“Oh my god, I got a Squirtle!”
“I found a Venasaur!”
“Yes! a Jigglypuff!”
Unless you are Patrick, and have been living under a rock, you are bound to have heard statements as above. Almost within 24 hours of its release, Pokémon GO topped the American App Store’s “Top Grossing” and “Free” charts, establishing itself as the game that has become the fastest to top the App Store and Google Play, with around 10 million downloads in its first week after launch.
According to Forbes, this game has more daily active users than Twitter, and more downloads than Tinder. And it has only been launched in US, Australia, New Zealand and more recently, in Germany. Now, let us answer the one question that almost everybody has been asking. How did this game become so popular overnight?
Widely known Storyline & a Well-known Brand called Pokémon
As most of us know, Pokémon are creatures of several shapes and sizes (currently there are 700+ species) who live in the wild. They are raised and commanded by their owners, called “Trainers”. These compete and fight against creatures raised by other Trainers to win the fictional Pokémon League. This storyline is now implemented as Pokémon GO in the real world, and it runs using your phone’s camera, sensors and location information based on real-world maps. And that has helped the game go viral in a way that no app has ever done before.
Easy Game play and Product Design
From leveling your personalised character, catching your first Pokémon to collecting items by walking around the streets, Pokémon GO checks pretty much every mark on the list, when it comes to the game play. Catching a new Pokémon is just as simple as “pulling to refresh”.
Increased Social Interaction
Pokémon GO is an Augmented Reality (AR) enhanced game that encourages you to walk up to people and talk to them. There are subtle design tricks inside the game that show you that you’re never really alone. For example, it will show you hot spots on the map with high activity around you. And that is the magic of this game. As it uses AR’s advanced location-based services, there is an oddly charming mix of real and virtual world that adds up to greater than the sum of the parts.
As an avid fan, I eagerly await the release of Pokémon GO, like the rest of Singapore. It promises to change how we, as a society, interact with each other. It would get us out of the house and reteach us to talk to one another, smile at each other, and help each other.
In the meanwhile, for my fellow fans out there, some Pokémon-themed alternatives to explore in Singapore:
Pokémon Café Singapore – The first official cafe in South East Asia, at the Bugis Junction in Singapore. Treat yourselves to Pikachu truffle fries, pancakes, rice omelettes and merchandise such as t-shirts, keychains and tote bags.
Toys “R” Us – Whether it be a Pokeball themed lunchbox or Pokémon themed school bag; or Manaphy, Gengar, Piplup and Pikachu stuffed toys, Toys “R” Us has you covered with those and more.
nanoblock – Remember those Lego blocks that we used to build castles, trains and cars when we were kids? nanoblock has now gone one step further and offers Pokémon-series blocks for us to build our favourite characters from scratch and relive childhood
Lazada – Okay, this is my personal favourite. Irrespective of a 10-year old or a 30-year old, Pokémon cards are always sacred. To add to your card collection, head on to Lazada.
In a world that has a million shades of grey, a few little Pokémon sized lightning bolts of wonder can go a very long way. Guys at Pokémon, are you listening? We are waiting for it in Singapura.