Jul 22 2016 | by NATHAN
Pokémon Go is all over everybody’s newsfeeds at the moment, and with the Japanese launch of the game happening today and the first person to catch all of the Pokémon in their region becoming the hero of reddit yesterday, we thought it was about time to give you a little update on what this international phenomenon is all about.
Pokémon Go is the new Pokémon game from developer Niantic, and the first smartphone-only addition to the series. The application uses augmented reality to take the next step in bringing Pokémon into the real world. All you have to do is look down at your iPhone or Android device, the app will use your phone’s camera to see the world in front of you, and then superimpose the cute creature onto your surroundings. Then, with a tap of your screen, you can lob a Poké Ball, adding the little guy to your collection.
But before, you can “catch ‘em all”, you’ll have to find them first. The game uses a satellite image of the real world, and places your character on this map to correspond with where you actually are according to your phone’s GPS. If you’re in your house in the real world, that's where you are in the game. You walk down to your local corner shop and your character will do the same, acting out your adventure on the screen. Look at the map and you might notice a few curious looking markers: Gyms and PokéStops. At Gyms you can use your captured Pokémon to battle for control, and at PokéStops you can pick up useful power-ups as well as more Poké Balls - all to help you on your journey to becoming “the very best”.
Arriving at one of these PokéStops might feel familiar to the more cultured of gamers. That's because they’re placed at points of interest around the country. Museums, art galleries, landmarks and even your local pub... all of these and more could be PokéStops, just waiting to give you free top-ups on everything you need to be the greatest Pokémon trainer. Obviously, you can just pay for these power-ups and extra Poké Balls with real money (this being how the developer makes any money) but where’s the grueling exercise/fun in that.
As you walk around these locations, Pokémon are sure to pop up around you. If this happens, all you’ve got to do is give the monster a tap and it’ll appear in the real world for you to collect. Each Pokémon comes with candy that can be used to level that type of Pokémon up. So if you collect 5 of the really common Pokémon in your back garden, you can then use all of that candy to pick your favourite one and upgrade it to stand tall over the others as your very own chosen one.
The game also encourages social interaction, by getting gamers to all travel to the same spots and catch the rarest Pokémon together. You can even pick one of three teams in order to further this companionship (or perhaps rivalry) with your fellow players.
So to summarise: walk to tourist spots, pick up Pokémon as you walk around, then level them up with candy to form the most powerful team possible. Use this team to battle gym leaders for total control of the land. The process is simple, but still extremely addictive for the reported 9.5 million daily users in America alone.
Despite massive success in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe, it was only earlier today that the game was made available in it’s homeland of Japan. The Pokémon franchise started 20 years ago, with the 1996 Japanese release of “Pocket Monsters: Red and Green” and fans in Japan have been eagerly awaiting the date when they’ll finally be able to play the new game.
The game was reportedly meant to go live in Japan on Wednesday, however emails between Niantic and McDonald’s, the game’s sponsor, were leaked online causing the developers to delay the launch due to fears of the hype overloading the servers. McDonald’s are the first of the game’s “sponsored locations” to be introduced, with 3,000 restaurants in Japan also acting as Gyms in the game.
Marketing like this is genius, and should make any businesses wanting to capitalise on this trend very excited for the future of not only this app, but any app that integrates augmented reality. Whether you’re a major company dreaming of becoming the next sponsored location, or just a local business hoping to grow alongside this new market, there’s always a way you can appeal to those following the latest trend. Pokémon Go is no exception. You could start selling Pokémon themed products, or maybe take your business on the road to the nearest Gym. Pokémon Go is the highest grossing app on the App Store at the moment and is showing no signs of slowing down. So whatever you do, don’t ignore this app, because it might just be here to stay.
Everything you need to know about Pokemon Go