Pokemon GO is massive – practically everyone I know is playing it. While some of my friends were able to download it, others had to go through the APK (a bypass method) to get the game. It doesn’t matter how you got a hold of Pokemon GO, what matters is how it is affecting the world around us – what will happen next?
For most of us, Pokemon is more than just a game; it goes beyond the concept of Tamagotchi and/or pet-based games – Pokemon is a way of life. Those little creatures have followed us for 20 years now and thanks to them, we have learned how to respect animals and nature, how to make friends and how to be a good competitive player. Pokemon is as virtual (handheld, mobile and console) as it is physical (trading card game, toys, etc.). Pokemon is everywhere!
Thanks to Niantic, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company, Pokemon GO finally made it out – it personally feels like a mix between Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap! With the mobile market being THE MOST accessible market in the world, it came to no surprise to see Pokemon GO explode the way it did – it was expected. However, many have a misconception of what the app is and does, and I am here to discuss the present and the future of the game.
More Social, More Active, More Fun
Pokemon GO works using geolocation as a base – people connect online, have their GPS active and walk, or run, the streets, searching for new Pokemon to capture. Staying at a single spot is counterproductive to the game, and in parallel, to our lives, so the app forces you to move. The simple activity of walking and running is very healthy, especially considering that most people are lazy and prefer to doze off. (I would also like to mention that one of the features, the Eggs, requires you to walk 2, 5, even 10 KM before it can hatch and unveil the creature inside)
So now that you are up and being physically active, the game pushes you to catch as many as you can in order to:
- Collect all of the Pokemon
- Built a strong team
- Level up your character
- Evolve your creatures
Whatever reason you have to play the game, it insists that you catch as many as you can. At some point, you will need some extra Poke Ball – you can run out – but if you don’t feel like putting any cash in the game and keep it free, all while enjoying your experience with the app, you can find PokeStops where you can get free Poke Balls and other useful items, like potions and eggs.
Once you understand the mechanics of the game, you will realize that the best place to capture Pokemon is by going near PokeStop that have been lured (Lure is an item that attracts Pokemon). Once you get there, surprise! You are not the only one playing the game. Before you know it, you will be talking about Pokemon, socializing and making new friends. These are all part of the experience and by developing it properly, Niantic captured the essence of the franchise and turned it into an enjoyable game.
Even when the trend drops, capturing Pokemon can become a casual activity not only for an individual, but for family and friends as well. Going for a walk in the park? Might as well catch something at the same time.
DANGER! Don’t Put Your Life on the Line
At the end of the day, Pokemon GO is nothing but an application – it is a game. The fact that it is on your smartphone opens doors to many dangers, and regardless of what they can be, you must know what they are. You must be cautious and ready!
- Don’t Pokemon Go & Drive: A study has shown that texting while driving can be a lot more dangerous to you and your surrounding than drinking and driving. By that same logic, Pokemon GO and driving is as dangerous, if not more, so please, if you value your life, keep your eyes on the road. (I have heard many stories of accidents happening because of this game and frankly, the app isn’t to blame – the drivers are. Stay safe!)
- You Don’t Need To Go Inside A Building: When a Pokemon spawns and is ready for an encounter, as long as it is within your radar’s reach, you shouldn’t have any problem catching it. Many claim that a certain Pokemon appeared in a Police Station and, well, they wanted to catch it, but in theory, the game was made so that you don’t have to go inside. If, for some reason you must, DON’T! How would you like some random person to go inside of your house unjustified.
- Eat & Drink: It is funny to say, but don’t forget to hydrate yourself and eat well before going on a Pokemon Hunt. We are in summer and long walks can be troublesome. Yes, it is good exercise, but protecting your body from the heat, having energy and being hydrates is super important. Not paying attention to that can result in an over activity from your heart. A healthy heart is a happy hearth!
- Know Your Surroundings: This one is tricky. Although the game can be used in some form to teach its user about interest points in a city, it was used by robbers, in a case, to lure players out. The result, they were robbed. Make sure you know where you are going at all times and if possible, never go alone. An extra tip would be to always have someone know your approximate whereabouts.
“My Son is Playing Pokemon GO & He is Addicted, Should I be Worried?”
Playing video games and associating it as an addiction is a little far-fetched. Gaming, just like any activity, is a way to keep your mind busy and believe it or not, most games teaches it user something quite valuable in life. Pokemon GO, for example, is a great way to discover the world of Pokemon, yes, but also discover your own world, the city where you are. Let’s use Montreal as a quick example.
In this city, for someone like me who doesn’t go out as much, there are a few landmarks here and there. However, Pokemon GO taught me that I was wrong. Every PokeStop I visited is technically a landmark, or a point of interest that teaches me a little more about the city I live in, its multicultural aspect, and other interesting historical features.
For the parents out there that are wondering if the trend will last long, here is what I believe will happen.
First and foremost, it is important to know two things:
- The game isn’t officially out yet and is still missing key features (trading, leaderboard, etc.)
- Excluding the addition of the new Pokemon in the Sun & Moon 3DS games (we don’t know how many there will be), the Pokemon count is already as high as 722 – Pokemon GO will probably start off with the first 150 or 151 if they include the mythical Pokemon known as Mew.
With that in mind, Niantic can easily run the game for quite a while by adding new Pokemon to the original 151 everyone once in a while. So at first, the game will be super popular, then after a few weeks there will be a down in activity, after a few months Niantic adds new features and/or Pokemon to spike the number of daily users, the numbers will drop once more after a couple of weeks following the new features and Pokemon, and we rinse and repeat. A similar activity was clocked by Blizzard regarding their famous title, World of Warcraft.
The users will still remain in the millions, given that the app is on smartphones, an accessible market, but one thing is certain, there will be a drop of online activity. It is the trend at the time being, and will be popular for quite some time, but I believe that just like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, the game will always be downloaded and played by millions.
To conclude, I will answer a question many have asked me: “Is Pokemon GO a good Pokemon game/app?”
The answer to that question is no, I don’t believe it is at the moment, and I will explain why. For the time being, Pokemon GO does a great job introducing Pokemon to the world and bringing back treasured memories – I feel like a kid again thanks to this. However, without some of the features that Niantic promises to incorporate soon, the game misses an important point, trading. (It is still worth downloading!!!)
Without trading, I believe that users aren’t getting the entire Pokemon experience. It is decent for now, but once we see how trading will work, only then will I be able to say, yes, it is a good Pokemon game/app. If you think there are more social interactions now, imagine what will happen when trading will be unlocked!