Unless you’ve been living in a cave on the SeafoamIslands for the past few weeks (in which case, congrats, you’re probably first in line to catch Articuno), you’ll probably have heard about Pokémon GO, Nintendo/Niantic’s augmented reality release that’s taken the world by storm.
Pokémon GO already seems set to be hotter than a Charizard’stail-tip, taking on some of the Elite Four of mobile apps –more users than Tinder, and closing in on Twitter.
The success of Pokémon GO poses a problem for businesses and agencies that set too much store in the known. Almost overnight, the app has overtaken social platforms that have been around since the term’s conception. Anyone who clings on to a platform for reasons similar to “it’s been around for ages and we’ve put a lot of time into it” will get caught out. That’s true whether we’re talking about Social, TV, or the Internet as we know it. Having a YouTube channel, a Facebook page, or a website is only important for as long as you can reach the right people. If one day that traffic dries up, the attitude should be to embrace it, rather than fight against it. Rather like the Pokémon series itself, the faces may change over the years, but the goal is the same.
So it’s good news for the risk-takers of the world, and the stock market seemed pleased with the app’s performance too. Nintendo’s share price has rocketed since the app’s release, but investors seem more excited about the potential of the concept, rather than the product itself. As someone who routinely caught Magikarpon the road to Mt. Moon, that’s a viewpoint I can relate to.
It’s a model that can be easily monetised, and Nintendo already has plans to release more mobile apps in the future. The augmented reality sector is one that digital professionals should be watching with interest, and not just because their client’s app might uncover a murder mystery. As virtual reality becomes just regular reality, we’ll definitely see advertising play some interesting roles. “Defeat this gym leader for 10% off”, a “wild Free Sample appeared”, “an unskippablead blocks the way”, the possibilities are practically limitless, and hopefully better thought out than those I’ve listed here.
It will be interesting to see Google’s response over the next few months. The search giant used to own Niantic until the company was cut loose as part of the Alphabet restructure. The hyper-local data that both powers the game and is received from players would be an interesting addition to any media owner’s team.
So put on your comfiest pair of shorts, turn your baseball cap back to front, and step into the long grass. You never know what you might find.