16 August 2016

DIGITAL - Tapping Into Pokemon GO's Success

Pokémon GO has been available across North America for over a month now, and although the app is still rolling out globally (it is still not officially available in China, South Korea, or India), the impact is universal.

Answering the question of what, exactly, the Pokémon-inspired paradigm shift looks like is tricky.

It’s clear that the paradigm shift involves how users interact with each other and with the world around them, through and with technology.

Pokémon GO ties into the Internet of Things in a big way, pulling the caricatured nerds out of their basements and into broad daylight. Augmented Reality (AR) is not new, but Pokémon GO has revolutionized user acceptance of and interaction with AR.

The positives are plentiful.

According to various sources, the app has the potential to make physical therapy and hospital stays much easier and more accessible for kids, can help with depression, and can improve overall mental, emotional and physical health by encouraging physical activity, allowing intergenerational connection, and providing a sense of community and belonging.

Pokémon GO has also proven itself to be a positive for businesses, and Pokémon gyms and stops have both been used to drive sales and bring in customers.

And the app’s extensive permissions are a positive for the business acquiring users information and a significant privacy issue for the users whose information is being captured, stored, and potentially shared.

Privacy isn’t the only concern for users.

Some of the negatives associated with the game, such as finding a dead body or being robbed, seem like rare and one-off concerns that don’t really impact most players. But issues of accessibility are a real concern, and players have noted that the game reinforces existing economic and racial inequalities.

If companies want to learn from Niantic’s success and leverage AR and viral marketing in their apps and advertising, they will have to find ways to tap into those positive outcomes and mitigate the negative ones.

Paying attention to advocacy groups that are providing suggestions and insights for the game has the potential to give other developers a boost in communities that are often forgotten. In an economic climate where every dollar counts, these untapped markets may be a significant source of revenue, in addition to the social benefits of evening out systemic inequalities.

It won’t be easy for businesses and app developers to recreate Niantic’s success.

Although they spent very little in marketing, Pokémon GO benefits from significant brand recognition and from 20 years of gamers dreaming of playing the game out in the real world. The nostalgia factor is significant, and difficult to replicate.

However, the game does represent a huge leap forward in AR, and in user expectations.

Adding AR to everything from pet tracking apps to museum trips is suddenly much more feasible because users have had a positive experience in the game and are ready to engage with AR apps more enthusiastically.

Although AR has been tried many times before, Pokémon GO opens the door in a way no other app or device has.

By Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

No comments:

Post a Comment