Pokemon GO: Mobile Gaming Evolved

Pokemon GO

Politicians are playing it. Sportspeople are playing it. Celebrities, young and old, in various countries all over the world, are playing it – Pokemon GO. What is this phenomenon that has taken the world by storm? This freemium game with Augmented Reality (AR) features is really popular, surpassing even Twitter in terms of active users on Android.
Pokemon GO is a new game by Niantic, based on the popular Pokemon franchise. The game allows you to capture and train cute, fictitious animals called “Pokemon”. The franchise is famous for its cartoons and games.

About Pokemon GO –

The game involves you looking for said fictional animals by moving around with your phone. When you find a Pokemon, you can see it on your mobile screen, which appears as an overlay on the image coming in from your camera. You need to move around the real world with your phone to find new Pokemon. What is really cool is – certain types of Pokemon can be found depending on the actual area. You can do other stuff like using bait to catch more Pokemon, training them at Gyms etc.
The game makes use of several elements to create a more engaging experience. Some of them are –

Augmented Reality –

While not the first game to implement it, the game does a neat job of making the Pokemon appear as if it is in the real world. The game superimposes images of the Pokemon on top of the image received from the rear camera. It is known to cause performance issues, but increases immersion. Additionally, the feature can be turned off in case of weak phone/performance requirement.

GPS positioning-

The game integrates landmarks and maps along with your location in the real world. Real life buildings and roads are used in the game as game-play elements.  Water type Pokemon can be found near actual water bodies such as rivers. Pokemon Gyms and stops coincide with local landmarks such as churches, restaurants etc. This makes interacting with the game a hybrid experience – you browse through the game world in the same way you browse through the real world. It also provides people with the opportunity to explore their surroundings – with unexpected results sometimes.

New Wireless Internet technology –

The game is heavily dependent on data – something like this would be unthinkable before the arrival of 3G/4G-LTE networks. However, it properly utilises said data to provide a rich experience to the user.

Social Interactions –

Many mechanics result in meeting fellow players – this also provides a bonding opportunity for the like-minded. Many local businesses are also capitalising – added foot-flow near their establishments presents them with an opportunity to offer their services to new clientele. As such, many businesses are pointing out Pokemon Stops/Gyms near their businesses to attract users.

Health Applications –

Till date, most games have been sedentary. However, as this game depends on users walking around, many players have been getting additional exercise. It is refreshing to witness such a popular game with walking as such an integral mechanic.

Conclusion –

Pokemon GO uses many mobile gaming features effectively to deliver a fun experience. People have always wanted to be Pokemon Masters like Ash Ketchum since childhood. This game provides them with a great opportunity to do the same without being too expensive/inaccessible to the masses. Here’s to hoping this is less of a fad and more of a regular trend.

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