Pokemon GO has officially taken over the world. To say that it’s trending on social media is an understatement that over-values the concept of what it means to be trending. Describing Pokemon GO as a phenomenon doesn’t even begin to describe how far-reaching its popularity and addiction is and the game’s only been on the market for less than a full week. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
We understand though that the feverish intensity at which your social media feeds are completely overrun is hard to fully grasp. That’s especially difficult to understand if you’re one of the unlucky few that either dislikes Pokemon or doesn’t even care about it. Honestly, I’m sorry. I really am. You’re in for a long, lonesome ride.
As a media outlet specializing exclusively in VR and AR coverage, we felt the need to round up some of the best examples that prove Pokemon GO’s insane popularity and make a case for how and why it’s officially become the first truly viral experience in the young market of AR and VR technology. Here are some crazy facts that prove how ridiculously popular Pokemon GO has become.
Nintendo’s Valuation Increased by $9 Billion
In the wake of Pokemon GO’s release, it’s no surprise that Nintendo’s valuation went up significantly by $9 billion. For a company that has, until just recently, avoided the mobile gaming market, they’ve entered the game with about as big of a home run as you can imagine. Their previous mobile app, Miitomo, has been nowhere near as successful.
Interesting enough, Nintendo isn’t even actually the primarily developer of Pokemon GO – that honor belongs to Niantic, the team behind the previous mobile AR game, Ingress. By tapping the right resource at the right time with some great marketing to spur an infectious hive mentality, Nintendo is already cashing in – quite literally – on this Pokemon GO craze.
People Are Already Using it As Much as Twitter
Let that sink in for a moment. The app isn’t available globally yet and just as many people – if not more by now – are using Pokemon GO on a daily basis as Twitter. This stat doesn’t take into account how they use it each day, how long they use it, or anything else like that, just the mere action of opening the app for use on a daily basis.
As the most recent season of Silicon Valley taught us, Daily Active Users (DAUs) are a pretty big deal. Once Niantic adds in more social features, such as the upcoming ability to trade Pokemon and hopefully other aspects like friends’ list, duels, and more, the impetus to hop into the game more frequently will only continue to rise.
It’s Helping People Fight Depression and Anxiety
Plenty of people are also citing ways that Pokemon GO is having big positive impacts on their mental health by combating issues with depression, anxiety, and even agoraphobia. Since its a game that requires people to physically get up and go outside, it’s allowing people to experience sunlight and fresh air more often, as well as encouraging exercise and social interaction.
This is a huge deal for a lot of people. When you simply are told that you “should go outside more” it’s a whole lot less appealing than needing to go outside to catch that Kadabra before it vanishes. Even for just me personally, I enjoy walking my dog a lot more now and love running into other people playing the game as well.
Businesses Are Changing the Way They Operate
Last week we reported on a few examples of ways businesses are having to change the way they operate simply because of the game’s sheer popularity. In order to understand why businesses are changing things, it’s important to understand that it’s more than just a game. It’s not like the popularity surrounding a new Call of Duty game, for example, because those sorts of traditional games actually discourage you from leaving your gaming system.
In the case of Pokemon GO, it’s actually encouraging you to go out, walk around, and visit places in your town. When a business is labeled as a Pokestop or Gym that players have to physically visit to interact with, that has a big potential for increasing traffic to the business. In the case of a restaurant, that could be great. In the case of a police station, not so much.
Pokemon GO is Bringing People Closer to Together
Believer it or not, Pokemon GO is also proving how powerful games can be as social tools. Previously, the social aspects of games were restricted to sitting on the couch together, playing online together, or in some limited cases, playing in VR together, but Pokemon GO is rewriting the rules.
Due to how the game works, it’s allowing people to engage with each other physically in the real world – outside, in nature – while they’re playing a game. My wife doesn’t really play games at all and doesn’t care about Pokemon, but she is playing Pokemon GO with me now. My social media feeds are flooded with Pokemon GO and everywhere I go outside I see people playing the game as well. It’s scary in a way, that the entire population could be so enthralled with something so quickly, but it’s also exciting to see my childhood coming back in amazing and beautiful ways.