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Did Pokémon Go just instantly make AR mainstream?

(TECH NEWS) 150 colorful characters may have sent augmented reality crashing into the mainstream, thanks to Pokémon Go.

Augmented reality becoming a reality

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?

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Well, 150 colorful characters may have sent augmented reality crashing into the mainstream.

People tryin’ to catch ’em all

Pokémon Go, developed by Niantic and The Pokémon Company, transports the world of Pokémon into reality.

Players must travel to new locations to capture these creatures, acquire items and battle for supremacy at designated “gyms.” Now, millions of people are flocking to the app and to all corners of the country to “catch ‘em all.” The obsession is so real, that some police departments have had to issue PSAs telling folks to not Pokémon Go and Drive.

How did we get here? And what does it all mean?

Capitalizing on millennial nostalgia

For those less familiar with the Pokémon craze, know that it was a significant part of the childhood of many folks born in the 80s and 90s. This author and others like him fondly remember collecting trading cards, playing the video games, and watching the show as part of their Saturday morning cartoon routine. Most importantly, we would sit back and dream of a reality where these creatures walked among us so we could fully participate in this story that lived on our screens.

In using augmented reality, Pokémon Go has made this as close to a reality as possible. That combination of nostalgia and fantasy realization is driving the rabid success of this app.

How businesses are taking advantage

Pokémon Go is also driving augmented reality way into the mainstream, both for consumers and businesses. While the success of gamification isn’t new, this is the first time it has been applied so successfully in the realm of accessible augmented reality technology. Perhaps it is the familiar format, but either way, consumers are actively engaging with this format like never before.

Whataburger Pokemon
For businesses fortunate enough to be in-game destinations, the game is driving plenty of foot traffic. One restaurant owner in New York paid 10 bucks to “lure” sought-after Pokémon to his restaurant and has seen foot traffic and sales improve dramatically, according to a story by the New York Post.

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That success has led some savvy business owners to advertise using Pokémon Go as a part of their message. Most are taking advantage of paid and free social media postings to showcase their business and a destination for players. Thanks to how well the game is trending, these businesses can reach a lot of potential customers without a lot of money.

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The Pokémon fandom is real, and it’s very cheap to market it for your business. If you run a service business out of a brick-and-mortar shop, this game is a great way to get some customers in the door.

#PokémonGo

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