Photo Credit: Youtube
The new sensation that has seized the United States by storm, Pokémon GO, is a new augmented reality game developed by Niantic and released a few days ago. Since then, it’s been a common occurrence to see a multitude of avid participants walking around parks, streets, and even the beach to try and catch them all.
Photo Credit: Polygon
The new genre of reality video games has for the most part, sprung up in the past 5 years. There are many categories such as Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and in the case of Pokémon GO, Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is very similar to Mixed Reality which was covered in one of our previous blog entries. Simply put, Augmented Reality uses a person’s actual surroundings and real life props to create an environment for a game. The game world is implemented into the real world resulting in a combination of both. In Pokemon GO, it would be Pokémon appearing on streets, cars, buildings, etc., Pokéstops, and Gyms.
Pokémon GO, like the other Pokémon games, revolves around the concept of catching and training your Pokémon to be better than those of the opposition. However, this game presents several major twists that the more traditional games do not have. First of all, everyone has to pick a team from Red, Blue, and Yellow. Pokémon Centers and shops have been combined to become a Pokéstop where a player can go to get equipment such as more Pokéballs, Potions, and Eggs. Gyms have become a king of the hill aspect with each team vying for control and using their Pokémon to battle to win gyms.
Training and leveling up Pokémon has also been tweaked a bit as this game focuses less on training Pokémon, but rather on just capturing Pokémon. Each successful capture gives a player gives Stardust and Candy which can be used to power up or evolve a Pokémon. Basically, doing some sort of action in the game is rewarded, whether it be catching Pokémon, visiting a Pokéstop, battling a gym, or more.
Just from the few days since the release of Pokémon GO in the United States, the positive and negative impacts have already been seen. The best part that comes with this game is that kids and even adults have been exercising more and exploring the outside world. Simply go to any park in the United States and there will be plenty of people looking to find Pokémon. The game spawns Pokémon more often near parks, lakes, oceans, and other real-life natural environments which encourages players to visit these places. Additionally, Pokéstops are often located in interesting landmarks and locations.
However, as with anything in the world, there is a negative side to the game. Crimes take place more often as a result of the game because people are focused on their phone. There have already been several robbery incidents and it is likely the numbers will go up. Wrongdoers stay near a Pokéstop, and wait for an unsuspecting victim to pass by engrossed in the game.
Nintendo has seen a huge jump in stock value since the introduction of this game to the United States. From a business standpoint, Pokémon GO has been a huge success already, and the game has also seen a positive review from the community, testament to the amount of people playing. If Niantic can patch up the buggy servers, the game can easily evolve to a household name.