Pokemon Go is the first major success in a new kind of mobile game, known as “augmented reality.” It has since surpassed Facebook and Twitter in the number of app downloads (within the shortest period too) and engagement per day (33 minutes for Pokemon Go users vs. 22 minutes on Facebook every day). Did the creators at Niantic / Nintendo get lucky with this one-hit wonder? What exactly led Pokemon Go do to become the overnight success, and what can other companies learn from it in order to try and replicate the same success for themselves?
If you’re a Pokemon Go player like me, you may have already realized that the game developers have added multiple layers of complexity that makes the game continuously enjoyable, and challenging enough without being overly so. There are a few elements that can perhaps help explain the phenomenal success of Pokemon Go – it tapped on a strong brand following that was built over 20 years, and spread across television programs, cards, movies and games. Building on these feelings of nostalgia from a generation who grew up watching Pokemon since their childhood, Niantic assured themselves of a market of players who might otherwise not be interested in a mobile game.
The game is as easy or as complex as you want it to be. You could simply go around catching Pokemon, aiming to find and collect the different species. For the older generation (I know of folks in their 60s who are playing the game this way), this is simple and easy enough to grasp. For the more tech-savvy and competitive younger folks, you could strategize on which Pokemon to train and level up, and then battle to takeover and defend gyms across different lands.
The game developers have also given a lot of thought into the location and timing for different types of Pokemon to spawn. For instance, bug-type Pokemon like Weedle and Caterpie are commonly found near grass, whereas Meowth has been spotted hanging out with our friendly neighbourhood stray cats under void decks. Looking for a water-type Pokemon like Squirtle or Dratini? Streams, reservoirs, rivers or lakes are good places to search. Bats like Zubat are easily found in large numbers at night, whereas Pikachu has been rumoured to be near power stations (St. James Power Station, anyone?). If you’re a hardcore Pokemon fan, you might remember that Clefairy tends to be curious, and so it naturally pops up at tourist landmarks. Or what about Chansey, the nurse Pokemon in the series? Not surprising that you’ll find Chansey near and around hospitals (Changi General Hospital is a hotspot). These “Easter eggs” discoveries as players find and capture Pokemon continue to delight many for a long time to come.
Want to be the very best, like no one ever was? Well, you might have to start hunting for rare Pokemon that are region-specific, such as Mr. Mime in Europe and Farfetch’d in Asia.
There’s something for everyone, regardless of your age and personal history with the Pokemon franchise. And THAT, is what made the game so wildly popular.
Looking to invest in stocks that might potentially benefit from the hugely-successful Pokemon Go game? Watch out for my next post here! I’ll be evaluating what type of stocks can benefit from this trend, as well as name-dropping a few.
In the meantime, I’ll be off for a Pokemon date with my fiance for now.