masters) to become the World Champion, right before this brat would give you a big damn surprise:
If you’re reading this article and all these letters bring you some memories, then… KAPUT! That’s one pretty big point the developers knew how to exploit.
Because nostalgia factor is a gargantuan sized weapon; even though Pokémon franchise is still running and the 7th generation of the game is about to be released (with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon around the corner), there’s a totally different volume of empathy with the first generation of monsters, with iconic characters such as Pikachu, Mewtwo and Charizard on the list (yes, those even got to be independent characters in other Nintendo franchises, such as Super Smash Bros.).
Now, when you combine that with today’s crescent mobile industry and the augmented reality technology (which has been barely exploited by other industries), you get a really clever app that drives you to the original concept of the Pokémon game: exploring the world in order to catch ‘em all.
The unexplored potential of augmented reality
Augmented reality has been out there for some years now. As of 2012, it was already employed for educational purposes in some parts of the world, but Pokémon Go demonstrated how to drive this singular technology into a daily consumption basis
We have to say that there is quite a difference between the Pokémon Go app trailer that the world saw on 2015:
And the actual gameplay:
Even though the app today still presents some some inconsistencies in the AR / graphic department, the peeps at Niantic are sure to keep on improving and developing new features for their golden egg Swanna.
So, what’s your general perception of Pokémon Go? We’d really like for you to share it with us… until then, smell ya later!