With more and more countries rolling out as the days go by, Pokémon Go is quite literally taking the entire world by storm. After 20 years, this augmented reality (AR) game brings retro Pokémaniacs one step closer to the dream of catching a Pokémon in real life. As now gamers can grab their phone, and search real world locations for various virtual Pokémon hiding all around us.
Developed by Niantic Labs and The Pokémon Company, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play game that allows players to search all over the world for Pokémon hidden in plain sight. However, in order to encourage exploration and exercise, just like in the famous franchise, expect to only find certain Pokémon in certain locations. Something Niantic were keen to stress on the title’s launch:
Certain Pokémon appear near their native environment – look for Water-type Pokémon by lakes and oceans
I Wanna Be The Very Best
Just like in the classic Game Boy game Pokémon Red & Blue, once discovered, players can then attempt to catch these Pokémon by throwing Poké Balls at them. That’s not all though, as Pokémon Go also allows you to use all those Pokémon you’ve found and captured in order to battle for real world gyms. Gyms which take on the form of famous building and landmarks within the local area.
Players can even search their local communities for PokéStops. These are real world places of interest, such as museums, art installations, historical markers, and monuments. And act as something of a Poké Mart, by randomly resupplying the player with useful items and XP.
The Pokémon Craze Continues
It may be early days, but saying Pokémon Go has has a successful launch would be an understatement. Not only has social media such as Twitter and Facebook exploded with people new and old talking non-stop about the game, but Pokémon Go is now considered to be the biggest mobile game in US history, with over 21 million daily active users according to SurveyMonkey. It also appears to capturing a very broad market, with both younger people in their teens, and those in their late 20s and 30s who grew up playing Pokémon, downloading it in equal numbers.
That’s not all though. As if that wasn’t enough, Nintendo’s shares are even up by more than 50% following the launch, adding $7bn (£5.4bn) to the company’s value. Just another reason to show how Nintendo should never be ruled out.
Pokémon is not only one of gaming’s biggest brands, it’s also one of the most successful, second in fact behind only Mario. As such, it’s not exactly surprising to see Pokémon Go doing so incredibly well. Although I think even by Nintendo and Pokémon’s lofty standards the reaction has been somewhat of a surprise with international traditional news outlets running story after story, and gaming media seemingly covering nothing but Pokémon news for the last week.
Pokémon Go’s Future
All in all, there’s a long road ahead for Pokémon Go, especially as at present only the original 151 are available in the game. What’s more, with the game technically still in soft launch, there’s still many bigs for Niantic to iron out. As such, expect improvement and expansion over the coming months and even years.
Will Pokémon Go be able to deliver on the dream of many a retro gamer? In the long run only time will tell. In the short term however, it certainly does seem to be delivering on that promise, and is certainly catapulting Pokémon back into the public consciousness as we build up to the launch of Pokémon Sun & Moon later this year. Pokémon certainly is having fantastic 20th Birthday.
Now though you’ll have to excuse me, as I need to get back to catching them all…. again.