What’s Pokemon Go? Why’s Everyone Playing?

80 million people worldwide are playing it. It’s in the news everyday. Parks and streets are full of people looking down at their phones, but why? What are they doing? What has captivated the majority of smartphone users in the modern world? In this article I will explain what Pokemon Go is, why it’s so popular…

Pokemon History

The Pokemon franchise started in Japan in 1995. The first games were released in 1996 for the Game Boy. The early Pokemon games were centered around the player acting the role of a Pokemon trainer to hunt down and train Pokemon. Pokemon are fictional creatures which could be fought against each other. The goal was to find and catch them all. Then train them through in-game battles. The game also allowed players to battle against each other and trade Pokemon with other players. After it’s success a whole slew of Pokemon media came out such as an anime series, movies, a popular trading card game, and many more console games. Here are a few images from the original Game Boy game.

Pokemon Red and Blue version

Pokemon Go

Fast Forward to Today

Most early Pokemon fans from the 1990’s are now in their late 20’s, early 30’s and probably haven’t touched anything Pokemon related in 20 years. The concept for Pokemon Go started out as an April Fool’s joke in 2014 but was taken seriously and beta started in March 2016 for Japan and finally released on July 6th 2016 in select countries, but up until now, very little was said, heard, or known about the game. The hype was nonexistent then all of the sudden, seemly out of nowhere, Pokemon Go utterly exploded in popularity. Game downloads sky rocketed past some of the most popular phone apps within days of it’s release. City streets and parks were absolutely filled with players overnight and the majority of them were ages 19-30 but with many exceptions. Old Pokemon trainers were filled with nostalgia. Families started getting out of the house and playing together with their young kids. Old couples used it to spice up their evening walks. Social disorders were thrown out the window for some. All of the sudden everyone had something in common and everyone was getting out and meeting new people, seeing new places. Here are a few videos capturing the mob phenomenon surrounding Pokemon Go.


Why So Popular?

  • Pokemon is an extremely well known brand among young adults and kids too.
  • The majority of young adults already own a smartphone.
  • Very few location based games exist.
  • I think we all secretly wanted to physically reconnect after Facebook and anonymous gaming.
  • Bandwagon Effect

Combining a beloved game with old fans and new technology is apparently a recipe for success. I’ve already told you a little about Pokemon itself but what is Pokemon Go exactly? Again you are the Pokemon Trainer tasked with Catching’em All. Except this time it’s for smartphones(iOS, & Android). Pokemon creatures are found in real world locations using GPS. Players trek the globe searching for new creatures to add to their collection while using their collection to battle in gyms. Gyms are also located in real world locations, usually around landmarks, parks, statues, and other places. There are three factions: Valor, Mystic, Instinct. Players pick a faction and battle for control of these gyms. More features are planned for the future but for now everyone seems very excited to finally be the very best that no one ever was.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned a thing or two. Until next time…

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