Almost everyone who doesn’t live inside a rock should be familiar with the viral hit game Pokémon Go by now. And with its release in the SEA region – including here in the Philippines this August 6, we too now get to experience the game first hand, and what it has to offer.
But what made the game so successful? What made it so popular that the mobile app has passed more than $200 Million in total revenue in just a month after its release.
I’ll be giving some of my insights on the top reasons why Pokémon Go is a huge hit, and why so many are hooked onto this new mobile craze.
1. The name Pokémon by itself commands respect
Even before the craze that is Pokémon Go, the name Pokémon itself is an already well-established and renowned franchise.
Founded by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, the franchise was first seen in the form of a game for the Nintendo Game Boy, and later on in 1997 as an animated series, both of which receiving highly acclaimed success, as seen by the release of several other iterations of the game over time, and with the animation series still ongoing as one of the longest animated series of all-time.
As of now, it is one of the most popular franchise of all time, selling roughly over 270 million+ of total video game copies worldwide.
With just the Pokémon franchise name by itself, the hype of Pokémon Go is already bound to succeed, more so over the fact that the game is the first of its kind in the smartphone platform, and has Augmented Reality (discussed further in detail).
2. Pokémon is a 90’s kid
Very first Pokémon episode in the 90’s. All credits given where its due
While still a popular form of media for the new millennial kids, Pokémon’s inception effectively began in the 90’s, making it a by-product of that generation.
What does this mean?
It means the 90’s kids from before (and also some from the 80’s generation), who are now effectively young adults which earns money, has a growing career and, for the most part, makes up for most of the workforce in the current generation, effectively making up as large part user majority in the game.
So while the Pokémon franchise is technically catered for younger audiences, due to its influence to the kids of its generation, its effective user-base can be broken down into kids, teens and young adults – a very diverse and profitable market, something which all Pokémon affiliated companies are obviously enjoying at the moment.
3. Pokémon Go caters to smartphone users – for free
Okay, we’ve already established that Pokémon is a very popular and successful franchise. It has an large, profitable user-base consisting of children all the way to young adults. But this wouldn’t mean much if most of these people would not be able to access the game or app.
While Pokémon games are popularly known to be released in the Gameboy platform, Pokémon Go is released for both iOS and Android smartphones, which makes availability of the game much more prominent, given the amount of smartphone users in the market right now.
Also, Pokémon Go leverages itself as a smartphone game with the smart use of some of its tools for the game, like the phone camera for the AR (Augmented Reality) view, GPS for user tracking and mobile data for cloud access – something not provided by current video game handheld devices (more specifically the Nintendo 3DS).
It is safe to say that Pokémon Go’s different approach and availability to smartphones paid off. What’s even better is that the game is available for free, and you don’t have to be a premium user to gain leverage toward other players.
4. Pokémon Go provides an immersive gaming experience
Augmented Reality (AR) provides an immersive gameplay experience for Pokémon Go players
Pokémon fans from all generations, at some point during their childhood, probably dreamt of becoming a real Pokémon Master – wishing that Pokémons were real, so that the 10 year-old you could go on an adventure in order to “Catch em’ All”.
Yes, a fleeting dream; But that’s what fantasy games are all about. Pokémon Go capitalizes on this childish dreams of ours and provides an immersive gaming experience to let players feel that their actually Pokémon Trainers.
Let’s see: Pokémon Lures, Pokéstops, Pokémon Gym battles, walking around to catch Pokémons and hatch eggs, and AR (Augmented Reality) for additional immersion. Each element of its gameplay is catered to mimic what a Pokémon Trainer is like.
For the dreamers who wish to experience what its like to become a real-life Pokémon trainer, Pokémon Go gives a close representation on what its like running around and throwing Pokéballs.
And if the app user-base is any indication, there sure is alot out there who wishes to become a Pokémon Master someday.
5. Pokémon Go is an ongoing trend
Okay, you’re part of that rare group who doesn’t really know much about Pokémons. You’ve heard of it, but never really became a huge fan of the franchise (until now). All the sudden your friends began playing this new “app” about Pokémons.
Both the local news and social media are taken abuzz about this new game. Even your favorite celebrities ended up playing and posting their experience in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
This may have compelled you to “also” play the game, or might not. But one thing is certain – Pokémon Go generated an ongoing trend or craze.
Often called the Bandwagon Effect – people are often inclined to join in order to relate and become a part of the latest trend. And currently, Pokémon Go takes the icing of the cake for the latest mobile craze.
And as with any trends that came before Pokémon Go, the one generated by this game will also simmer down at some point. Needless to say, at the current moment, Pokémon Go is a big hit, and almost everyone, Pokémon fan or not, seems to enjoy being part of this huge trend.
Just like the creatures in the franchise, Pokémon has certainly “evolved” to cater the current generation of kids and millennials – and Pokémon Go is just one step of this evolution the franchise will take.
Once the buzz about the game goes down, the franchise, as it has done over the years, will once again “evolve” to take on another form, and surely come back with another trend once again that would take the world by a storm – just like what Pokémon Go did.