Could Pokémon Go Change The Digital Landscape Forever?

Simon JonesIndustry News, Internet

Nintendo are slowly releasing Pokémon Go around the world; it started at the beginning of July in New Zealand and casually worked its way across the Pacific Ocean to reach America before the end of the weekend.

The majority of the rest of the world wait with bated breath, poised in anticipation about what is to come when their country or region of residence is finally unleashed into the Pokéworld.

As of today (14.07.16) Pokémon Go has just been released in the UK app store although some clever folk, and that may include the author of this post, have found a way to access the game a bit earlier.

For those who don’t know too much about the Pokémon phenomenon and what it means, here are the key details:

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that users can download from the app store onto their mobile device. The game sees Pokémon (digital animals) released into the real world whereby the player (a Pokémon Trainer) has to try and catch them all.

Pokémon Go on mobile

Source: Flickr

It works using GPS to track your movements as you walk around the real world, staring at your mobile device, trying to find the next Pokémon to capture. The phone’s camera is used to display the real world as the app superimposes a digital image of a Pokémon on top of it.

Early Facts and Figures

It has proved incredibly popular so far, with figures showing that it is being played on a daily basis by 3% of all Android users in America – this makes it very close to being used more often than Twitter which has a 3.5% daily usage rate.

The game has also been downloaded on 5% of all Android devices, making it more popular than dating app Tinder, which is currently installed on only 2% of devices.

At the time of writing, iOS figures have not been released but the app reached the number one position in the Apple App Store in America within days, suggesting that it is just as popular on this device.

So could Pokémon Go do the seemingly impossible for digital marketers and drive real world traffic?

On the face of it, this may seem slightly unfair on digital marketers.

A business employs a digital marketing person, team or agency to look after their digital affairs. A restaurant, for example, doesn’t hire a Michelin star chef because they need help with their Google Adwords strategy.

But in a strange way, wouldn’t it be nice if they could?

Ok, so the digital marketing chef is probably quite a niche crossover, but if digital marketers could actively drive footfall to a shop, it would definitely add another string to their bows.

Until now driving real world traffic from a digital point of view is quite restrictive, you could create a downloadable voucher for someone to use in store, or allow online delivery to your shop where you have another chance of making a sale to a customer when they come to collect.

Playing Pokémon Go

Source: Flickr

But augmented reality could help change that.

Some shops in America are already embracing the Pokémon culture by actively advertising that they have been selected as an in-game point of interest, namely a Pokéstop, gym, or rare and exotic Pokémon are often found there.

Hordes of teens and young adults flocking to your shop to capture that Pokémon they need, or to battle it out with other players at a gym, and while they’re there you have the opportunity to market your products or services to them or even make a sale.

What does the future hold?

It’s difficult to say how augmented reality will survive and with virtual reality technology being worked on as well, we could find ourselves in another High Definition Vs. Blu Ray scenario where one will take off in a big way and leave the other trawling in its wake.

Either way, if the Pokémon Go game manages to sustain the initial popularity that it has seen in the opening weeks, you can imagine it won’t be long before big brands offer Nintendo a lot of money to make their shop(s) a point of interest.

“I’ve got a Venti Soy Quadruple Shot Latte with no foam for James”

“Hold on a second…I’m just catching the Dragonite by the back door”

Finally for those wondering what you can expect to find around the Miromedia base in Kenilworth, I can report that Abbey Fields is full of Paras, Pidgeys and Rattatas, but unfortunately nothing more exciting than that at the moment.

I might try the high street today to see if I can find anything there…