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Category: Gamification

Pokémon Go fever

Pokémon Go has gone viral in a way no other app ever has. Within a few days of the launch over 20 million players have downloaded the app, crashing the servers and making the game the most successful app ever. Players spend more time on the game than on Facebook and are more often on it than the dating app Tinder.

The game is a clever mix of virtual game with augmented reality. Players walk through the neighborhood and can discover Pokémon characters and catch them. Just around my home are multiple virtual arenas, where you can battle monsters. While playing it I encountered a dozen of other people walking, stopping, and playing the game.

The company behind the game – Niantic – is  spinoff from Google and started co-developing the game with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company in September 2015. The game was so far only released in Australia, New Zealand, and the US, launches in other countries had to be postponed because of the unexpected success that kept crashing the servers.

The game had some unintended but positive side effects. Players were expected to walk significant distances to catch characters, get new Pokéballs (that allow to catch Pokémon characters) and find arenas. Players met at different places to catch characters and whole neighborhoods came together to play together. Also it teaches US-players the metric system, as players have to walk 2 kilometers to hatch eggs. One has to know that the US is one of the last countries that is not using the metric system, instead of kilometers they use miles.

Nintendo announced to make a wearable device available that connects to a players smartphone and announces the vicinity of Pokémon characters so that players can pull out their phones only when required.

And finally, if you can get off the game and are looking for a job, Niantic has a number of job openings.