The Power That’s Inside Pokémon Go
Unless you have been living under a rock or hiding in some tall grass, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon GO. It’s been an overnight sensation and has been the biggest brand boost for Nintendo in years. The augmented reality smart phone game has the world in a craze and has caused the company’s shares to rise 50%.
How does it work? Using the phone’s GPS, the app creates an augmented reality (AR)—sending users on a search to catch them all… Pokémon, that is. It overlays Pokémon in real-world locations, and players have to capture them in various places.
Having only officially been released in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, the rest of the world has been using hacks to get the game on their phones. Even so, TechCrunch has reported over 7.5 million downloads by Americans from the Play and App store, making $1.6 million daily, with users spending an average of 43 minutes per day playing the game—and this is yesterday’s data. There’s no doubt that these numbers have grown even more over the past 24 hours. Simply put, Americans are obsessed.
Aside from the incredible engagement and love surrounding the app, there’s something we’re more amazed by: there was no marketing blitz surrounding the release of the app. Pokémon Go benefited from media coverage after an announcement last fall that the game was under development and a video trailer and press release came out the day before the game launched last week, but aside from these two tactics, the app’s instant breakthrough was something totally organic and incredibly astounding. We’re blown away by how quickly and effectively this app has infiltrated people’s phones and lives.
It helps, of course, that millions worldwide know Pokémon from its original form on Nintendo’s Game Boy in the 1990s and subsequent iterations as TV shows, card games, toys and comic books; but simple word-of-mouth is what caused this app to become an overnight sensation. It’s nostalgia for some, and a brand new experience for others.
The release of this app is a milestone in the augmented reality (and marketing) world. We’re amazed at how quickly the app has grown, and we’re equally excited to see how partnerships between Nintendo’s game and local businesses develop. The app currently sends its users around town to catch Pokémon, designating certain locations as specialty Poké ball hotspots. Businesses have capitalized on this, using the app as an opportunity to sell to potential customers. Soon, businesses may even be able to pay for a sponsorship within the app to bring users to their locations, marking a cool partnership between local businesses and Nintendo.
It’s vital for any marketer trying to keep up with latest global mobile obsession to keep an eye on the progress that will happen in the next little while as the app is released in more countries, resulting in more engagement, and more revenue for Nintendo. This app is proving the real-life results between the online and offline mobile worlds, and if Pokémon GO proves to be more than a short-lived fad, it could be just the start of a wave of AR games that local businesses can tap to capture new customers and bring existing customers back through their doors. This is truly just the beginning.