When you think of a company that is at the forefront of technology, you probably don’t think of Nintendo. Nintendo is notorious for their lackluster online practices, attacking people who post any video content of their games and failing to offer online play until 10 years after the launch of Xbox Live.
It may come as a surprise then to see just how successful Pokémon© Go has been, raising the price of Nintendo’s stock by 53% and raking in 14 million dollars before its global launch. Even Nintendo seems to be shocked by the success of their little app; but for those of us paying attention, it was guaranteed to be a phenomenon.
All Aboard the Nostalgia Train
The power of nostalgia is real, and now more marketable than ever. The success of the LEGO movie started a movement—inspiring shows like Fuller House on Netflix, a new Power Rangers movie coming out mid-2017, and much more.
For many millennials, it’s impossible to get any more nostalgic than with Pokémon©. With its video games, trading cards, movies, and animated television show, Pokémon© dominated the 90s and defined the childhood of children all around the world. Although not as prevalent with the kids today as it was 20 years ago, Pokémon© is still very popular and holds the number four spot in the best-selling video game franchises of all time.
First to Come, First to Serve
Augmented-reality has garnered great attention in the tech community in recent years. Product demonstrations of Google Glass and the Microsoft HoloLens have highlighted its potential, making headlines at all the tech conventions without ever having seen retail shelves, and giving consumers a taste of the future. It should come as no surprise then that when an app attached to such a large brand hits the market (and for FREE), it would gain a lot of attention despite its many faults (server crashes, no chat functionality, etc.). Through their successful partnership with Google, it seems for once Nintendo is able to finally be first to the table.
Social Media that is Actually Social
In the 90’s, Pokemon© revolutionized mobile gaming by utilizing the technology of the link cable. The original developers at Game Freak wanted to create an interactive experience, releasing two versions of the same game knowing that many people could only purchase one, and would be forced to interact and trade with players of the alternate version to truly “catch them all.” With an increase in online applications however, such a form of social interaction rarely exists anymore.
To recapture the spirit of the early games, Pokémon© Go developer, Niantic, decided to take a slightly different approach. Rather than focus on trading between players, Pokémon© Go offers the opportunity to interact with and meet new people in your area through marked social hotspots on your smart phone’s map. Players can also drops lures to attract Pokémon© to their location, which in turn also attracts nearby users. These key features allow players to meet up physically rather than behind a screen, sharing their collection, tips, and need-to-know locations for finding and catching Pokémon©. It adds the face-to-face interaction that social media platforms are missing, while also taking what we love about the original games and bringing it into the digital age.
Ready, Set, (Pokémon©) Go!
In less than a week we are facing a new reality: it’s a Pokémon© Go world and we’re just living in it. With now more daily users than Twitter (140 million), the people around you are just as likely to be tweeting as they are to be hunting these virtual critters. All that’s left to do now is to take your favorite hat, turn it backwards, and go.