Today’s guest RepMan is by Peppercommer Laura Bedrossian.
Two weeks ago I downloaded Pokémon Go solely based on two facts: 1) I am familiar with the brand; 2) I was drawn to understand how it functioned after I saw a friend playing.
The game has a lot to offer users.
Badges/awards? Yes—I love winning things.
An avatar that I can create to kind of look like me? Right on.
Augmented reality? AWESOME.
My 12-year-old self, who once thought it was a game I was too mature to play, would be incredibly sad to know that my 30+ self has fallen for the strange, yet incredibly fun, allure of this new app. The marketing and the appeal of the game clearly works—I downloaded the game and am now playing alongside hordes of others, making Pokémon Go the biggest mobile game in U.S. history.
But now that we’ve downloaded, what’s next? Niantic and Nintendo are doing what most gaming apps do—get audiences to download the game for free and then make the real cash with add-ons and upgrades. But with that said, my colleague and fellow Pokémon Go player—Adam Giambattista—pointed out that while they do have add-ons, they seem to be the only free game without ads and the game doesn’t force you to upgrade to be able to continue playing.
Another colleague and fellow player (Lia LoBello), made another good point regarding the game: Walking around the city I’ve seen everyone from men in suits to teenage girls playing the game. I think it’s amazing how it appeals to the masses–how many other games, really can say that?
And, Lia’s right. On top of getting people to walk around, they also make landmarks (sometimes quite randomly—like the “graffiti wall” near my Astoria apartment) stops where one can “power up.” So, you get to discover things you may have simply walked by had you not been paying the game.
On the flip side, there are certainly a fair amount of issues with the game (bugs, server issues, people getting robbed and tricked with following in-game lures, people getting hit by cars when they aren’t paying attention, people like me who aren’t quite sure what to do past collecting the characters—will someone tell me how I use the gym?), but that’s not stopping players.
Maybe I’m expecting too much from a mobile app, but to keep people like me engaged and playing, I want to see more and do more. Unfortunately, Nintendo just announced yesterday that the newest game add-on (a physical accessory), which should have been released today and would enhance the gaming experience, is being pushed back to September. This comes on the tail end of news that after a huge boost, Nintendo stocks are dropping. Ouch.
Despite this, Nintendo did a great job of reviving an older brand and making it relevant to new audiences. But, what it actually did more effectively is open the door for other games, apps, and even marketers/brands to use AR. We’ve seen the appetite that audiences have for this type of functionality and interactivity, and now there’s no going back.
But, back to me. Will I still be playing by the time the new updates come out? Eh, it’s a long wait and my Millennial attention span doesn’t have it in me. I may also be too busy playing with the revival of another old Nintendo brand—the re-released NES.
Then again, I still don’t have that Pikachu yet . . .