It is fair to say that Pokémon GO is taking the US by storm. It is currently the top grossing iOS app in the US app store and according to industry experts, 5% of US Android users have installed the app since it launched to beta users in May. To put that in perspective, Pokémon GO has more downloads than Tinder and is on track to exceed Twitter’s Daily Active User count.
Pokémon GO is the first hit title to combine augmented reality (AR) with location and social game mechanics. The game uses the camera, GPS and clock on a smartphone to cleverly reward players when they go to different locations in the physical world to play the game.
Mobile AR in 2016 is largely focussed on the idea of the “magic window”. In the case of Pokémon GO, this is the use of the camera on your smartphone to pass through live video to the screen, upon which a digital, interactive Pokémon is superimposed. The phone essentially becomes a window combining the physical and digital worlds.
Many well-funded AR platforms will enter the market throughout 2016 and 2017 such as Google Tango and Magic Leap amongst others. Games will be developed that make creative use of dedicated sensors and computer visions on devices.
Whether or not Pokémon GO maintains its intense pace of growth or ultimately fizzles out, its legacy will echo across a generation of app developers. Another viewpoint suggests that the game might actually be the fastest growing unintentional health app to date, prompting gamers to inadvertently walk miles to achieve progress.
Brace yourselves – the game has been officially released in Europe this morning!