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Why Pokémon Go is such a big freakin’ deal [Editorial]

(EDITORIAL) Let’s face it, Pokémon Go has put the fun back in phone functionality (get it?).

Users surpassing major social media titans

Pokémon Go is a big deal, and not because all of your Facebook friends won’t shut up about it. For one thing, it’s huge. The amount of daily users is about to overtake Twitter. Seriously. All of Twitter. More than that.

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There is not much to the app that is breaking the barriers of technology innovation. It uses GPS, maps, and your camera in pretty straightforward ways.

So what’s so special about it?

It’s success lies in its clever combination of existing technology and a built-in audience that was willing to try it out of the gate. But, let’s face it, they’ve put the fun back in phone functionality.

You can find out more about how the app works, but I want to talk about why it’s breaking new ground in social and technological areas:

  1. It is the first widely applied AR technology: This is no Magic Leap, but the simple act of seeing through your phone camera and spotting a pokémon sitting on a car, or in the bushes, is fun. Really fun. And it doesn’t take a fancy headset or a super powered CPU to accomplish it.
  1. It makes you go outside: The only way to play is to walk around. Sure, other fitness apps have tried to trick us all walking and talking to each other, but none of them had the power of Nintendo and a beloved franchise to accomplish it. Want a water Pokémon? Find some real water. Looking for a shadow Pokemon? Better take an evening walk.
  1. Anyone can play: If you have a phone and can ambulate around, you’re in. It’s free to download and it’s, like, so hot right now. Sure, most of the first people on board were probably already Pokémon fans, but anyone who’s curious can get started in a few minutes, provided the servers aren’t overloaded again.
  1. It’s already rewriting social rules: From memes about the antics or ethics of stealing Pokémon from your friends, to an online war between users and Westboro Baptist Church, there’s a whole new world to explore beyond the simple “gotta catch ’em all” slogan.
  1. It has the potential to reshape legal and real world principles: It’s not all fun and games. There are reports of people setting up lures in order to bring players close in order to rob them. People are legitimately concerned about accidents.And while the Westboro “Love is Love” Pokemon has a lot of support (well deserved, IMO) it raises an interesting question: do we have the right to say what happens in our virtual space? With a new app that lets you leave notes in the Pokémon world tied to real locations, what do we do if someone says something nasty about you? There isn’t a law or a precedent in place to tackle that yet.

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Get used to it, haters

Whether or not you’re a rabid player or an eye-rolling person on the sidelines, mark my word: Pokémon Go will continue to dominate your newsfeed for a while. I think we will look back on this in a similar way to when Twitter exploded or Apple made a little thing called an iPhone.

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More reading:

Did Pokémon Go just instantly make AR mainstream? – The American Genius

We write a lot about augmented reality and its applications within business. A question we often bring up is, “How long will it take for this technology to hit the mainstream? When will using it as a part of your business go from a competitive advantage to a me-too maneuver?

#PokemonGo

Felix is a writer, online-dating consultant, professor, and BBQ enthusiast. She lives in Austin with two warrior-princess-ninja-superheros and some other wild animals. You can read more of her musings, emo poetry, and weird fiction on her website.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Pokemon Go City Tours debuts in Austin #PokeTourism - The American Genius

  2. Pingback: Snapchat update ups their AR game in time for Spectacles launch - The American Genius

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