POKÉMON TAKES OVER

Written by Fred Bailey

July 13, 2016

They’re all over the place. Take a hike down the boulevard and you’ll see countless people playing the new Augmented Reality game, Pokémon Go.

 

It’s only been a few days since the new app took its first bow, but after almost 8 million downloads, Nintendo’s stock value has shot up significantly.  Nintendo owns a sizable share of the Pokémon Company.

What’s behind the outsized popularity of this fad?

It’s partly because it’s a free download—although if you play long enough (and be assured everyone is) then you’re very likely to buy a few extras.

Pokémon’s big draw is that it had such widespread exposure back in the ‘90s.  It was an essential part of the millennials’ growing-up years.

Game developer Niantic has built upon the success of earlier AR games like Ingress.  But not all problems have been solved.  Players are burning up battery power way too fast, and some have been trying to figure out how to get around that.

There have also been myriad privacy complaints about the amount of data being harvested from player Google accounts.  Niantic says it’s working on a fix so that the game collects only basic profile information.

The future evolution of AR games and other tech issues will be explored in detail in Hanhai Studio’s Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival later this year.