Pokémon Go: A 20-Year Vision that Conquered The Global Indie Game Scenario!

Just about every kid and even some adults were taken by Pokemon fandom, from the anime cartoon to the video games and trading cards. This was a time when youngsters’ social status was often determined by their Pokemon card collection; needless to say, the Nintendo owned franchise was a hit. It also introduced one of the most popular slogans of the early 2000s – “Gotta Catch’em All!”

Many have been entertained by this Japanese franchise since it hit the scene in 1996. Since then we’ve seen 20 anime seasons, 19 pokemon films and 50+ Pokemon Games! Kids the world over have imagined what it would be like to be a Pokemon Master, wandering around the world to capture rare Pokemon.

Now the dream is a reality

After 20 years, Pokemon has unveiled an app that allows you feel more like a Pokemon Master than ever before.

In early July, Nintendo – in collaboration with Niantic – developed and released a massive multiplayer online role playing (MMORPG) GPS-dependent game app “Pokemon Go” which has taken the world by storm again and reminded us all of our childhood obsession with the franchise.

The game requires players to move around in the real world, where Pokemon can be discovered and captured by the use of an Augmented Reality. The player moves around and follows GPS coordinates to find various Pokemon. Once the player is in close proximity, looking through the phone’s camera can reveal exactly where they are as they are superimposed on over the picture to make it seem as if they are walking around the real world.

This has been made possible by the courtesy of cutting-edge sensors including the Accelerometer, Gyroscope inbuilt into phone and GPS and AR applications.

Now How Awesome Is That!

To borrow the words used by techies and game development experts, Niantic combined two concepts to bring the Pokemon world to life: Gamification + Geoinformatics.

Since the release of the game on July 6 (with a limited release in Australia, New Zealand and USA), the app download number is going through the roof, to say the least.

Gaming trends change over time – Mario, Luigi and Yoshi are household names because of the success of Super Mario in the early and late 90s. Following that, came the XBox and Playstation era, which swept us off our feet with games like HALO, Dead Space, GTA and many others. But as time has gone on, more people are moving away from consoles into more compact and user-friendly gaming devices. Mobile games are quickly becoming the more popular option.

Game titles such as Angry Birds and Flappy Bird got things started – later it was Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, which at the moment are as close to household names as games can be.

And Then There Was Light!

It all started with a 2014 Google prank on April Fool’s Day, when they teased us with a Pokemon game that had the player capturing Pokemon on Google Maps. One user even predicted that sometime down the timeline, Google might partner up with Niantic to develop an augmented reality game that would enable users to catch Pokemon in the real world, train them and battle them.

And that is exactly what has happened!

Since its release, Pokemon Go has broken record after record as it continues to entertain people of all ages. People from 18-30, a very significant market segment, have been instilled with a sense of nostalgia by playing Pokemon Go, and the app has banked on this for part of its success.

The following quick facts will shed some light on just how massive Pokemon Go is.

  • According to the number of daily active users, Pokemon Go is the biggest game of 2016, beating the indie favourite and Mobile Game Mughal Supercell’s heavily marketized Clash Royale.
  • Pokemon Go is the biggest mobile game in the history of the USA, with all the marquee games like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush (with 3 million total DAU from all countries and all devices, at its peak) trailing behind.
  • Within just three days of its release, the Pokémon GO app had attracted more users than the previous record held by Twitter.
  • After just one week, Pokemon Go app attracted a user base of approximately 21 Million, which surpasses Twitter’s outstanding peak user base of 20 million in US, thus making it the Biggest Mobile Game of the US market.
  • Pokemon Go is already Number 1 in the Top Free category on Android Playstore for AUS, NZ and US regions, having been installed between 5 and 10 million times.
  • This is also the case in the App Store – Number 1 in the Top Free category and the Top Grossing App in USA, Australia and New Zealand.
  • People are now spending more time using Pokemon Go than Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram; an average of 33:25 minutes per day.

What does this mean for Nintendo?

As you’d expect, Nintendo has struck gold with the rise of Pokemon Go. Niantic, the game developer company, is also enjoying its share of success.

  • With the release of Pokemon Go, Nintendo has seen unprecedented stock market success, with a staggering value bump of $7.2 billion value days after the release.
  • Nintendo’s stock prices saw a spike of 24%. Despite a recent marginal wane in the download after the initial surge, such a stock price increase is a boom for the company.

With all these statistics showing how quickly the success has hit, it might seem like this is an overnight success. But it’s quite the opposite; this was a success 20 years in the making.

And more success is sure to come, with the release to the massive market in Asia still on hold.

What Does This Imply for Business?

Businesses in a range of different industries can get something out of the success of Pokemon Go, and many are already cashing in on it. Retail businesses, in particular, are dependant on foot traffic and are taking innovative approaches to get people playing the game into their stores.

This also shows other mobile gaming businesses the potential for Augmented Reality technology and gaming, and it’s sure to led to other developers coming up with more ideas to utilise it.

There is also a community of naysayers on social media, pointing out the negative aspects of the game. But from a standpoint of pure numbers, there is no denial that the game concept is innovative, creative and most of all successful.

So expect to see people glued to their phone screens as they roam down the streets, oblivious to were they are going in the real world (there’s certainly a potential health hazard here!) on their all-important quest to “Catch’em All”.

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