In my lifetime I have seen so many fads come into and go out of public consciousness: Pogs, the Yoyo, Tamogachi, Slap Bracelets and Beanie Babies. There is one “fad” that has never gone away though, Pokemon. In fact recently it’s been bigger than it ever has!
Over the past week my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been crammed full of people playing Pokemon GO; even people who have never expressed any desire to play games are at it. People who have called me “childish” and “immature” because I play Pokemon on my 3DS are at it! Young, old and in-between are all at it!
Companies are at it too! Taking full advantage of the GPS capabilities of the game as a form of advertising! They are placing lures at their premises in order to drive footfall into their stores. It’s mental. Over the past 7 days Pokemon GO has become the most successful mobile game of all time; it’s raked in over $14.4mill and attracted more daily users than Twitter (21 million) and it is only set to grow!
The world has gone Poke-crazy!
What makes the impact of Pokemon GO so impressive is that it hasn’t been officially released here in the UK! These people, non-gamers, have went to great lengths in order to play the game (especially on iOS which requires you to make a new account!)
…my question is – does Pokemon GO have the legs to be more than just a “fad”?When I saw the hype and hullabaloo on my social medium, I was brought back to a much simpler time; March 17th 2016, and the release of Miitomo. My Twitter feed was full of people putting up the QR codes, funny fotos and other Nintendo related nonsense; I distinctly remembering it remaining this way for the grand total of two weeks.
During this time I broke and downloaded Miitomo and had some fun with it; as an app though it was incredibly limited. Beyond answering stupid questions in borderline offensive ways and playing the drop game for clothes there was nothing to it. It was the epitome of a mobile app; all style and no substance. It sits on my mobile, untouched in nearly 3 months – it will remain that way until I delete it.
It’s a fad!
I haven’t played Pokemon GO; I want to make that clear but from what I’ve seen and heard, it suffers from the same issues as Miitomo – what’s there is cute and somewhat fun, but realistically it is shallow and ultimately short-lived.
If you couple this with the fact that a lot of the people playing this are not gamers and are playing it in order to join the fad or the conversation at school/work/unemployment line and I know for a fact that it will go the same way as Miitomo and in a couple of months (at most) we’ll hear nothing about it…
The biggest problem Pokemon GO faces however is the Winter. Come November, Ireland (like most of the Northern Hemisphere) becomes a mess of high winds, low temperatures and seemingly never-ending rain. Hands up if these seem like favourable meteorological conditions to catch a geodude in…
And that’s the thing, Pokemon Go is heavily reliant on its addictive quality. It wants to keep players hooked for as long as possible. Winter WILL break many players habit and stop them from checking it multiple times a day if you factor in the fact that mobile gamers have notoriously short attention spans and I cannot see many going back to Pokemon GO in January/February when the weather improves. The Winter could kill this game if you ask me.
It’ll be around forever!
And yet there is obvious room for Pokemon GO to grow! The first update will surely be a trading/battling system that will rejuvenate the game and allow people to continue playing without the need to brave the elements. This should be a priority for Nintendo and would get gamers through the winter.
When summer rolls round then Nintendo could update the game again, only this time they could update the game with the monsters from Gen 2. What about a breeding update? Or an Indigo League style multiplayer? Shiny Pokemon? Berries? Mega Evolutions?
The updates in order to keep this game relevant and in the public eye really do write themselves – I would love (and I know every other Pokemon fan would too) a “real life” Pokemon. I would bloody love to be a member of the Elite Four in my area and would welcome any and all challengers to my crown!
If we remember that Nintendo also promised that there will be huge public events and competitions then the future for Pokemon could be very bright indeed – if it is handled correctly!
Deciding now on the enduring success of Pokemon GO is folly. It is literally impossible to predict. It could be the next ‘Flappy Bird’ and have a glorious summer or it could be the next ‘Candy Crush’ and be the top game for years to come.
Ultimately the success of Pokemon GO will be decided by no-one but the player base and their satisfaction. Nintendo really do need to add the functions that people want with a solid strategy in place. Pokemon is a franchise that endures and there is no real reason to think that GO will fail. Especially with the start it has had!
Nintendo are notoriously hard to predict though, if this becomes a fad that lasts a few months rather than the worlds biggest MMO they will have no-one to blame but themselves! All the ingredients are there to make Pokemon GO the biggest game ever; and I don’t mean mobile game. If Nintendo can drip feed us exactly what we want and what is possible on the platform, then Pokemon GO will be an unbridled success that’ll make them more money than they can spend.
Time will tell though. I just wish they’d hurry the hell up and bring it out over here already!
Prediction time – do you think it’ll be a fad or a lasting experience?
Tell me why in the comments!